I have a confession to make:  I am terrible at making homemade lunches and after-school snacks for my kids. For the past two years, I have thrown out almost as many half-eaten lunches as I have packed.  This has not been good for my self esteem.
But I have an excuse…a whole bunch of them, in fact.  Here they are (in no particular order):
1. Billy and I leave for school really early and have barely enough time for breakfast, let alone preparing creative, homemade lunches.  When I do try to make creative, homemade lunches by asking my kids what they want the night before, either they don’t know or they don’t want it anymore by the time lunchtime rolls around.
2.  We live too far from both of my kids’ schools to go home for lunch and there is no way to drop off a fresh, hot meal just before lunch starts.
3. They don’t like typical “lunch” foods, like sandwiches (too soggy), fruit (too mushy or too hard to peel or too warm), or veggies and dip (the dip gets all warm and the cucumbers dry up and its just grossatacious-Maya’s words).  
4. Being 10 and 13, they are now “too cool for school” and the old-school standbys of string cheese, yogurt tubes, apple sauce, and chewy bars.  
Sad but true funny story: my kids have been eating chewy bars for so long, that they became a staple on my weekly shopping list.  Imagine my surprise when, last June when I cleaned out the pantry, I found boxes and boxes of chewy bars.  When I questioned my kids, they confessed that they hadn’t liked them for months but forgot to tell me.
So this fall, I made an executive decision: I am no longer going to feel guilty or incompetent if I send my kids to school with less-than-homemade meals.  I am no longer going to feel guilty if my kids eat little snacks throughout the day instead of a big, honkin’ lunch.  
I talked about this with my doctor and he confirmed that as long as they’re eating well-balanced breakfasts and dinners, I shouldn’t worry so much about lunch.  Between recesses, lunchtime, and after school, kids have more than enough time to have small but satisfying snacks throughout the day.  
By sheer coincidence, at the same time I was having this epiphany, I was given the opportunity to try out some of the new items from Lobaws’s Back-to-School Insiders Report.  I chose the items that I thought would make both of us happy.  So last Sunday morning, with my Insider’s Report in hand, I headed off to Loblaws to stock my kitchen for the first week of school.
The good news? Everything we tried was a major hit.  
The bad news? We had lots of company that day, and between cousins and friends, almost everything got demolished before the day was out.
So, as I headed back to the store for round two, I asked everyone to tell me which of the new items I ABOSOLUTELY had to buy.  Here’s what they said:
Maya: The cheese squares.  I like them because they’re already cut the right size for crackers and they’re real cheese.  

cheese slices.jpg

Also, the Popped Chips.  The ketchup flavours is for sure my favorite.
Oh, and also the baby oranges…their so sweet and I can peel them myself. And their sooooo cute (the most factor for a 10-year-old girl)
Billy: Those little chocolate bar things.  Those were SO. GOOD. And you know what? I looked at the nutitional label and they’re the same as a granola bar (thank you grade 7 health class). They’re nut-free so I can bring them to school.  

decadent bars.jpg

I also really like those fruit chews. You know that I hate eating fruit at school but on the box, it says that each package is one serving of fruit (thank you grade 7 media class).
Husband: That coffee was good.  (He’s a man of few words.)
Kate (my 3-year-old niece):  I like these snacks Mommy.  Can you buy them?
kate.jpg
And my  favourites?  The Honey Chipotle Almonds. I mix a handful with some raisins and whole-grain cereal for MY afterschool snack.
Moral of the story?  Kids’ lunches and snacks do not have to be the major production that we’ve been making them out to be.  Our lives and our kids and very busy and thus, snacks and lunches need to be fast and easy to make and eat.  They need to be tasty enough that our kids will want to eat them and nutritious and hearty enough that they provide our kids with the energy they need to get through the day. 
This post is not sponsored nor was I compensated.  I am occasionally offered products to try that may be of interest to our readers.
  • Sonya

    Great ideas! I hate packing lunches especially cause my boys are foodies and just love eating! Gonna try some of these to make things a bit more interesting for them..and easier for me ;)

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