Making School Lunch Fun for the Family
Let’s face it: our lives are busy. We have a long list of things to do each day and finding time for family can be difficult. Now that the kids are back in school, we don’t have to worry about what they’ll be doing all day, but we do have other things to think about. School supplies, grades, and making sure they have a decent lunch.
Instead of taking it all on yourself or paying for school lunches everyday, we’ve outlined ways to turn weekday lunch prep into fun family time.
Do it together.
Tackle the task together. This everyday chore becomes an opportunity not just to spend time with one another but to teach kids about cooking, nutrition, food budgets and responsibility.
Get the kids in on the planning, shopping, cooking, and packing by building meal plans around favorite foods.
Once you’ve decided on the meal, assign age appropriate tasks to everyone in the family. Little ones can wash fruit or mix salad. If they aren’t ready for that, let them put stickers on lunch notes or draw on the lunch bags. If your kid is in middle school or high school, let them take on the more complex steps like cooking pasta, slicing, or assembling.
Make it easy…and delicious.
Making sure our kids eat healthy means making sure they enjoy what they are eating. Bonus: you get to make sure you eat healthy (and save money) by making homemade lunches for yourself, too.
This is your chance to take your lunch game way beyond peanut butter and jelly. The recipe below takes 30 minutes to prepare, it’s absolutely delicious, and easy to modify.
Doris’ Silly Fusilli with Spinach + Tomatoes for 4
1 lb. Doris Fusilli Siciliani Pasta
3 Cups Roughly Chopped Fresh Spinach
8 ounces Cherry Tomatoes cut into halves
1 Cup grated Asiago
1/2 Cup of grated Parmesan
1 Minced Clove of Garlic
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Salt + Pepper to taste
Add pasta to large pot of boiling water. Stirring occasionally, cook the pasta to the desired tenderness. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, but keep a little pasta water behind. It will help bind the all the ingredients later on.
Warm up the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and allow the heat to release all those delicious fragrant flavors. It should take about 2 minutes for the garlic to infuse into the olive oil, then add the tomatoes to warm up and the spinach to wilt.
Now add all that beautiful, perfectly cooked pasta. Toss. The Doris line of pastas is an authentic bronze dye pasta which has a surface texture that’s more coarse than other run-of-the-mill pastas. This means that the olive oil, garlic, and tomato juices will adhere to the pasta for maximum flavor value.
Now add the cheeses along with the pasta water we set aside and salt and pepper to your liking.
For dessert, add some fresh fruit. Tangerines are in season in Florida starting in September. Peel them, and they make an easy addition to your lunch plans.
If you want to add some more protein to the dish, try Doris’ Italian Style Chicken Sausage or make a mini charcuterie platter with salami and select Italian cheeses.
Pro Tip: Pack it right.
So, we hear you. It’s all well and good to make a delicious hot meal for lunch, but most kids don’t have access to a microwave at lunchtime. Our secret is the Thermos food jar. They come in various sizes from 6 to 10 oz. They insulate hot or cold food, some even come with a spoon, and they come in a variety of colors or with your favorite animated character.
Not only will your child be the envy of his classmates, you can be assured that they will have a delicious and nutritious lunch that you made together.
We’d love to hear the ways you’ve found to keep your kid’s lunches interesting. Visit us on Facebook and share your tips!