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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Preschool Lunch Pickies

Lunch isn’t Leo’s favorite meal of the day. To be truthful, Leo isn’t a voracious eater at any meal and he is a self-proclaimed “plant eater.” If Leo had his choice, I think he’d eat snacks all day long. I am sure you all know his type: a fly-by eater, small bites, and minimal meat. I don’t think of him as a “picky” eater but he does like to eat “pickies.”
Pickies is our family name for appetizers or finger foods. I often set out Pickies for dinner on family movie night or big sports events. We all pile on the couch and stuff our faces. I usually serve crackers and cheese, some sort of chip and dip, veggies and ranch, fruit kabobs, and chicken bites. Of course I get fancier depending on the event. I basically clean out the fridge and make it all look nice on platters. Pickies is Leo’s favorite dinner — and his requested birthday dinner.
When it came time to pack lunch for preschool, I was worried about Leo. He tends to eat slowly and hardly ever finishes a full sandwich. He likes to chat, use the potty, and stare into space while eating a meal. It takes a while. I had to come up with some creative ideas to get food in his tummy at school. I began making Pickies for lunch:
Here are some of the lunches we came up with:
Homemade Lunchables: My kids love these pre-made lunches, but they are full of salt, sugar and other fillers. I buy them every once in a while for a treat or while traveling, but we prefer to make our own. I save the real lunchable containers and fill it with crackers, turkey, and shredded cheese. I seal it up with plastic wrap.
Chicken Fingers: Leo has a thermos that he loves. I discovered that I can fit 3 or 4 hot chicken fingers in the thermos and they stay warm all day! (Duh.) I put ketchup in a small container and voila! It becomes a very special lunch. With fruit on the side, it makes the perfect meal.
**A Special Note About Ketchup: I have spent a lot of the last year researching the processed sugar content in foods because Henry is very sensitive to sugar. I had no idea how much sugar was in ketchup!! And ketchup is practically a food group in my house. I am not able to eliminate it completely, but I do buy organic ketchup because the sugar is less processed. And it isn’t that much more expensive. I buy the Trader Joe’s brand.
Fruit and Cheese Plate: Fancy, right? This meal is so very simple and Leo loves it. I pack a big bowl of fruit, a cheese stick, and crackers. For protein I send cashews. (Leo’s school was peanut free, but cashews were okay.)
Cheesy Roll-ups: Leo isn’t crazy about sandwiches, but he is willing to eat the inside of a sandwich. I roll up cheese and turkey or ham into long logs. Sometimes I cut them into wheels or I just leave them. As a treat, I sometimes add a soft sweet Hawaiian roll.
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese: Leo will eat tomato soup and grilled cheese for any meal on any day. I love packing this lunch on a rainy day when I know they will be playing inside and this have more time to eat lunch. Soup goes in the thermos and I make a grilled cheese sandwich, chop it into little squares and wrap it in foil. It isn’t hot at lunch, but he doesn’t seem to care.
I don’t have time every day to make special lunches but I try. Never underestimate the power of the cookie cutter. Cookie cutters transform sandwiches from blah to WOW! For drinks, I tend to pack water. Sometimes, I send a juice box, but not every day. I fill a bigger sized cup and he can sip on it at lunch and then on the playground.
I love lunch containers, don’t you? I am always searching for the perfect little sectioned containers. I try and find containers the boys can open on their own, but I also know they have help from teachers and aids. I can’t say enough about our SnackTaxis. If you haven’t seen these before, you will love them. It is a snack bag made out of fabric, coated on the inside for easy cleaning. I have seen online tutorials for making them and I know there are several companies you can buy them from. I found SnackTaxi when Henry was a toddler.
Don’t forget about the power of a good breakfast! I love that Sid the Science Kid often shows the family sitting down to a hearty breakfast before school. I have to be purposeful about breakfast and make sure the boys load up before heading out. I could write a complete blog about breakfast alone!!
Finally, I try and remember the sage advice of my favorite family pediatrician: Children eat when they are hungry. If Leo comes home with an uneaten lunch, I don’t make a big deal out of it. I simply sit him down at 2pm and we eat. It doesn’t matter if he eats at 11am or 2pm, as long as he eats when he’s hungry. This was a hard lesson for me learn. I can always offer Leo a healthy snack and send him on his merry way.
Happy lunch packing! I would love to hear your lunch ideas! I am taking all my tricks up to Kindergarten, but I would love to have a few more! What kind of lunch makes your kids happy?


Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo
 

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