Tuesday 2 September 2014

School Lunches for Geeky Kids

By Sandi Moser
It’s back-to-school time again. This year will be a bit different for our family – my youngest will finally be going to school full-time. He’s over-the-moon excited, which is catchy, but my husband and I can’t help but groan when thinking about the extra lunches and snacks we’ll have to start packing. We’ve had a bit of experience (my daughter is entering grade 3), but adding that extra lunch bag to the mix has put a bit of a drag on the upcoming return to school.

In an effort to inject some excitement into the lunch-making tedium, I went on a mission to find some new, fun, and (because it’s me) geeky snack and lunch ideas. 
Surprisingly, searching online for ideas wasn’t as straightforward as I thought it would be. Most searches brought me to links to articles about the importance of healthy school lunches, or to message boards asking questions about what geeks are eating these days while playing computer games (your typical Doritos and Fritos made those lists – I guess they’re not reading the previously-mentioned healthy-snack articles). 
What finally did the trick for finding appropriate school ideas was searching for a particular theme. For example, searching for “Star Wars school lunch ideas” brought me to a blog by Wendy Copely, author of Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches To Go, showcasing the different ways you can use Star Wars cookie cutters (to cut sandwiches, quesadillas, and even cheese slices) and lightsabre picks to infuse some fun into lunch: http://wendolonia.com/blog/2013/05/02/star-wars-lunch-ideas-for-your-little-jedi/. 

The Wendolonia blog brought me to even more Star Wars ideas, including this awesome lunch, with a Princess Leia cheese sandwich with almond butter and jam sandwich hair “buns”: http://www.veggie-bento.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/may-the-fourth-lunch.jpg. While making Princess Leia sandwiches probably takes a bit more time than I’m willing to commit, turning pretzel sticks into lightsabres is definitely a possibility.

Here are a few of my favourite finds. With luck, they’ll help make us all excited for lunch-making time, and won’t result in too many Pinterest fails!
Superhero lunch (http://www.lifewiththecrustcutoff.com/back-school-superhero-lunch-box/) – I especially love the idea of using a toothpick to write into the peel of the banana, which will brown up by morning. I can think of many possibilities for that trick!

Minecraft lunch (http://www.bentonbetterlunches.com/2013/04/thriftee-gear-review-minecraft-lunch.html) – I have to admit, when my daughter talks to me about Minecraft, I feel like I have the same expression on my face as my parents did when I tried to explain how to program the timer of our VCR. But, the sandwich looks easy to make, and gives new life to simple squares of cheese.

Dragon lunch (http://www.bentonbetterlunches.com/2013/09/how-to-train-your-dragon.html) – Most of the dragon-inspired things in this lunch come from rings that decorate cupcakes at the grocery store. The idea I really liked on this page, however, was the egg. I make hardboiled eggs every week for my own snacks, but it can be made so much more fun and kid-friendly by cracking it, then soaking it in water and food colouring.  

Don’t forget to get the kids involved in making lunch. With some of these ideas, lunch-making will become an enjoyable game instead of a chore!

Sandi is a 30-something environmental engineer and mother of two from the metropolis of Stittsville, Ontario. Writing for Capital Geek Girls is a new adventure for her, with previous writing experience limited to technical documents, briefing notes and Facebook updates. In her spare time, Sandi enjoys playing board games and video games, reading books, watching movies, and crocheting. She looks forward to sharing her geeky endeavours with you, as well as reporting on the next generation’s response to those endeavours.

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