How To Pack Lunch with ChopChop Magazine

8:28 AM

We have had about two months of school and school lunches under our belt at our house. Here is what a typical week looks like:

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: PB&J
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Oatmeal with fruit & nuts
Friday: School Lunch (Pizza)
Thankfully, my oldest almost always polishes whatever I pack in his lunchbox. It's 50/50 with my 3-year-old. Okay, who am I trying to kid? It's 25/75 with the little bugger. So we're already in a rut and it's only November. *Gulp*

So when I heard about a "Lunch Boot Camp: How to pack a lunch that will be eaten" with ChopChop Magazine held at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and hosted by Mommy Niri, I was giddy with excitement... like the day I got my first Hello Kitty Lunch box.

ChopChop Magazine
ChopChop is a quarterly food magazine and website for kids. ChopChop's mission is to educate kids to cook and empower them to make healthy choices. Think Cook's Illustrated meets Highlights Magazine. It is awesome. Here are some reasons why:

Recipes - simple and healthy recipes that are easy to follow with fun photos of kids making the dish. I love how, at a glance, you know how much adult help is suggested, kitchen gear, ingredients and prep time is needed.
The Sally Challenge - Kids challenge Sally to come up with a recipe that will get them to enjoy an ingredient they typically dislike. If Sally can turn Cate into an eggplant fan with her Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille, then maybe my boys will love it too.
Fun & Games - (my son's favorite part of ChopChop) mazes, word finds, puzzles and other games are peppered (pun intended) throughout each issue. It keeps kids engaged about nutrition and exercise while having fun.
Kids love it too! My boys get excited to try the recipes in a given issue. And they love having a magazine geared to them.

Lunch Boot Camp
I had the good fortune of joining a handful of other local bloggers at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts to hear Sally Sampson, Founder and President of ChopChop, bestow pearls of wisdom on how to pack a lunch that will get eaten. We got more tips from Chef Instructor Dot Jacobson as she gave us a cooking demo on how to make a carrot & apple soup and pasta salad. And lunch boot camp could not be complete without a luncheon.

Founder and President of ChopChop sharing lunch-packing strategies

CSCA Instructor Dot Jacobson giving a cooking demo with Laura Reid, Kim Grenon, Julia Magnusson, Sheri Gurock, and Sally Sampson looking on.
Sandwich and yogurt bar = perfect lunch!

Delicious penne and roasted veggies
Check out the recipes for the Penne and Vegetables with Lemon Dressing and Carrot Apple Soup - perfect for your kids or your own lunch box.

How to pack a lunch that will get eaten
  • Involve your kids: Not only should you ask your kids to choose what they want for lunch, but have them help shop, prepare and pack it. The more you involve your kids, the more invested they will be and likely to try new foods.
  • Pair new ingredients with favorites: Does your kid hate peas but love tomato sauce? Try adding peas to tomato sauce. Even if they don't gobble up every pea for example, there's a good chance they are trying a few and will slowly realize peas aren't so bad. 
  • Texture is key: Kids' palates are not as mature as adults, and textures can make or break a dish in their mind. My boys will gag if you try to give them anything mushy like overcooked vegetables. Dice or puree and combine with other ingredients. My knife skills have never been better!
  • Make it personal: Most kids love to make it about them. A personal-sized pizza, mini pot pies, kebabs. It's the right size and they get to control what goes in it. 
  • Don't give up: Experts say it could take up to 15 tries for a child to get used to and even like a new ingredient. I try to expose my kids to one new ingredient or dish a week. They might not like bitter melon right now, but at least they can pick one out now and remind you it's not their favorite.
Thanks Mommy Niri for organizing Lunch Boot Camp!

Thanks to ChopChop, Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and Mommy Niri for hosting a great event. Packing lunch has never looked so appealing!

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