Who doesn’t love chicken parmesan? Its a classic!
I love Chicken Parmesan; I just don’t always have the time to make it. It’s not always a “lunch box friendly” dish either, especially for kids. Until now!
We’ve created a simpler and more kid-friendly way to enjoy this classic dish for lunch. It’s great for adults too!
I made our gluten-free chicken strips by adapting the MOMables Homemade Chicken Nugget Recipe.
We always have chicken strips in our freezer, so prepping this meal for lunch is a breeze.
I also love knowing that my daughter’s nuggets are safe for her allergies, are made with real chicken, and have more protein and less filler than the average store-bought frozen variety.
Do you struggle making school lunches for your picky eaters?
Before I started MOMables (August 2011), I packed the same three or four lunches for my kids EVERY WEEK. Making their three “safe” school lunches was a lot easier than trying new things (for me, anyway).
If you asked me (then) what does your daughter eat? my answer would have been this: She doesn’t eat meat, or broccoli, or rice, or potatoes unless fried, no lettuce, no tomatoes, no peas, no corn, no yogurt, no berries, no bananas, no pears. Do you see my problem? I answered with the things she would not eat.
It was ME focusing on the negatives (the things she didn’t eat) as opposed to the positive (the things she did eat)! I am telling you this because once I switched my thoughts and put the positive into action, things improved in the food department.
Two years later, she eats a lot more things. Okay, she still can’t tolerate rice, but she is eating meat, is willing to try one bite of any item, and ate peas for the first time in 5 years (somehow, she didn’t like them after the age of 2).
What changed? I changed.
Not only did I launch MOMables, but I also put my plans into action. I created “WILL-EAT-LISTS” for my oldest two (my picky ones).
Each week, I look at my meal plan for the week and look at the things that fall into the “will-eat” category. Sometimes, all I need to do is take out the avocado and add a little ham.
I used to feel like I was failing as a parent in the food department. Because I was focusing on the things they didn’t eat instead of the things they did (focusing on the negative instead of the positive). This led to me feeling bad about my efforts or like I was failing them.
Some days, my daughter will not try my homemade bread, makes a gross face at many of our dinner foods, and turns her head at my homemade ice cream. A lot of times it hurts my feelings, but I just tell her she’s “missing out.”
Two years later, we are doing much better, and that says something. The big kids start school next week, and I’m excited to pack their lunches. We’ve made some progress this summer, and we’ve added a few more things to their “will-eat” lists.
So how exactly do I use MOMables school lunch menus if I have kids who are picky eaters? I modify them. I often use them as inspiration to help me get started for that school lunch. She doesn’t eat apples, oh well, she eats peaches. She loves black olives, and my son won’t touch them. I give her extras and leave his out.
If your kids start school this week, see lunch packing as an opportunity to mix and match the things they will eat. If you need a little help and inspiration to put your “will-eat” lists into action, you can always check out our plans.
By the way, if you just purchased new lunch containers before school starts, you need to let your kids learn how to use them at home before they get to school. If you want to know which containers I recommend, check them out here.
Remember, it’s not about making your kids perfect little school lunches; it’s about doing the best you can with what have.
Happy Lunch Making,
Do you have kids who ONLY WANT PB&J?
Sometimes changing up a classic is all it takes to keep lunch interesting. And with something as basic as the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it gives you the opportunity to let the “sides” take center stage!
Believe me, it’s okay to need more ideas; we all fall into a school lunch rut! For this reason, you can get more delivered to your inbox by clicking here.
Isn’t it funny when kids want the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich over and over again? Funny enough, I often see it as an opportunity to introduce new treats and things with this popular lunch.
In this lunch, I surprised them with “dippers.” Kids just love to dip! They were a huge hit! Everyone was happy, PLUS they all ate double the amount of veggies they’d normally choose at lunch time! They came back for seconds (not pictured).
They were having so much fun showing off their sandwich fingers that they sat at the table longer, and nibbled on their carrots and broccoli while watching each other.
Another fun way to encourage kids to eat their fruits and vegetables is with dip, and what better than a healthy dip that works well with both!
A yummy dip paired with fresh fruits and veggies and a fun twist on an old favorite, this lunch is full of lots of smaller, easy-to-eat foods and is perfect for short lunch periods.
MOM Tip: This fruit dip tastes great with apples, so be sure to treat them after cutting so they don’t turn brown by lunchtime with tips from MOMables!
Dip tastes amazing with strawberry yogurt instead of plain, but omit the honey, and stick to dipping fruit. Maybe celery, if you’re adventurous like me! *wink*
This dip is perfect for fruit, sandwiches, or even veggies!
Want a healthy version of the popular store-bought Lunch(able) with Smoothie? Check this out!
This lunch, like many of our school lunch ideas from our menus, allows YOU to control the ingredients of what your kids eat, while making them a nutritious and fun lunch for school.
Several times, I’ve had fellow lunch-packing mamas complain that their kid had asked for the dreaded “L” word… you know, those boxed lunches!
In my opinion, it’s nothing but a wasteful little box full of wrappers plus highly processed ingredients, not to mention a more-expensive option than packing your own!
I definitely see the “kid” appeal in a boxed lunch though. They are full of colorful foods, and kids get to assemble the lunch!
Thanks to MOMables, I can not only stave off requests for the meat and cheese with crackers and the DIY pizza ones, but I can make them healthier, more visually appealing, and fun! MOMables Cracker Stackers and “Pizzables” are two of my go-to favorites!
It’s very empowering for kids to have all the ingredients laid out separately, where they get to pick and choose and assemble themselves. Maybe they want to eat the cheese by itself. Or build a triple-decker cracker. With a “MOMable,” they still have that sense of freedom and control, but with foods you can feel confident about.
When I questioned my kids further however, it turned out that what each kid really wanted was the smoothie they had seen hyped up in the commercial.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t “give in” and purchase the L-box. Need a few? Overly processed ingredients, preservatives, artificial colors, cross-contamination with top 8 allergens, high in saturated fat…
The best thing about packing your own Smoothie lunch is that you get to select the quality of the ingredients and are able to adjust for food allergies.
Setting aside my personal disgust at one of the commercials, which implies that having a home-packed lunch is something to dread, sending a smoothie in your child’s lunch is a totally doable thing. And can be quite healthy too, if you make it yourself! Might as well turn this “You got a SMOOTHIE?!” hype to your advantage!
MOMables Turkey Cheddar Sub with SMOOTHIE Lunch
MOM Tips: If you freeze the smoothie pouch the night before, it can act as an ice pack in the lunch bag and keep itself cool and fresh until lunchtime!
You can use any kind of whole grain bun or roll, even a hot dog or hamburger bun. I doubt any kid is going to be too upset if it doesn’t match the one in the box exactly. “Who cares about the smoothie?! I wanted the one with the SUB BUN!” said no one, ever.