Alright, let me start with this: I do not enjoy making school lunches. In all of the excitement leading up to each new school year, the school-lunch black cloud hovers over me. And from what I understand, I’m not alone. Friends near and far anticipate the dread of this daily routine. But, overcome I will! (At least for the first week of school.)

I am determined to send my kids back with fun surprises waiting in their new, clean lunch bags. After all, I love them and want to remind them every day.

While thinking creatively (aka, perusing Pinterest), I honed in on a few key ideas: silly and favorites for little ones; witty, funny and informative for older kids. With those basic parameters, I was ready to begin.

Little Ones

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Photos by Simri Davis

When planning for your little ones think silly and consider their favorite foods. A handwritten note won’t do a pre-reader much good but food with funny faces or gummy critters hanging out will bring a smile or a laugh.

• For ongoing, yearlong fun, use cookie cutters on sandwiches, cheese and fruit.

• Use markers with edible ink to add a touch of fun to any sandwich, cookie or even marshmallows.

• Cut up their sandwiches in odd sizes and shapes — no more squares or triangles.

• Make fruit interesting by creating images with their shapes: a slice of orange and triangles of cheese and voila, you have a sunrise!

• Add a temporary tattoo to the skin of a banana.

Older kids

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Free templates for labels, trivia and jokes abound online to add a little interest to lunches.

• Add cards with jokes or fun facts to their lunch. To continue the surprises and make it easier, print out multiple cards ahead of time. There are a lot of cute, free templates available online.

• Include a bag of cheese crackers with letters and challenge them to see how many words they can make.

• Is your child into reptiles? Use gummy snakes with interesting facts attached for the perfect treat.

A few minutes of prep each week can make daily lunches special for your kids.And you might find yourself enjoying the morning ritual as you think about the smile on their hungry faces.


About the author: Simri Davis lives in McKinney with her husband and three children.