Lunch is a fun and educational time of an early years student’s day. In the Strelitz Early Years Program in Virginia Beach, parents have the option of buying lunch or sending in a lunch box. A summer activity might include going with your child to pick out their new lunch box for school. Make sure you have small containers to pack individual items or recycle those cream cheese tubs. Additionally, you may want to get a thermos to pack items you want to stay warm or cold. And don’t forget a drink. If you are choosing a water bottle, make sure it’s easy to close and doesn’t leak.
A common question among many early years parents is what do I pack my child for lunch? When the children in our infant care program move up to the toddler room, one of the requirements is that they should be able to feed themselves. The toddler teachers put out paper plates, open containers and carefully lay out each lunch. Parents will want to pack food items that are easy for the children to eat on their own. Many toddlers don’t eat sandwiches, so other ideas include pita and hummus, cheese and crackers, cooked pasta and string cheese. And of course, parents should pack a fruit or vegetable to round out the meal.
In the two- Pre-K program children are more adept at handling utensils and feeding themselves. Here are some ideas for foods to pack. In the spirit of our kashrut tradition, please do not mix meat and dairy in the same meal.
- Cream cheese and jelly on a mini bagel
- Half pita pocket stuffed with tuna
- Hardboiled egg
- Yogurt- cup or squeezable tube
- Cheese sticks or cheese chunks and crackers
- Macaroni and cheese (packed in a thermos)
- Flour tortilla spread with soft cheese and vegetable mix rolled up and sliced into pinwheels
- Soy nut spread on crackers
Vegetables and fruit help to round out a meal:
- Cucumber slices
- Broccoli florets
- ½ Banana
- Apple slices (dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning)
- Apple sauce or fruit (in its own juice) or in squeezable pouches.
- Melon cubes cut up grapes
- Fruit juice or water (Please send a sippy cup with your child that is clearly marked with his/her name)
Many parents love the idea of not having to pack lunch at all. With so many busy parents, it’s great to know lunch is available for those days parents can’t get to the grocery store. We offer kosher lunch options though the CARDO Lunch Program. Lunches include such items as pasta, meatball subs, bagels, grilled cheese, pizza, falafel, and pita.
Are there any items that parents should not pack? Due to the severe nut allergies of several of our students, Strelitz is a peanut and tree nut free facility. What that means is that any items with traces of nuts cannot be brought into the facility. Items that are “processed in the same facility” are fine to bring in. Luckily today, there are many substitutes that can be used for those traditional peanut butter and jelly fans. Sunflower seed and soy nut butter are great alternatives, and most kids can’t tell the difference! They can be found in most Virginia Beach grocery stores’ health food section.
The Strelitz Early Years Program also includes a snack for the children each morning around 10 am and each afternoon around 3 pm. Snacks are non-dairy and peanut free. Snack vary each day and include items such as fruit, veggies and dip, cheerios and soy milk, or crackers and soynut butter.