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Monday, September 12, 2011

Bring It, Lunch!

Anyone tired of fixing lunches yet?!  If your kids are in preschool you could be fixing, on average 108 lunches per year.  If your kids are elementary or beyond you could be fixing well over 150 lunches this year!  Surely this task will not be the end of us.  I have gathered some of the best lunch/snack ideas I could find so you can really stick it to that lunchbox.  If you have more ideas send them my way!

*recipes below

It's time to think outside the box and outside the bread for that matter.  There are plenty of options, besides a loaf of bread to whip up a great sandwich.  Here are some options for the outside layers:

  • sliced, cored apples filled with peanut butter and raisin (any peanut butter suggestion can be replaced with sun butter)
  • whole grain english muffins (endless filling options)
  • *whole grain tortillas (use as a roll-up like the pear suggestion below)
  • graham crackers
  • thick slices of cheese (think...turkey in the middle of two large slices)
  • cinnamon raisin bagels (or any flavor!) with cream cheese or peanut butter
  • crescent rolls (filled with *meat, cheese, or veggies.  Think...homemade "hot pocket")
  • cucumbers filled with cream cheese and turkey, pimento cheese, or hummus (mini sandwiches)
  • whole grain waffles (filled with peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, cream cheese, or Nutella)
  • lettuce wraps (fill Boston Bib lettuce cups with tuna salad, shredded turkey or *chicken salad.  Toss in some fruit like diced grapes, dried cranberries, or mandarin oranges)
  • pita pockets with egg salad

For non-sandwich eaters:
Some kids don't go for a good ole PB&J, so here are some main courses that skip the sandwiches:

  • kabobs (intermix fruit, cheese, and turkey chunks)
  • veggie plate (slice their favorite veggies like carrots, celery, and peppers.  Send with a small container of low fat dressing, hummus or peanut butter)
  • granola bars (Luna, Nutri Grain, Nature Valley)
  • cheese stick (for an easy, quick lunch roll a couple of pieces of turkey around a cheese stick.  Secure with a toothpick if children are old enough to not hurt themselves with it)
  • pita triangles with hummus or tazitki dipping sauce
  • *chick pea salad (for the more adventurous eaters)
  • blue corn tortilla chips and salsa for dipping (again for the adventurous eaters)
  • soup (chicken noodle, vegetable, and orzo)
  • muffins (blueberry, cranberry orange, cinnamon, or one of these *home made varieties etc.)

Served on the side:
To make sure their bellies are full you will also need to side acts.  All of these snacks can be pre-assembled for quick grab in the morning:

  • home made snack mix:  fill individual bags with pretzels, dried cranberries or raisins, mulit-grain Cheerios, and whole grain Goldfish)
  • banana, pears, oranges, apples, etc.
  • baby carrots, celery sticks, sliced peppers, etc.
  • Pirate's Booty popcorn
  • Rold Gold Cinnamon Raisin pretzel rods (other flavors too)
  • apple sauce (squeeze pouches are convenient and come in other flavors as well)
  • yogurt
  • Chex Mix
  • Veggie Stix
  • Caramel Apple rice cakes (other flavors as well)
  • real fruit strips (like Archer Farms brand at Target)

When you need to grab something to go or just need something to fill up the kids between meals, check out this list from Real Simple (there is also an additional list in this month's issue with even more great, new snack suggestions):

Here are the recipes with a (*) above:

Pear Pinwheels 
pear roll ups


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