Back to School – Weekly Lunch box Plan

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Image credits: google; Weekly plan designed by: MySpoonfulOfFun

“As a rule, children dislike foods which are said to be good for them, or are forced on them, and they take strong fancies to foods which they are not allowed to eat; advantage should be taken of these tendencies.”
– Eric Pritchard

Yaaayyy! It’s that time of the year again 😉 “Back to school” is a very exciting prospect for most mommies. Well, except for mommies of  first-time-school-goers; who are outright nervous to let go of their babies in this big bad world. To all those mommies out there…first and foremost, congratulations! Second, please relax. Your sweet, little baby will do just fine and have the time of his/her life, while you will be sulking away in misery. Trust me, you are going to thank your lucky stars once you get used to those precious few hours of tranquility and order (experience talking, haha).

Ok, now that we are done celebrating this auspicious time of the year, lets shed some light on the real dilemma. Deciding a daily lunch box menu for your child.

A couple of friends and I were discussing, the other day, our lack of intellectual ability to come up with an ideal lunch box menu for the picky li’l eaters in our life. We exchanged some notes over our whatsapp group and the matter was closed. Later on, thought of dedicating an entire post to this in the collective interest of humanity and mom-sanity. Because lets admit it…in spite of making concerted efforts, we do have a hard time coming up with a lunch box plan that would hit a home run.

So here are a few suggestions, a combination of which, can help you design an effortless menu for your child on a daily basis.

Disclaimer: I am not, in any way, suggesting that these classes and combinations of food would provide a ‘balanced’ meal for your child. If you think that any of the items mentioned herein is not healthy, please feel free to omit it from your plan. Or try a substitute. This is just something that works for me and hence I am sharing it with you.

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Main items

1. Sandwich: Chicken sandwich, cheese sandwich, egg sandwich, pb&j sandwich, hazelnut spread sandwich, butter and jam sandwich, kebab sandwich
2. Mini pizzas
3. Paratha (indian flatbread) with cheese/ hazelnut spread or as is
4. Fast food: home made nuggets, mini burger
5. Breakfast items: mini muffins, pancakes, waffles, french toast
6. Pasta

Sides

1. Fruits: apple slices, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peach slices, orange cut-ups, grapes
2. Veggies: peas, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, sweet corn
3. Snacks: cookies, chips, corn tortillas, bread sticks, pretzels
4. Breakfast cereal
5. Hard boiled eggs
6. Cheese squares

In order to manage expectations of my beloved fruit of labor (my child, in case you were wondering 😉 ) and to streamline this tedious task, I have designed a weekly lunch box plan and have mounted it on the fridge. Now, every night I pack the lunch box like a boss, without wasting any precious time deciding what item to give and what not to give for the next day. Added benefit: the weekly plan helps me monitor my grocery list as well. Bingo!

Feel free to use the weekly lunch box plan (displayed above or some variation of it) for your kiddos. And let me know if it made a difference to your life.

Have a great week ahead 🙂

 

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Scaredy Squirrel Books – A candid review

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“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
–Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

It was one of those beautiful, rainy days this summer, when I decided to explore our neighborhood library. I did not have very high expectations, but man…did it surprise me (in a good way of course!). With kids in tow, we first tried to conquer the kid lit section. It was there that I came across these awesome Scaredy Squirrel picture books, brilliantly written and illustrated by Melanie Watts. Suitable for ages: 4 – 99(Yes, you read that right!)

What are Scaredy Squirrel books about?
A humorous, witty collection of tales about a Squirrel who is afraid of green martians, penguins, piranhas, germs and the Unknown. Simply put, Scaredy Squirrel is just not comfortable with the idea of trying out new things. This perfectionist, little creature makes extensive contingency plans for all kinds of emergency situations. And like there’s always an interesting twist to a good story, something invariably happens which catches him off guard. And there he is. Using his last line of defense, which he has mastered over a period of time: the art of playing dead. Eventually by the end of each book, Scaredy Squirrel realizes that he had more fun going out into the wild, than all those times when he was too careful, too afraid or too reluctant to try something new.

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What would your child love about these books?
– Scaredy’s to-do lists, warnings, plans , laws, checklists, maps and guides for anything and everything
– The colors and illustrations in general
– Scaredy’s quirky sense of humor
– Cute, little Scaredy himself

What would you love about these books?
– The way Scaredy’s experiences inspire us to take chances and step outside our comfort zone
– A reminder that all our fears and mental blocks, about any new situation in life, are only in our imagination
– How it shows the importance and rewards of being courageous, and
– That adventures are fun and exciting. (As, Scaredy Squirrel says: “Some things are worth the trouble”)

Scaredy Squirrel books could be a wonderful birthday gift for a kid who loves to read or a just-because gift for a friend who needs that little push to embark on a new journey in life.

What are you waiting for? Grab your copy now.

US readers can find these books here on Amazon. UAE readers can find them here on Souq. And readers in Pakistan can try to find them at Liberty Books (Not sure if they are available there, sowwie!)

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Happy 70th Pakistan!

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Pakistan’s flag themed sugar cookies

“Afraad kay haathoun mein hay, aqwaam ki taqdeer
Hurr fard hay millat kay muqqaddar ka sitara”
– Allama Iqbal

They call it ‘mother’-land for a reason. Besides being the place where a person is born, it is the place that makes him into the person that he is…just like a mother’s love. The food that we learn to eat, the culture and traditions that we live by, the language that we speak…these are just a few attributes, among many others that are influenced by our ‘mother’-land.

Where else in the world do we get mangoes like Pakistan’s? Not to mention faalsay! What about the one-of-a-kind truck art and the ‘faasla rakhein, kaheen pyaar na hojayey’ type poetry on those trucks? The stunning ajraks, the passionate relationship with cricket, the biryanis, bun kebabs and gazillion other foodie delights; the rich Urdu literature – thanks to the likes of Ghalib, Faiz and Iqbal? Where in the world do we witness the steel-like resilience of a nation marred by these many evils? No.frikkin.where.

During all my time in Karachi (more than 2.5 decades of my life, not a joke guys), 14th August was all about decorating our apartment with jhandiyaan, going out as a family to watch the lights with which the famous buildings would be adorned with and calling it a day with biryani from Biryani Centre. After moving to Middle east, it was all about going to work in a green outfit with green and white nail art, wishing independence day to family and friends, eating out at a Pakistani restaurant and that’s it. It used to go by in a stride.

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This year, being thousands of miles away from Pakistan…14th August struck a long forgotten chord. This year it was more about introspection. It was about thinking up of ways of giving back to the country (in whatever little capacity I could) that has given me so much. Hence the launch of this blog..

Being the invisible flagbearers of this country – no matter where we are in the world – the least we could do is be kind and generous in our actions and words and represent the true face of Pakistan. Which is beautiful to say the least. What face of Pakistan do you represent, in front of the world? Ask yourself.

With that, wishing Pakistan a Happy 70th and to all the Pakistanis (living in Pakistan or elsewhere)..a very happy Independence Day. May the odds ever be in you favor, my beloved ‘mother’-land.

 

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