I ran into a chef friend of mine the other day at Las Palomas. He was having dinner with his wife and I was chasing my daughter back to the table. He asked if I was still cooking. I said with a completely straight face: “Well, I’m really into preschool lunches.”
Really into preschool lunches. That’s how I responded to one of the greatest chefs in town (in the country, some would say!). Sigh. Motherhood will do that to ya, I guess. Change your priorities and everything. My priority these days is definitely my children. My silly, squishy, stinky, adorable little loves :)
As far as parenting, I’m a big believer that actions speak louder than words with children. So I try to role model healthy eating habits, in the hopes that my kids will follow in those footsteps (rather than the footsteps that lead me to the freezer at midnight to dig the cookie dough pieces out of the ice cream). I also try to give my kids plenty of opportunities to see, hold, cook and taste a wide variety of foods. And with both of those things in mind, I make their little lunches.
Below are pictures of a bunch of sample lunches. Of course your kids won’t eat everything (mine won’t either!), but hopefully these will give you some ideas about what to pack. Do you have other ideas? Please do share! I would love to hear from you!
Also, come join me on Instagram! It’s the only social media I have time for these days. That’s where I share most of my little lunches, in addition to ideas for dinner, cooking tips and shortcuts, and some of my favorite new foods and related products (no ads or sponsorships, just stuff I like :). Hope to see you there!
1) Pasta, ham, peas with parmesan; peaches; Marcona almonds, giant raisins, organic jelly beans
2) Egg and black bean taco; cherry tomatoes; watermelon; avocado with olive oil, lime and salt
3) Star-shaped ham and tortilla cut-outs; brie cheese slices; sweet potato and beet chips; shelled pistachios; strawberries; dried mango and raisins
4) Almond butter and honey sandwich; Braeburn apple slices; Pirate’s Booty Cheese Puffs and Trader Joe’s Inner Peas Snacks; swiss cheese cube; dried fruit and nuts
5) Avocado, cream cheese and cucumber sandwich; apple slices; oven-roasted gold beets; mixed nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips
6) Ham and cheese heart sandwich; rainbow carrots and Persian cucumbers with ranch; gold beets; bunny graham crackers and raisins; blueberries.
7) Spinach and mushroom quesadilla; blue corn chips; steamed broccoli with Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze; Honey Kiss melon; Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal and dark chocolate chips
8) Ham and cheese sandwich on homemade no-knead bread; sweet potato and beet chips; Persian cucumbers; mixed melon; mixed nuts and dried fruit
9) Ham, cheese and spinach wrap on Pita Bread; sweet potato and beet chips; pickle; olives; watermelon and mango; dried fruit and nuts
10) Trader Joe’s Broccoli Cheddar Quiche; colby jack cheese cubes; watermelon; edamame with salt and olive oil; Trader Joe’s brown rice crispy treat; purple rock (a little surprise gift for my 4.5 year old!)
11) Ham, egg cheese on a whole-wheat English Muffin; Trader Joe’s Inner Peas snacks; peaches; mixed nuts, dried fruit and cheerios
12) Ham and cheese roll-up; pickle and carrot sticks; hard-boiled egg; homemade Graham cracker birdie cookies and a dark chocolate “egg”; grapes.
13) Organic chicken-apple sausage pieces; Colby jack cheese cubes; roasted okra; rice; watermelon; Pirate’s Booty; Trader Joe’s trail mix
14) Chicken nuggets; steamed broccoli; cheddar rice cakes; clementine; mixed dried fruit and nuts; chocolate-covered pretzel
15) Mashed pinto beans and grated cheese; whole wheat tortilla strips; mixed melon; avocado with lime, salt and olive oil; Cracklin’ Oat Brand cereal and dried fruit; marshmallow
16) Almond butter and honey kitten-face sandwich; maple-bacon butternut squash; honeydew
17) Almond butter and honey bunny-face sandwich; maple-bacon butternut squash; honeydew