Back to school means a lot of things – new bedtimes, the return of the morning rush, replacing outgrown clothes and in our house field trips galore. Field trips always present a challenge to me in the lunch department. They mean that anything requiring an ice pack is out and that everything I send has to be completely disposable and not very squishable. Sadly, this eliminates a lot of the healthy items I would like to include in Kayla’s lunch.
I’ve been one of the lucky/sacrificial few parents to go on a bunch of field trips this summer for Kayla’s camp and I have learned a lot about what kids wind up with when lunch rolls around. For example, a banana is a terrible idea – bruised, squashed and totally inedible by 11:00am. A whole apple might seem like a great idea but they’re actually pretty tough for a 3 year old to sink their teeth into and eat quickly during the short time they have for lunch. Tricky stuff this lunch packing game is!
We’ve got an aquarium field trip coming up already and sadly, I won’t be attending this time so I wanted to make an extra special and packable lunch for Kayla. I headed off to Walmart (which is growing on me) in search of some healthy and fun lunch options. I had honestly never contemplated sending Kayla to school with a fruit cup because I always thought of them as sugar spiked fruit swimming in even more sugary syrup until I saw these Del Monte fruit cups that had diced peaches or diced pears available in water.
‘ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m NO artist but I decided I wanted to put a little aquarium spin on this lunch and I got the idea to turn the diced peaches fruit cup into a fish by adding some little paper cut outs. It took me a few tries to draw the fins and the little fishy lips correctly. Fishing around in my handbag produced a variety of crayons and I used them to color the pieces in. In the end I think it turned out pretty cute!
After that I made the penguin peanut butter sandwich. I use whole wheat bread and natural peanut butter – no salt and no sugar added. I’ve learned that if you don’t train your kids to expect the super sweet commercial brands, they happily accept this as the real deal. My husband on the other hand…I am still working on.
These sandwich cutters are pretty inexpensive at around $2 each and unlike using cookie cutters they don’t leave a lot of wasted sandwich. These just eliminate the crusts and leave you with some very kid friendly shapes.
Here is our aquarium field trip lunch! It has the penguin peanut butter sandwiches for some carbs and protein, some very appropriate roasted seaweed as a veggie (which to my surprise kids seem to LOVE) and our Del Monte Fruit Cup fish for a serving of fruit. I also included some Cheddar Bunnies and a bottle of water with a sport top which I highly recommend for little kids since they don’t spill as easily and are easier to close.
Now I can just toss this in a big reclosable bag with disposable spoon and it’s a pretty healthy lunch with no refrigeration required and no leaky, browned or squished fruit.
Never one to be left out of the fun, Kayla woke up in the morning and begged to color her own fruit cup fish which got me thinking that I should create a printable for it since if you’re like me you probably browse Pinterest and pin lots of things you’ll never actually do. So if you’re interested, here is a template for this little fish that you can just print, cut out and attach to a fruit cup: Fruit Cup Fish Printable
You can even print it out and let your kids color it and surprise them with the finished product the next morning. Or if you have slightly older kids, let them do the whole thing themselves and I bet they will be proud when they whip out their creation at lunch and dig in. Here’s Kayla coloring hers. It’s a “rainbow fish” can you tell?
Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Del Monte #CBias #SocialFabric” as always, everything here is my own personal and quite picky opinion.