It’s that time of year again (…hopefully): back-to-school prep! As we mosey our way through the summer and head into fall, parents everywhere have their eyes on the prize—that glorious first day back to school or daycare. And while it IS an exciting time, we know you’ve got a lot to do including figuring out how and what your kids are going to eat every day. Luckily for you (and your kiddo), we’re experts in the easy, yummy and nutritious meal department. We rounded up our favorite easy back-to-school lunches that will be a win for everyone.
If you’ve got a kiddo who likes a little bit of everything, a charcuterie lunch is the way to go. Start with a bento lunchbox with several compartments, or a medium-sized lunchbox and some silicone dividers or cups. Then just build a snack box of healthy, yummy foods you know your little one will scarf down. Our faves include hummus with baby carrots and pita triangles, cheese slices, pretzels or whole grain tortilla chips, turkey roll-ups, and a fruit like strawberries or apple slices. And, if you’ve got a baby in the puree stage too, we love throwing in Little Spoon’s more textured Babyblends like Quinoa Raspberry Pear Coconut Milk Vanilla Date Wheat Germ Oil as a supercharged snack. Even if your kiddo only eats a few of their selections, or a little bit of everything, you can rest easy knowing they’re getting nutritious, filling food.
Homemade Crustless SB&J
No, that’s not a typo..we’re talking sunbutter and jelly! Lots of schools are going nut-free to keep kids with nut allergies safe on campus, so we’re all about making a safe swap in our kid’s lunches to oblige. But a regular ol’ sandwich can be pretty basic, you know? Elevate it a bit by making your own uncrustables at home! They’re so easy. Just cut circles out of two pieces of bread (we use a small mason jar), then add your sunbutter and jelly. Use a fork to seal the edges like a pie crust, and place in the fridge or freezer overnight. These are also great to make ahead and freeze so you always have some on-hand! Pack with a side of fruit or veggies, crackers, cheese—whatever their heart desires.
Mac and Cheese
We know what you’re thinking—pasta?! In your kid’s lunch?? Um, yes! Most kids could eat their body weight in mac and cheese if given the chance, and with an insulated thermos or bento box, the sky’s the limit on what you can send for school lunch. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to actually *cook* the pasta yourself (sort of defeats the ‘easy’ part of easy back-to-school lunches if you’re standing over the stove). Little Spoon’s Plates meals make it easy to feed your kid the good stuff, with minimal effort. The hidden veggie Mac and Three Cheese is packed with carrots and butternut squash, so your kiddo is eating their veg even if they don’t know it. Just pop a Plate in an insulated lunch box with frozen gel ice packs and heat at daycare—60 seconds is all it takes! Try it with Little Spoon’s dairy and gluten-free Cauliflower Cacio e Pepe, too!
‘Fast Food’ Lunch
Remember how jazzed you would get on the days where mom or dad picked up fast food? Those were the BEST days. But parents these days are all about knowing better and doing better, so we’re taking ‘fast food’ and making it healthier (but not compromising on the yumminess). If you’ve got a nugget and tots lover, why not let them live their best school lunch life and send some to school? But again, we are leaning into the easy, so Little Spoon to the rescue. There’s a lot to choose from: Chicken Super Nuggets with Sweet Potato Carrot Poppers, Broccoli Bites with Poppers and Green Beans, or Cauli Croquettes with Veggie Millet Poppers and Carrots. Simply pack the sealed plate in an insulated lunch box with gel ice packs and heat for 60 seconds before lunchtime. Don’t forget to include one of Little Spoon’s Sauces—the Veggie Ketchup goes with errrrrrrrything.
Taco Tuesday? How About Taco Everyday?
We love tacos. You love tacos. Your kids probably love tacos. But sending deconstructed tacos to school and expecting your kid to follow your meticulous instructions when it comes to assembling them at lunch is a gamble not many are willing to take. So skip the shell and opt for a bowl, like Little Spoon’s Turkey Taco Bowl. The seasoned meat, melty cheese, and cilantro lime rice are ready to go after 60 seconds in the microwave—heat it in the morning and then keep it cold in an insulated lunch box with ice packs until just before lunchtime or heat it at daycare. Add a side of sliced avo and some tortilla chips, and you’ve got a surefire lunchtime winner on your hands.
No heating options at daycare? No problem! There are plenty of delicious and nutritious lunches your littles can nosh on that are just as good cold as they are warmed up. Kid-cuterie boxes or SB&J sandwiches are always a hit, but if you want to mix it up a bit, how about some Chicken Pot Stickers with Quinoa Veggie Stir Fry and Edamame? This Little Spoon Plate makes a great cold lunch—following the heating instructions in the morning (just 60-90 seconds in the micro) and then arrange the components in an insulated bento box and pack with ice packs to keep it cold throughout the day. Throw in a pack of Little Spoon’s Soy Glaze dipping sauce to take it up a notch.