When I was five years old or so and had just started going to kindergarten, my mom would write little notes to me and put them in my lunch box. Sometimes they were quickly-drawn doodles of hearts on notecards, but on mornings when she had more time, she would write sweet and supportive messages on miniature paper doilies. I had a significant amount of separation anxiety when I was a kid because my parents divorced when I was two, so the notes in my lunch box meant a lot to me. They would signify that the day was halfway over, and it was only a few more hours until I would get to see my mom again.
Romper has partnered with Minute Maid to provide parents with five easy and kid-friendly lunch box ideas, and to remind them that even if they feel like they aren't doing a good job with their kids, they actually are! Studies show it's the little things parents do that mean the most to kids, like singing lullabies at bedtime and leaving special notes in their school lunches. And it's true! I have fond memories of the notes my mom wrote to me, almost twenty five years later. So to all those parents out there who feel like they're not doing enough for their child: even though you feel that way, the truth is you're already a great parent. Keep it up!
1. Hummus and Veggie Pita Pockets, Greek Yogurt with Fresh Berries
Spread the inside of pita pockets with any flavor of hummus, then stuff them with any combo of veggies you like. For these, we used red pepper hummus, sprouts, heirloom tomato, cucumber slices, and bell pepper strips. Go nuts!
On the side we have a small container of 2% Greek yogurt topped with a honey drizzle and a sprinkling of vanilla granola.
2. Burrito Bowl with Black Beans, Rice, Shredded Chicken, Tomato, Cheese and Avocado, Diced Mango, and a Chocolate Chip Cookie
Layer all of your kid’s favorite burrito fillings for a customized bowl that's packed with protein and fresh veggies. We used hand-pulled rotisserie chicken, shredded lettuce, black beans, Spanish rice, shredded cheese, salsa fresca, and cubed avocado. You could also try fresh corn, grilled peppers, olives… the options are endless! (And you’ll probably want to make one for yourself).
3. Fusilli Pesto Pasta Salad with Grape Tomatoes, Carrot And Cucumber Sticks with Homemade Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip, and a Tangerine
Start with your kid’s favorite pasta shape and stir in some pesto (homemade or store bought) and halved cherry tomatoes.
On the side we have homemade Greek yogurt ranch dip (yogurt + your favorite seasoning packet = instant goodness) with some carrot and cucumber sticks.
4. Chicken and Veggie Dumplings with Soy Dipping Sauce, Unshelled Edamame, and Fruit Jellies
This may be the easiest lunch ever. Pan fry or steam your favorite frozen dumplings (or last night’s takeout leftovers) and pack dipping sauce in a tiny container. A side of unshelled edamame is packed with protein, fiber, and potassium.
5. Almond Butter and Strawberry Preserve Sandwich Stars, Salami Wrapped Cheese Sticks, and Cherries
There are so many variations here. We used whole wheat bread, almond butter, and raspberry preserves to make simple, tasty sandwiches. To make them a little more special, use cookie cutters to form fun shapes!
On the side we’ve packed sticks of mozzarella wrapped in slices of salami.
This post is sponsored by Minute Maid. Go to Minute Maid to learn more about the #doingood mission.
Photography: Lauren Perlstein
Food styling/recipes: Jenna Wexler