Motherhood · Tastes + Treats

Little Lunchboxes

The week’s blotter would read a little like this:
– Tossing a loaf of bread up on my fridge, only to have it pull some type of Rube-Goldberg Mousetrap move, topple my canister of oats and coconut oil precisely on to the handle of a boiling pot of quinoa, and send it all crashing to the floor.
– Somehow dropping a bottle of beer directly on to the kitchen floor while standing perfectly still and sipping it. I really needed that beer, too.
– Dropping a freshly purchased jar of jelly in my garage en route from the grocery bag to the pantry sending glass shrapnel all around the girls’ outside toys.
– The big dog ripping a toenail out and bleeding A.L.L. over the house including the upstairs carpet and our duvet.
– A night in the urgent care with my littlest for another diagnosis of an ear infection.
– A double dose of hand foot & mouth.
– But goodness, if I haven’t laughed a whole, whole lot. And we have been beyond thankful that these small things are our biggest things.

Nora Beth started preschool at the beginning of September. Though she has spent 2 days a week with our extraordi-nanny since she was 8 weeks old, this marked a milestone that we’ll duplicate every fall for the next 16 years. I wasn’t emotional or sad about her new routine, though. Her excitement was truly infectious, and she adores everything about preschool. Every time we pass a brick church she gasps, “I SEEEEEEE MY PWESCHOOL, MOMMY!! I gotta go wiv dere. Bye!!”

I was equally as excited as she was, because preparing meals for my family just hits a really sweet spot in my heart. I spent most of my life dreaming about being a mom, and packing her little lunchbox twice a week just feels like a crown on that dream. We’ve been really lucky to have two great eaters in our little ladies. They aren’t picky, don’t fight mealtime and don’t have any allergies. I’ve been spoiled. Our preschool classroom happens to be nut, seed and egg free, and while NB isn’t much of a peanut butter eater, she does enjoy snacking on nuts, loves pesto, eats hummus, and hardboiled eggs are lunchtime go-tos. I didn’t want to feel intimidated by our limitations, though, and it’s been fun not only to pack these little tapas plates on Sunday and Tuesday nights, but to see what she’s eaten when she comes home on Mondays and Wednesdays.

I probably send her with too much food, but I think it’s important to offer a lot of choices, and I think she ends up eating a better and healthier variety when she has options. I didn’t get any fancy Bento box. I just grabbed a $7 and $5 container at Target and load those puppies up. I also try not to duplicate food very often. In general I try to keep her meals pretty varied, but I always include a fruit (or two), a veggie (or two), and a protein.

Sneaking little pictures and notes in her lunchbox is my other favorite. She recently got into the Lion King, so on her first day of school, I drew a picture of a lion with a note letting her know how proud we are of her. I was so excited to pick her up and hear her rave about the lion, but when I asked her what she found in her lunchbox, she said:
“A wion.”
“Oh my goodness! How fun! Did you love it?”
“NOOO, MOMMY! It weally scawed me!!”

Otherwise, my never-has-an-unexpressed-thought-and-you-can’t-either-if-you’re-in-her-presence girl answers nearly all questions about preschool with, “I can’t tell you dat.” So, not sure if these lunches are better for preschool or a secret society.

Either way, here are a few that she’s really loved. You’ll see we don’t do many sandwiches. We don’t eat a ton of deli meat in our house (unless I’m pregnant, ’cause then I cannot quit deli roast beef… which I am not) for some unknown reason. Instead I try to incorporate our leftovers or planned meals as much as possible.

Apple slices, mango slices, black beans, roasted chicken, naan “pizza” made from Costco naan, tomato sauce,
spinach, and mozzarella cheese


Tomato sandwich on wheat bread with a smear of mayo, salt and pepper (I added the top half of bread post-picture),
roasted potato wedges, homemade apple-pear sauce, shredded chicken, and zucchini tots (we LOVE these)


Smoked chicken, avocado, zucchini tots, diced tomatoes, roasted broccoli, apple-pear sauce


Zucchini tots, grapes, cherry tomatoes, diced kiwi, smoked sausage, spaghetti noodles with
tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella


Diced kiwi, shredded pork, grapes, black beans, cherry tomatoes, ricotta and jelly sandwich


Honey mustard chicken, quinoa cups, roasted sweet potato wedges, strawberries, black beans,
roasted cauliflower, cottage cheese and jam.

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One thought on “Little Lunchboxes

  1. Caroline, we have a new Lidl in Rockingham which is about thirty minutes away…love their Greek yogurt, cereals and granola bars…also got a nice trivet in the household section…spices are a real deal too…would love your zucchini tot recipe…where could I find it…thanks for sharing your ideas with us!!

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