Healthy and Hearty at Mealtime
Though it’s already been a couple of weeks, I’m still slowly coming to accept the reality that I have four children in school. Three of them are, for the first and last time in their young lives, attending the same school. Evvie is going to a sweet little preschool right around the corner for a few days a week, a change that she was really excited about and is embracing wholeheartedly. I will admit that it’s not easy on my momma’s heart to watch them growing older, but I can’t hope for anything more than my children successfully and happily meeting milestones.
Logistically, four children in school is much easier than our previous arrangement, with two in elementary, one in preschool, one popping in and out of ballet and gymnastics classes and a baby along for the ride. It does mean that we’re constantly packing four lunches and washing four sets of lunch tins nearly four times a week. Justin and I are a great team though, and Jack and Zoe are involved in meal planning and often packing their own lunches. I like to be creative and different with their menu options, though most times they want something they are familiar with and something they consistently enjoy. Lunch can be socially exasperating for them, so I prioritize portability and taste more than anything. We’ve really relied on staples like deli meat, fruit and allergy friendly snacks, and I’ve had a lot of fun and success with Arla cheese products. Owned by farmers and with brand goals that include sustainability and environmentally friendly production practices, Arla cheese is one that is frequently in my arsenal for meal preparation for my family.
Evangeline really enjoys it when I make snack rolls and bite sized foods in the shapes of animals. It’s something I used to do when each of the kids were in preschool, so I’ve had a bit of practice. Arla cream cheese spread made with simple ingredients and come in various flavors like blueberry, strawberry, herbs & spices and original. It’s tasty in turkey wraps and on breakfast bagels, so much so that each child enjoys it. Sometimes I even send them as dips with sliced carrots, apples and pretzels.
Now that Jack and Zoe are in the upper grades, lunch tends to take a back seat to play time. I am tasked with sending simple and quickly consumable foods. Sandwiches with Arla sliced Gouda and Havarti are Jack’s favorites, while Zoe really likes to make her own grilled cheese with the Arla sliced Medium Cheddar and take it to school with a handful of cherry tomatoes.
Beau is our pickiest eater, and just wants sliced salami, Arla snack cheese with all the fruit he can fit into his lunch tin. It’s fun for him, nutritious, and I’m really just so happy when he actually consumes what I send that I only change it up with the various kinds of cheese (Arla Snack Cheese in Medium Cheddar and Havarti are his favorites) and crackers.
There’s a lot to be said about getting behind a good, consistent routine. Though back-to-school can be a challenging time to get everyone back on a homework and sleep schedule, it’s nice to have a naturally delicious, reliable lunch menu for the week with foods that are easy to prepare and fun to eat for the kids. Arla products are a favorite in our home and I’m happy to have the variety of options in my refrigerator