Friday, July 10, 2009

Sack Lunch Ideas

This list is geared toward kid lunches, but many of these work well for a hubby's lunch as well :)
  • Use pita bread or tortilla wraps in place of traditional sandwich bread. In addition to typical lunch meats and cheese, you can also include extra “goodies” like lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
  • Make kabobs with ham or turkey, cheese, mushrooms, olives, pickles, tomatoes, and other assorted veggies.
  • Salsa and chips will definitely be more interesting than a bag of regular chips. Or try cut-up veggies with ranch dressing or pretzels and cheese sauce.
  • Jell-O is almost always a hit, especially when it has been molded into fun shapes with a cookie cutter. Don’t forget to include a plastic spoon in the lunchbox!
  • Crunchy granola sweetened with raisins and/or chocolate chips are a great alternative to high-fat snacks. I personally prefer to buy mine already made at Chamberlains or Whole Foods, but there is an easy recipe below if you want to make yours from scratch.
  • Pack extra snacks if your child is in an after-school program so they will be properly fueled for school and play. Drinks and food generally do not retain a chilled state past 3-5 hours, so make sure they are non-perishable.
  • Make boring sandwiches suddenly appear interesting by cutting them out with cookie cutters. Bake small pizzas in a square shape. Add sauce, cheese, green pepper strips for X's, and Pepperoni for O's. This can be put in a square, plastic sandwich container and served cold. Pasta salad is another option. Use fun-shaped and colored pasta, such as small shells, wagon wheels, or ABCs.
  • Healthy snacks are just as important as nutritious lunches, so avoid prepackaged treats like cookies and candy. Instead opt for pretzels, graham or whole-wheat crackers, yogurt, cheese, sesame breadsticks, trail mix, rice cakes, applesauce, or pudding.
  • Remember to always include a cold pack in your child’s lunch for their cold food/drinks to avoid contamination. Or freeze water bottles or juice boxes the night before (they will thaw out by lunch time). You can always send milk in your child’s lunch if they drink it, but never include soda!
  • Tuck fun treasures in their lunch box like a funky pencil or eraser; throw in some fun stickers; or write a special note or little card to just say “I’m thinking about you today!” You could even jot down a silly joke to brighten their day and they can share with their friends. Slip in a colorful napkin to celebrate a special day such as a birthday or holiday.
  • Lunch doesn’t always have to come in the form of sandwiches. Pack healthy appetizers and finger foods or a cold pasta dish.

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