I always swore I would never be one of those moms who cut the crusts off her kids’ sandwiches. Eat it, because they’ll make you hair curly (anyone else hear that growing up?). Besides, if you have a food hang-up, learn to handle it yourself. If you want the crusts off, YOU take them off.
So when Big Sis started first grade and began taking her lunch to school, I left the crusts on her pb&j. But every day that week, she’d come home crabby (low blood sugar?) with most of her lunch untouched…except for the sandwich.
It turns out that it took her so long to remove the crust of the sandwich herself that she didn’t have time to eat anything else (her lunch period is only a half-hour, including travel time)!
So I gave up on the crust battle, at least for school lunches. But I got tired of hand-trimming them with a knife. So rooted through my kitchen gadgets and found these great cookie cutters. They’re big (sandwich-sized), cute, and easy to clean (dishwasher-safe). Depending on the design (heart or flower), they keep most of the sandwich while leaving behind the soft, yummy middle.
I also hated taking time to make a sandwich every morning, so I stole an idea I read somewhere (sorry, no idea where!) and made and froze an entire loaf’s worth of sandwiches at a time. A pb&j assembly line: spread peanut butter, spread jelly, fold together, cut crusts off with cookie cutter, wrap in wax paper, insert into gallon-size zip-top freezer bag (about 8 sandwiches fit). She usually has a hot lunch at school about once a week, so one session buys me two weeks of sandwiches.
So now making lunch is a grab and toss affair: frozen sandwich (it defrosts by lunchtime), chips, fruit, and maybe something sweet (if she’s been good about eating her fruits & veggies). She buys chocolate milk at school.
Hey…so far, it works for me! I’ve never bought a box of Uncrustables yet! (But if you do, I can’t judge you, of course…it’s what works for YOU!)
UPDATE: March 2, 2011
Big Sis is now a fourth grader and Little Sis is a first grader. I’m STILL using this system every day. I’ve upgraded to organic bread, organic peanut butter and strawberry all-fruit spread, but the basic idea remains the same. Also, Mr. Hoagie hates that a cookie cutter removes so much edible sandwich, so lately I’ve just been cutting the sandwiches diagonally.
For more great ideas, check out We Are THAT Family.