Beat the Lunch Box Blues

It seems like I always fall into a rut when it comes to packing lunches for the kids. It’s so important to me that they eat what I pack and that it’s healthy enough to keep their little brains charged for the remainder of the day. I like to get their input and for the most part, I let them choose. I’ve decided that this year, they are going to sit down with me on grocery shopping day and go through this list and make out their lunch menu for that week. This will give me the heads up on what to buy and being the meal planner that I am, hopefully eliminate the lunch box stress. 

If your child is in a peanut free school or has a peanut allergy, you’ll be pleased to see that only one of these contains peanuts. I’ve been there and know it can even more challenging.

Bean Burritos – This was the number one favorite at our house last year. I spread beans on a flour tortilla and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I then sprinkle shredded cheddar and spread sour cream on it. I fold it and wrapp it in tin-foil. The tin-foil keeps it warm until lunch time.

Pasta Salad – We love the veggie pasta, Wacky Mac. My kids eat it plain – hot or cold. You can easily add shredded carrots and parmesan cheese to dress it up.

Chef Salad – We love salad and the variations on this are endless. With a side of ranch dressing, my kids will eat almost anything.

Deli Rolls – This is just “deli” food, such as ham, turkey, cheese, etc rolled up. You can use toothpicks to secure them and put a little mustard for dipping.

Homemade “Lunchables” – Have you ever seen the little box of “lunchables” that you can buy already done for you in the store? These are fun, easy and much less expensive to make yourself. You can do any cracker, cheese, and lunch meat combo or crackers, pepperoni, and mozzarella. Use the pre-made ones for ideas.

Boiled Eggs

Tuna Salad – My youngest goes in and out of phases where this is all she will eat for lunch. I make mine with a little mayonnaise and dill pickle relish. I pack the bread separate and let her make it herself, so it doesn’t get soggy.

Egg Salad – I make my egg salad the exact same way as my tuna, only with hard boiled eggs.

Chicken Salad – Shocker, chicken salad is made the same way as the other two. I boil my chicken and run it through my food processor.

Peanut Butter and Sprinkles – You can only imagine what a huge hit this is. I do peanut butter and the decorative nonpareils. They are actually much lower in sugar than jelly. 

Chili – This only works if you have a container to keep it warm. During the school year, we double our chili and freeze it in individual servings for lunch. I take it out the night before and heat it in the morning.

Black beans and rice – This needs a heat retaining container as well. I heat a can of black beans and mix it with cooked rice. They like a little Monterey jack cheese on top and sometimes sour cream.

Chicken nuggets – I buy the white meat nuggets. Tin foil keeps these warm until lunch time.

Bagel and cream cheese

Bagel pizza – Tin foil keeps these warm as well. I toast the bagel, spread a little sauce, and sprinkle a little cheese on top. Then I put in the microwave for about 15 seconds. You can also add pepperoni or anything else.

Cheese Quesadillas – My kids like a side of sour cream mixed with a little bit of salsa for dipping.

Pita Bread and Hummus – my kids really love the red pepper hummus.

Sides – these are items we’ve found that are easy to pack, don’t mash easily and go well with the above mentioned items.

String cheese
 
Applesauce
 
Dill pickle spears
 
Granola bars
 
Goldfish
 
Pretzels
 
Apple slices
 
Baby carrots

Grapes

Grape tomatoes

Trail Mix

Dawn Billesbach
Creator and Founder of Menufortheweek.com

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