I always start the school year off with so much hope and excitement. This will be the year I am the Pinterest mom. I will make cute sandwiches cut into shapes, perfectly themed lunches, and snacks that will make my children shout with glee!
But let’s get real. After day 1 that whole plan falls to the wayside and I actually start to seriously dread the thought of packing another school lunch.
So in an effort to save all of our sanity and provide my kids with something delicious and healthful, I’ve come up with a few strategies to make packing school something you can enjoy again.
1. Always, ALWAYS make lunch the night before.
We all know how crazy the morning rush can be. Why add another item to your already very long morning to-do list? Take some time the night before while you’re already in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner to make the lunches and snacks for the following day. You’ll thank yourself the next morning when you’re rushing around trying to find a pair of matching socks. Sometimes, I even pack a few lunches on the weekend when I’m doing some of my usual meal prep.
2. Keep it simple.
Don’t overthink it, your child is not a world-renowned restaurant critic. They like what they know. Pack the foods they like to eat, not what you eat or what you want them to eat. In fact, I like to involve my kids in the process. We’ll talk about the kinds of things they like in their lunch, so when it’s time to get packing, it’s a no brainer.
3. Think outside the box.
Yes, sandwiches are an easy way to go. But sometimes I like to switch things up, and I feel my kids appreciate this.
One of my (and my kids) favourites are these simple and delicious Four Ingredient Cheesy Zucchini Bites. They’ve got cheese, eggs, zucchini, and breadcrumbs, so are a complete meal all in one little and very tasty package. They can be made ahead of time and stored in your freezer so you can have lunch ready in a flash.
Four-Ingredient Cheesy Zucchini Bites
Makes 16-28 Bites
5 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium or 4 small zucchini)
1 tsp salt
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1.5 cups grated old cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine zucchini and salt in a medium bowl and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Strain any excess water and transfer zucchini to the center of a clean dish towel. Wrap the zucchini and twist the towel to squeeze as much excess water from the zucchini as possible.
2. Transfer zucchini back to bowl and add panko, egg, and cheese. Mix to combine and shape mixture into 2 inch round disks and place on baking sheet.
3. Bake for 22-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.