The table felt cold on our legs after a long morning of playing chase in the hot sun. The pale orange and brown colors of the cafeteria always stirred up the conditioned response of hunger. Nestled in between my two favorites, Sara Ballute and Joey Redmond, my fellow 1st graders rushed to click open our Masters Of The Universe, Smurfs, ShirtTales (holy crap you guys, remember Shirt Tales?!) and Holly Hobby lunch boxes to see what was waiting for us inside. While most of us were interested in finding the hershey kisses or fruit snacks to show off to friends, I was digging around for a rectangle of yellow lined paper with my Mommy’s signature handwriting on it. What would it say today? I looked forward to finding it and reading it out loud at the table. It made me feel special and served as a small reminder of comfort and stablility during a long day of figuring out the world as a little kid. I’m not even a little ashamed to admit that tradition continued through high school; even now after my Mom leaves the house I’ll find her notes tucked away where I least expect them, brightening my day.
And with Back To School around the corner (gasp!) here are some other tips other than leaving notes to pack fun and memorable lunches for kids …
Surprise & Delight
On special occasions, holidays, birthdays or milestones – wrap each component of the lunch in giftwrap
Blast From The Past
Remember Gorp? My trendy publicist from Miami did not but back in my day and in my neck of the woods we hiked and snacked on fun little baggies of raisins, granola, dried fruit, Chex, and M&M’s.
Use Cookie Cutters in fun shapes on sandwiches, fruit, and even veggies. (Mom Tip: Also check out Funbites I found them on Shark Tank recently.)
Don’t Forget The “Treat”
I specifically remember kids bragging to their friends when their Moms packed something “cool” in their lunch which typically meant they included a treat. Check out this recipe that includes #PediaSure Fruit & Veggie #SideKicksSmoothie Mix for a healthy twist (psst: the kids won’t even know it’s good for them.) Check out more of their recipes here.
Get Creative…with Pictures.
Draw a half drawn picture on a piece of paper with the start of a story. Include a pencil and tell your child to finish the rest of it.
(Bonus: You can chat about it over dinner that night!)
Direct quote when I asked my (still best friend) Sara Ballute if she remembered my Holly Hobbie lunchbox:
“Yup. And I was always just a little suspicious of her under that blue hood.”
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