Monday, August 30, 2010

Not Your Typical School Lunch

Sorry this one has taken a while, but it just has. ;)

I've been finding so much good stuff that I want to share it all with you guys.

And, by the by....can I just tell you all how much I love my containers? I mean, I am a container aficionado as it is, but this has just magnified my love of them. And, knocking on wood, thus far, they have all made it home.

My lunch ideas are somewhat complicated by the fact that one of Ally's best friends in the whole wide world is allergic to peanuts. Not allergic as in has an upset tummy if he eats them. He is allergic as in full blown anaphylaxis, epinephrine and trips to the ER allergic. So, being as they are sharing the same space almost constantly, everything I send with her is safe for him.

Makes it a little more challenging, since almost all prepackaged food is cross-contaminated.

I pack lunches the night ahead, put them in the fridge. My kids eat lunch early on in the day, but if yours have a long wait between leaving home and eating, throw an ice pack in to keep their stuff cold. I love, love, love the individual serving sized insulated containers...we use them all the time. They can keep food warm or cold.

Lunch gets boring. No one wants to take the same sandwich and apple every day, even kids.

Here are my lunch ideas so far....feel free to share more in the comments!

- Sandwich shape cutters- any sandwich is instantly more fun if it is shaped like a dinosaur or butterfly. I have lots of these, most of which are just cookie cutters. If you have a non-crust-eater like I do, all the better. This way you cut off the crust and make it fun all at the same time. I put the cut sandwiches in one container along with grapes or baby carrots.

- Pizza- quarter pita bread and fill a compartment container with sauce, cheese and other toppings. My kids LOVE this, one of the things they request all the time.

- Cereal - breakfast is more fun when it's not breakfast time. I send them to school with a larger container half full of cereal and have them buy milk in the cafeteria. I slice some bananas or strawberries and send them along.

- Waffles - toast frozen waffles (or make them homemade if you're particularly ambitious), send with sliced fruit, fruit syrup or peanut butter (if no allergies, of course)

- Dip - make dip and send with fun stuff to dip into. There are lots of variations on this. You could do homemade ranch and veggies, you could do fruit dip and apples, you could do hummus and pitas, you could do pretzels and peanut butter (assuming no allergies, of course).

- Finger Food - think outside the sandwich. Grapes, oyster crackers and cheese cubes work well, just send more than you'd normally put in for a snack. My kids are always excited to see these.

- Sandwich rolls - using a tortilla, roll up sliced lunch meat with flavored cream cheese and thinly sliced carrots and celery.

- Quesadillas - melt cheese in a tortilla, slice into wedges. Send with sour cream, salsa or guacamole.

- Sushi balls- Roll sticky rice, cucumber and artificial crab meat into balls, send with packet of soy sauce or a container of teriyaki sauce. If you are brave enough, roll em for real. ;)

- Grilled cheese and soup - make grilled cheese ahead and send with an insulated container of their favorite soup.

- Pasta Salad - toss some whole wheat pasta with peas, diced ham, Parmesan cheese and Italian dressing.

- Protein power - black beans and rice, add a little sour cream or salsa.

- Leftovers- yep, you are reading this right. I send leftovers to school with my kids ALL the time, and they love it. Chili, spaghetti, homemade chicken nuggets, you name it. If it is something that needs to stay warm, use an insulated container. Totally not kidding, Ashley gets excited when I send green beans with her.

I'll be posting recipes for homemade fruit leather and granola soon....snacks still to come!


  1. ok, I'm using these ideas for ME!

  2. You're so awesome. Jamie Oliver, you have competition dude.

    Thank you Kelly. Mine's really food-picky. If she got excited to see green beans in her lunch, I'd fall over. I have to improvise with V8 fruit/veggie juice (she loves). Love the tortilla mentions...tortilla pizzas I make with tomato paste and cheese then broil is a constant. Definitely going to attempt rolling.
    Anything insulated is awesome, I so agree! Keeping a couple ice packs on hand for extra temperature safety I find important as well.

    The cereal is awesome. We buy the individual variety packs as they come in a foil-type bag inside the little box. Get the milk as you say at school, pour the milk right in the cereal box/pouch.

    You can do no wrong with your Blog. Ooh, I see I need to re-follow now. Getting on it!


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