This morning my middle child posed a strange question, "Mom, if I have any leftovers from my lunch, do you mind if I give them to the hungry girls?" I followed up on this, "What do you mean hungry girls?" My daughter's explanation: apparently there are a couple of girls that go kid-to-kid on the bus asking for food. "They'll even eat the stuff you drop," offered my daughter. Lovely.
We're not talking malnourished girls here, just energetic elementary schoolers whose last meal was before recess at 11:30am. The situation got me thinking about how to pack my kids' lunches not only for lunch, but also for potential bus hunger pangs later. As a result my kids’ lunches underwent a bit of a redesign.
Pack in layers. Just like you dress in layers on breezy days to be prepared for a variety of weather, pack for a variety of hunger levels. Some days your kids will be ravenous, other days they’ll have problems finishing a mini-bagel. You don’t want them to waste food so offer some fillers that can last through the week. If they don’t eat it Monday, it’ll still be good on Friday. Granola bars work well.
Put in plastic. Instead of baggies, stash snacks in small plastic containers. That way, if your son doesn’t finish his Goldfish, they won’t be crushed by the time he’s hungry for them later.
Go for snacks with longevity. Pretzels, baby carrots, Twizzlers, Fiber One bars (I’m told that’s a “hungry girl” fav) won’t go bad if your kids don’t eat them right away.
I’m not encouraging eating on the bus (which I’m told isn’t allowed--but the bus driver doesn’t mind), just that I want my kids to have enough food at school to keep their energy up throughout the day. And I don't want them combing the ground on the bus floor for snacks!
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