Author Siri Daly shares lunchbox ideas for the school year

‘I’m a big planner’ says mother of four

School lunch generic (Pexels)

As a mother of four kids, Siri Daly knows the chaos of heading back to school.

“I have a two-year-old, an eight-year-old, 10-year-old, and a 13-year-old, so it runs the gamut of drama and chaos,” laughed Daly.

Being organized is key.

“I’m a big planner,” said Daly. “So whether that’s, you know, laying out outfits the night before or having a calendar with weekly schedules laid out, mine are color coordinated, and yes, with lunchbox items, I like to really try to plan that ahead to relieve some of that chaos in the morning.”

Daly is the wife of Carson Daly and the author of “Siriously Delicious: 100 Nutritious (and Not So Nutritious) Recipes for the Real Home Cook.”   She also has a popular food blog called “Siriously Delicious.”

As school starts again, Daly has partnered with Juicy Juice to create a list of lunchbox ideas to make packing lunches as easy as possible. 

Here are three of her favorite go-to lunches to pack for her kids:

  • Cheese & Salami Kabob + Crackers + Cucumbers + Yogurt + Juicy Juice 100% Juice, Berry
  • PB&J Sushi Rolls + Pretzels + Grapes + Juicy Juice 100% Juice, Fruit Punch
  • Pigs in a Blanket with Honey Mustard + Kiwi Slices + Popcorn + Juicy Juice 100% Juice, Strawberry Watermelon

“I think that variety is key, you know, keeping things interesting,” said Daly. “For instance, I have my salami and cheddar kabobs. So it’s kind of a fun take on cheese and crackers. My take on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is to make them into little sushi rolls, and then of course, pigs in a blanket are a huge favorite in my household.”

Daly said she typically plans out school lunches for a week at a time and usually makes them in the morning before school.

She admits it’s not always easy.

“Four kids, four different palates and eating styles. So you know, it seems like it’s never-ending, but I really like to ask my kids for advice because they have ideas. They find things that their friends like to eat, and if they are inspired by it, I find that they’re much more willing to eat what they open their lunch boxes to.”

She’s not afraid to pack different lunches for different kids.

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“I kind of have to tailor them just in order to ensure that they’re actually eating their lunches,” said Daly. “I mean, they’re all so different and my 10-year-old is the pickiest of them all. I try to keep it at least consistent ingredients, so it’s not all over the place, but you kind of have to cater to their palates.”

When possible, Daly gets her kids involved in the kitchen and in packing their lunches.

“They really do like to participate, especially my 13-year-old,” said Daly. “He’s definitely the most adventurous eater. I would say he really likes to cook, so he’s often in the kitchen with me.”

Growing up, Daly said she loved the cafeteria hot lunches or just a basic turkey and mayo sandwich.

“I was definitely a pickier eater as a kid. I’ve grown to love food as I grew up,” said Daly.

She says it’s okay if your child’s lunches aren’t Pinterest-perfect.

“As with anything, social media can put that kind of pressure on you,” said Daly. “But as long as you’re just staying true to what your kids love and what you know is healthy, nutritious, I think that you can kind of push that aside and just do the best you can, which is all we can ask of ourselves,” said Daly.

The advice she tries to take to heart:

“The other morning, my two-year-old wanted spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast that I had leftover, so I was like, ‘Fine,’” said Daly. “Sometimes, just pick your battles and go with the flow to get them out the door smiling.”

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Juicy Juice is offering parents the chance to win extra cash for school supplies or groceries with the “SIRIously Real Back-to-School Sweepstakes.” Four Grand Prize Winners will win $1,000 each. Forty additional winners will receive $100 each. For details on how to enter, go to https://juicyjuice.com/backtoschool.