I must say that I've always hated this job, but it does get a bit easier with time. I've got a bit of a formula. A sandwich (usually cheese and a meat if I've got one that they like), fruit, and something sweet or dessert-ish. It's that "dessert-ish" thing that tends to stump me. Because Yvon and I are wheat-free these days, I haven't been baking as much. The incentive of keeping the whining down isn't as strong as my own desire for something sweet. I'll have to adjust that because it's not their fault I break out in a rash with wheat!
These are today's lunches, always in order of youngest to oldest so that I don't accidentally give Beth bologna (ooo, ick!) or give Alice non-vanilla yogurt. Laura's lunches always seem the easiest. Anyway, I've put some effort into giving litterless lunches with as little processing as possible. This annoys the kids. We regularly have this conversation when I start needing ideas.
"What do other kids have in their lunches?"
"Do you mean non-processed, non-packaged and non-branded things?"
"Well, yes, of course that's what I mean."
It's always so helpful to have those chats.
Notice the little Mason jars in the photo? I bought most of my Tupperware in a nesting phase of my life around when Beth was born, almost 12 years ago. I know that Tupperware has a life warranty, but I also know that I'll never go to the trouble of replacing the warped lids that no longer seal. I'd probably have to lie about my microwaving practices to some nice lady.
So, Mason jars always seal. It seemed a bit weird at first, but I started using the smallest jars for yoghurt and canned fruits and raisins and just about everything. Even smoothies in the next size up (1 cup). They always work, so I bought two dozen just recently.
Last year I made some sandwich bags from something likely not food-friendly and they've started to look ratty anyway after one year. With a tip from a friend, I made new ones with cotton and lined with recycled food-friendly plastics. My favourites are lined with cereal bag plastic (I don't buy it anymore, but Yvon regularly does - he isn't a fan of my oatmeal or granola).
This one is lined with Chipits bag, complete with ziplock opening. I like that. I never throw good ziplock bags away.
I really wanted this one to work. It's a Cheetos bag (there are some processed foods I will never be without!), but chip bags of all kinds tear when you sew them. Cereal bags don't.
I'm happy with my lunch packaging, but if you've got food ideas, I'd love to hear them. Next year the school is becoming an APPLE school (Alberta Project Promoting Active Living and healthy Eating). Being the only parent representative on the committee, it would be nice if my lunches set some sort of example.
Later editorial note: I was wrong - that's a Hickory Sticks foil bag. However, the Cheetos bags ripped too. Bummer.