Here are some Back 2 School lunch planning ideas for in-person and virtual learning

HOUSTON – School lunches will look a lot different this year. When students go back to class in person, Many will eat at their desks instead of crowded cafeterias. Even for virtual/at-home learning, you may need to plan ahead for lunch.

Most schools want parents to keep kids on schedule, breaking for lunchtime at the same time each day in between online classes and school work. If you haven’t prepared the lunches ahead, your child may not have enough time to eat before their next virtual class.

Sugar Land blogger Brenda Thompson of Meal Planning Magic has been prepping family meals and kids lunches for years. During the pandemic, she says what goes into our kids’ bodies is even more important.

“Whether at home or face to face, you still want to promote that philosophy of keeping kids healthy,” she explained.

Actually packing or preparing your child’s lunch for virtual learning may keep them out of the snack cabinet and those sugary snacks that will make it more difficult for them to stay in their seat and stay focused.

Thompson’s lunch ideas:

  • Lunch Kabobs: Sliding all the main food groups on a stick makes lunch fun and nutritious. You can put lunchmeat and veggies on a stick or hardboiled eggs with meat.

Kid-friendly tip: Use lollipop sticks from the craft store instead of skewers. They have blunt ends instead of sharp points that can be tempting for kids to play with.

Individually wrapped foods that you can eat without touching the food itself:

  • Fruit in squeeze pouches
  • Peanut butter and almond butter packs
  • Individually wrapped packs of nuts
  • Granola bars that slide out of the package easily.
  • Beef jerky and Slim Jims
  • Soups and pasta salad in a thermos

Thompson's not claiming this is a novel idea, but the only thing your child has to touch is the fork they are using to eat.

This year, make sure your child’s water bottles have a cap or a lid that covers the drinking spout to protect from airborne germs and to keep their little fingers off of the spout they will put in their mouths.

More ideas

Thompson also works with a program called Produce for Kids. You can find a lot of other lunch ideas here. When you share pictures of your child’s lunch using #PowerYourLunchbox, you can help support families in need.