In our home August signifies several things. There is the obvious: end of summer, oppressive humidity, peaches, early morning birdwatching, late night barbecues, giving up on weeding, I could go on and on... Mostly, August signifies Band Camp. For those of you out there, reading this, right now, who do not know what Band Camp is, let me enlighten you. Band Camp is a magical place your Band-O son or daughter goes to spend the entire day outside, with their friends, marching about a dew- covered field, making music, getting sunburned, making memories and in general having the time of their lives! At least that is my interpretation of Band Camp.
Band Camp also signifies the end of sleeping past 6:00am for me. Worse than that? Band Camp signifies packing band lunches. "What would you like for lunch?" Is my second least favorite question in the universe. (The question is only out-ranked by my LEAST favorite question, "What should I wear today?" Any parent of a daughter - any age daughter - knows this last little doozy of a question can strike both dread and fear into your heart and completely ruin your day!)
Anyway, getting back to lunches. What to pack? What to pack?
To make things easier, I have narrowed down lunches into two simple categories:
1. Those lunches your child WILL eat.
2. Those lunches your child WILL NOT eat.
Sounds simple enough right! WRONG! Category "1" is (one of) the most difficult tasks any parent/guardian faces on any given day! Pack a lunch your child will actually consume? This is tough stuff!
In preparation for the weeks to come, I began buying up boxes of granola bars, small reusable containers and resealable sandwich-sized bags. (Not some much anyone would notice.) I started cutting up watermelon, washing grapes, buying bread and sandwich supplies. I made dressings and stocked my refrigerator with vitamin water and fortified waters in flavors she likes. I made her favorite cookies and purchased a half gallon-sized water "bottle" cooler thing so she can remain hydrated. I froze portable ice and purchased vats of sunblock. In short, I am ready! Or so I thought...
Six in the morning comes really soon. My pillow is comfortable. Laundry needs doing. Lunch supplies got eaten the night before for dinner. Her lunch needs packing. The fortified water is forgotten at home... Sound familiar? I throw my hands up and embrace our crazy home and life... what else is a mother to do?
To help curb some of the craziness in your home, here is a list of grab-easy, "Go-To" healthy snacks to keep in your pantry. Not to 'Blow my own Horn' or anything, but they really come in handy.
Granola bars (whatever flavor your child enjoys, no judging)
Individually sealed, filled crackers (for those days you forgot you are out of lunch meat)
Organic corn chips (they are better for your child than potato chips, are whole grain and most importantly, still make your child think they are having chips)
Crackers (as whole grain as your child will tolerate) Crackers are great because when your child is not in the mood for a sandwich (primarily because you are out of bread) you can pack them along with cheese, lunchmeat and fruit for a great 'isn't my mom cool' sort of picnic lunch
Grapes, apples, bananas, melon, berries
Yogurt (again, whatever flavor your child enjoys, no judging)
Smoothies (again, whatever flavor your child enjoys, no judging)
Bread, lots of bread...
Sandwich fixings your child enjoys (cheese, sliced oven-roasted turkey or chicken, good salami, etc.)
Bottled water for emergencies (there is always the day someone forgets their water bottle at school)
Chewable vitamin C (schools are a cesspool of germs, lets be honest)
Your sanity... (optional)
Avid home cook and passionate instructor