This year school is starting off a bit different than in other years but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: your kids’ appetites! Jenan Zammar, a mom of three and passionate cook, has some simple school lunch ideas for you to try.

The kids are back to school or getting ready to go back to school, depending on where you live, and that means parents are in full planning mode. We’re keeping an eye out for flash sales on school supplies, shopping for new clothes and searching for fun new back to school lunches and snacks.

Family getting ready for school

This year, we may find ourselves shopping for masks and hand sanitizer along with other essential items. I’ll be honest, if someone told me a year ago that life would be this different and we’d be in the middle of a pandemic, I likely wouldn’t have believed it!

Like everything that comes my way, I try to look at the positive things (even when it’s hard to find one right now) and not stress over what I can’t control. We are indeed in the middle of a pandemic and the future of our children is more important now than ever. I have to prepare my kids for how to deal with the “new normal” so they’re ready to hop on the school bus.

There is one thing that I know for sure: my kids’ meal and snack time will be more structured now that they’re in school. Over the summer, things are usually a little more relaxed and easy-going when it comes to food, but now it’s time to get back to a routine.

It’s important to eat healthy foods throughout the day, but breakfast is usually a quick meal because mornings are so hectic trying to get books, lunches, water bottles into the backpacks, all the while trying to get yourself ready for the day. We all know how kids can be a little cranky in the morning, especially after having the luxury of sleeping in over the summer.

Pure Flavor lunch ingredients

One simple trick you can do to make mornings easier for everyone is prepare school lunches the night before. This way, the kids can open the fridge in the morning and take out their lunch containers to pack away. Plus, you’re not scrambling to put together something that’s both healthy and tasty.

Lunches in my home almost always consist of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and some sort of dairy. My kids always ask me to pack them their favorite veggies like Pure Flavor® Mini Cucumbers, Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers and, of course, Juno Bites Grape Tomatoes. They love the fresh taste they add to their lunches.

It’s important to me that all three of my children know their way around the kitchen, even if it’s making a simple sandwich, so I like to get them to get involved when making their own lunches. It gives them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment knowing they made their lunch, even if it’s a bit of a chore sometimes.

Although the kids may not be happy about it, I try to avoid sending cookies or sweet treats with them to school. I know, I’m so mean right? 😉 I like to keep their lunches & snacks as healthy as possible, so they have the right food in their bodies to help power them through their crazy day. It’s a good habit to build early that will last long after they’re done school.

Cucumber Lunch Wrap assembly

A simple turkey sandwich with mini caprese bites is a perfect idea that gives them the protein they need. For snacks? The most fresh Snacking Veggies like Pure Flavor® Mini Cucumbers, Juno Bites Grape Tomatoes and Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers are all great options to enjoy with their sandwich. They also love it when I include fresh apple slices, strawberries and grapes – all delicious & healthy fruits they can enjoy throughout the day.

Another great option is a cheese & cucumber wrap with hummus and veggies as a snack. Hummus is a great source of protein and kids love dipping cucumbers & mini peppers for that extra layer of flavor.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to preparing school lunches. I try to keep it simple using ingredients that I know & trust the kids will enjoy. This school year will be unique, whether the kids are in school or learning virtually at home, so keeping their lunches simple and delicious will help make this school year a smooth one!

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