The School Lunch Inspiration You Need, Courtesy of the People Parents Squad
"My daughter Dahlia started kindergarten 2 weeks ago. They serve lunch at school every day but we are still figuring out if she wants to eat it or not, so have been sending light lunches too. I always try to give her as much color and variety as possible. She doesn't love sandwiches so we give her simple, fresh finger foods. I was in a rush the day I made this so threw together sliced cucumbers and rolled a few slices of organic roast turkey around a few of them, a piece of sweet corn on the cob leftover from dinner the night before (she can eat 3 pieces in one sitting!), slices of a beautiful summer plum and a few Goldfish! She gobbled it all up.”
"Packing lunches is the hardest part of a parent’s morning! Prep some healthy snacks early in the week and mix-and-match the rest of the week. Homemade apple chips, baked tortilla with guacamole, lighter healthier ranch dip for vegetables and sandwiches cut into a fun shape."
Tia Mowry-Hardrict and husband Cory Hardrict are parents to son Cree, 7, and daughter Cairo, three months. She is an actress whose next project is Indivisible.
"Sunflower butter and honey sandwiches are the key to or school lunches. Our public school has strict 'No Nut Butter' rule so we use sun butter on our sandwiches. It's ground up sunflower seeds (which are weirdly cheaper than the organic peanut or almond butter!) so it's got a bunch of good fat for brain cells and it's really yummy. I also use my brother's honey (he's a beekeeper and the coolest guy i know! @williamshoneyTN) which is raw and unprocessed so I feel zero guilt about it. Gus LOVES it. I throw it into a reusable silicone bag which are easy to clean, his old stained green lunchbox (we gotta get him a new one, I know!) and throw in any leftover veggies we can find. Also? I let him eat the school lunch on Friday-- PIZZA DAY!! Cuz some things just need to be easy sometimes. Especially with two kids."
"I love this bento box for my daughter Philomena's lunch - it keeps everything organized and cool until she's ready to eat. It seals really well once you close it, so even if they bang their lunchboxes around, things stay in place!
I usually put a dollop of hummus or whole greek yogurt with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt into one of the smaller compartments, and then stick cut up carrots, cucumbers, or sugarsnap peas in for her to dip. My son John loves sandwiches, but Philo isn't really into them, so I frequently do leftovers for her - these are chicken meatballs from last night (I stuff them full of sautéed veggies for moisture and black or pinto beans for a bit of extra fiber and filling protein!) and some homemade French fries...I use a little dressing container to send organic ketchup on the side for dipping. I try to use a mix of potatoes (russet or Yukon and sweet), and then I'll sneak some rutabaga or carrot sticks in there too.
I cut up huge batches of these when I have my food processor out and then will freeze them for future use. You can even bake them once and then freeze, and then bake again to reheat at a later date for extra crispy results. I put a little roasted spaghetti squash on the side, and some olives which she loves.
And then there are watermelon matchsticks. Philomena might be the only 4 year old on the planet who does not like fruit, but I keep giving it to her in hopes that bite by bite she starts to...I find making it really easy to eat (cubes, balls, matchsticks) or giving her fun things like honey to dip into makes the process work better. I use reusable cloth or silicone snack bags for a snack of organic pretzels and raisins, [plus a container of organic, fresh-pressed Simply Apples from Pure Spoon which I get delivered - it's actually baby food for my 9 month old, Nica, but my older kids love it too]!"
"I definitely feel the frustration with getting lunches ready and trying to be creative when back to school time rolls around.
I’ve found that one of the best ways for us to keep it creative is ordering food from the great meal service at our daughter's school. They are well priced and it allows her to try new things and also takes the stress off of us in the morning. However I know that’s not an option for everyone. We do that a few times a week and make her lunch the other days. I like healthy options and try to give her some of her go-to favorites since she explores new stuff with the meal service."
Eric Winter and his wife Roselyn Sanchez are parents to daughter Sebella, 6, and son Dylan, 9 months. He is an actor whose next project is The Rookie, premiering Oct. 16 on ABC; he also has a children’s book, Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha.
TEDDI MELLENCAMP ARROYAVE
"Cute lunchbox. Water bottle with initials so they don’t mix up with friends. WowButter for their PB&J sandwiches since they aren’t allowed nuts at school. Carrot chips because they are easier to chew than baby carrots. Grapes - because what kid doesn’t love grapes?! Veggie crisps because they look like regular chips and kids don’t know the difference.
Extra snacks because they are always hungry - like organic yogurt or apple sauce. Kashi Chocolate Chip bar as a dessert so they are happy to have a little sweet ending if they want."
Teddi Mellencamp is a star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and an accountability coach with celebrity clients. She and her husband Edwin Arroyave have two children together, daughter Slate, 5, and son Cruz, 3, and she is stepmother to Arroyave's daughter Isabella.