If you have primary or elementary school age children you are very familiar with the reality of having to make lunches everyday whether it is eaten at home or at school. Depending on your school district’s school calendar that could be anywhere from 175 to 190 school days a year. If you have more than one child, that can add up to having to make quite a few lunches cumulatively over time.
I don’t know about you but I used to find it a bit stressful keeping up with the day-to-day routine of coming up with ideas for what met the qualifications of an acceptable school lunch. When you think about it, there are a lot of things to consider! It has to be nutritious, budget-friendly, green friendly, nut free (most schools have gone this direction), be able to be eaten in a lunchtime time frame, not too messy and something that your child will actually eat. For me, that was a lot of pressure to deal with.
As you know I work as a classroom teacher and one of my responsibilities is supervise students while they eat their lunch. This can be an interesting experience. I do check to make sure they are actually eating and not starting with the ‘sweets’ rather than their ‘savory’ items. When my children were in elementary school, I used to also go around and check out everyone’s lunches for ideas for me to make at home for my children.
I planned ahead the lunch menu for the week and I tried to make lunches a little more special around special holidays throughout the school year. It did create a little extra fuss but it did add an element of fun for me to make and for my children to eat.
Valentine’s Day is coming soon and this is a great time to put together a ‘Lovey Dovey School Lunch’! You can plan to make them for the week, a couple of days or just for the special day. Here are some ideas you might want to try!
I went to Wal-Mart but I am sure the dollar store will have these items as well and purchased a pink plastic tablecloth that I cut up to make a placemat to set out before eating. I also purchased some red napkins, valentine themed treat bags and gift bag. This cost me about $4.00.
Then I brainstormed foods from the different food groups that were red, pink, purple, blue or white. Chocolate and candy are the foods that are most often connected to Valentine’s Day but I don’t think the teacher will be very happy to see a lunch just filled with sweets.
Here are some food ideas for the different food groups:
- Dairy – strawberry or raspberry yogurt or dairy beverage
- Protein – pepperoni sticks salami, pink salmon, chili in a thermos
- Breads – tomato and basil tortillas, white bread cut into heart shape
- Veggies – red pepper, tomatoes, radishes, pickled beets, purple carrots
- Fruit – any red juice, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries (I bought some frozen ones at Costco and they are pitted and quite tasty), red grapes, watermelon, pomegranates, plums, dried cranberries, individual cups of apple/pomegranate sauce
- Treats – couple of chocolate Kisses, red Jell-O cups with fruit, valentine cookie, strawberry jam, red tortilla chips with salsa ( I know these are not sweet, but they are in the treat category)
I happened to have reusable containers with red lids leftover from Christmas to put the food in. Valentine treat bags are fun to use for the treats or even the veggies! Won’t that make the lunch a little more special!
Now place the food, placemat and napkin in the Valentine gift bag, which can be used as the special lunch bag. Then write a Lovey Dovey message to your child on heart shaped paper and tuck it in for the final special touch.
Here are some lunch menu ideas that you may want to try!
Thank you so much for stopping by at ‘Time With Thea’. I really enjoy your visits!
I also invite you to stop and visit these very creative posts all with the theme Lovey Dovey. This is so much fun!
Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)
I Love You More Than… – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
Thanks again to Kelly over at Cupcakes, Cobwebs and Crayons for being the creator and facilitator of this wonderful blogging sharing and collective! If you haven’t had a chance to snoop around her delightful blog (don’t you love the name?), I so invite you to do so! Hope to see you at the the next Collectively Creative!