There she goes. My Bunky, scooting off to school. Pre-K. Full-time.
It’s been a crazy week. I’m totally, utterly, over-the-top exhausted. Between the early morning chaos of getting a spirited preschooler breakfasted and dressed, and simultaneously making her a healthy lunch with 2 snacks, while attempting to feed the poor neglected Little Guy (strapped in his high chair, I practically throw chunks of food at him) and guzzling coffee, totally forgetting to eat, dress, or brush my own teeth. Then rushing out the door carrying her backpack and jogging alongside her as she scoots her way to pre-K.
I’m a little more tired having written all that.
Besides worrying about separation anxiety and all the zillions of school forms we had to fill out, my biggest stress was about food. As my dad would say, so new? Okay, fine, it’s true. I’m pretty much always stressed about food, but packing lunch and snacks for my picky celiac kiddo every day was really upping the anxiety levels. On top of that, I also had to vet all our food for the no peanut rule, which also includes made in a facility with nuts. Totally get it, but it added another layer of vigilance.
Ultimately though, I prevailed. With only one cut on my finger (this morning), I did it. 5 days, 5 food compartments, 2 snacks per day.
I am perhaps a little too in love with my (um, I mean Bunky’s) Planet Box. I bought the Rover System (smaller kid’s size, the Launch is for bigger kids or even grown ups), the purple carrying case and two sets of magnet to be put on top of the stainless steel box: fairies and unicorn rainbows. (There is a nice variety of magnets to choose from.)
When it came in the mail, I opened the box like a kid on Christmas (or Chanukah in my house).
The magnets go on the outside of the stainless steel box, but I put one on the carrying case just to show you what it looks like. Each magnet set comes with 5 magnets and one has a spot to write your child’s name.
I used Planet Box all week, but when B’s new Laptop Lunch box came yesterday, we tried it out Friday morning. It’s really nice, and is BPA free plastic versus stainless sleel, so weighs considerably less, but also has one less compartment. Still awesome though. If you buy the set it comes with a high quality spoon and fork. The purple square you see is a napkin I bought as an extra. I’m a total sucker, it’s true.
Finally, here is what you’ve been waiting for – less talk, more action. 5 days of lunch ideas, plus snacks (not pictured, but described).
Day 1: Monday’s Menu – grilled cheese (cooled before putting it in), strawberries, edamame, carrots and cut up cheese stick, popcorn, and one Enjoy Life (nut free, dairy free, gluten free) chocolate cookie in the small center square. In the big snack circle (called the Big Dipper, you know, it’s a space theme) were apple cut up with a small flower cookie cutter and topped with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon to deal with browning. She refused to eat them because they were brown. Sigh. But I tried them and they were delicious. The Little Dipper has a hard boiled egg. She ate that at least. Edamame was sadly ignored but everything else disappeared. Score one for Team Mama.
Day 2: Tuesday’s Menu – Cheese quesadilla, cheddar rice crackers, watermelon and cucumbers cut with mini animal cookie cutters, fresh mango slices and raisins in the center. Truth be told, Bunky gagged on the mango when she tried it before leaving. She is VERY sensitive to texture. Sigh again. So I replaced it with Pirate’s Booty.
About snacks… the truth is I have NO IDEA. I meant to write them down, but clearly forgot. Snacks were my biggest challenge because after putting all my brain power into lunch (which is already 3-4 “snacks” because of the Bento-esque compartments) I was burnt out. I got a bit better mid-week, picking one fruit and one carb/protein. For example today ‘s snacks are a banana and hummus with carrots. Yesterday’s was a whole apple (which = no browning) and fresh mozzarella cut into mini circles.
Day 3: Wednesday’s Menu – Hump day did not work well for me, though I at least remembered to take a picture of one snack (cheddar cheese cut into small circles with a red decorative heart added for love). The cheese and turkey sandwich made on Udi’s bread, no crusts, was semi successful, but the raspberries were deemed “gross and mushy” by my expressive 4-year-old. Fortunately, there were also strawberries. The corn tortilla chips were a hit, the avocado – which turned brown – was not. In the center are dried cranberries.
Does this photo make you dizzy like it does to me? My photography is getting worse each day. We are barely on time for school. Mornings are insane, it’s like a food bomb hit the kitchen, between my frantic lunch preparations and tossing banana pieces and rice puffs at Little Guy.
Day 4: Thursday’s Menu – Since my girl was leaving a lot of her bread behind (sad, sad is the state of GF bread, even good old Udi’s doesn’t always travel well) I decided to do turkey roll-ups and cheddar cheese cut into flower shapes. Carrots and celery (barely eaten, too stringy), grapes with one watermelon flower in the middle, Glutino pretzels, and a mixture of cranberries and raisins in the center.
Day 5: Friday’s Menu – This lunch was packed in the Laptop Lunch box which has one less compartment, a good thing because by today I was out of ideas and nearly out of food. I burnt my last piece of Udi’s bread this morning after slicing my finger trimming the crusts, so I used a half a bagel for turkey and cheese. Strawberries (since the poor raspberries got the boot earlier in the week), popcorn, and cooked green beans… we’ll see how those do! A banana for snack that I packed along with carrots and hummus.
If the menu sounds a little redundant, it’s because my kid seems to like redundancy. I will try to be creative and throw in a green bean wild card or two, but ultimately I want her to eat, so for now I’ll try to stick with her favorites. Unless I get some great ideas from you. Please. Help a mama out, would you? I’m too tired to even think about what to pack for next week. It’s all I can do to make my own lunch now. Oh, yeah, and take care of my sweet Little Guy who is currently on the floor trying to eat shoes. Yes, I feed him, he just prefers to gnaw on his sister’s dirty Crocs.
Final picture though, I can’t resist… my Pinktastic Girl this morning. All smiles and speed.
Thank you to VegetarianMamma.com for inviting me to the wonderful Gluten Free Fridays Recipe link up! Check out the other great recipes by clicking the button below.