Friday, September 18, 2009

Back to School: Thinking Outside the lunch box....

I found some great back to school lunch ideas and tips at , thought I'd share!

School Lunches: Thinking Outside the Lunch Box

By:   Allrecipes Staff
If your kids think a homemade school lunch is boredom in a box, it's time to start treating it like a daily picnic.
Here's the challenge: you want to provide nourishing lunches and the kids would rather play than eat. Or worse, they trade your lovingly-packed meal for a sugary cupcake. What's a parent to do?

Get the Kids Involved

  • Let the kids play with their food: dipping fruit, vegetables, crackers, or bread in sauces; assembling bite-size cheese and cracker sandwiches; or making tiny fruit kabobs on toothpicks.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables small and easy to eat: grapes, cherries, small plums, blueberries, melon cubes, baby carrots, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips and lightly steamed or blanched broccoli florets.
  • Get them involved with planning and making lunches because they're more likely to eat it if they helped pack it. After all, you won't be there to lay down the "three more bites before you can leave the table" law.

Variety is the Spice of Lunch

  • Include enough range to keep your kids from getting bored, but don't be surprised if they settle on a few favorites and request them week after week. Kids like to have a few familiar, comforting things nearby when they are away from home.
  • Give them some choices from each food group, and allow them to mix and match for a nutritionally balanced lunch.
  • Beyond sliced bread, try crackers, pita bread, naan, corn bread, English muffins, tortillas, baked tortilla chips, mini bagels, or lettuce wraps.
  • For protein, there's good ol' peanut butter, but the kids might also enjoy hummus, bean dip, sliced cheese, yogurt, cold cuts, tuna salad, pasta salad, egg salad, or a thermos full of chili.
  • When serving tuna, egg, chicken, or pasta salad, mix in shredded carrots, apples, zucchini, bell peppers, raisins, nuts--anything to add nutrition and fiber without adding lots of empty calories.

Lunch Tips

  • About food safety: lightweight, freezable cold packs or frozen juice boxes enable you to send the kids to school with perishables such as pasta salad, egg salad, meat sandwiches, yogurt, tuna, etc.
  • Get your kids into the habit of washing their hands before eating. Include antibacterial hand wipes if that's what it takes.
  • Make lunches the night before to ease the morning rush out the door.
  • Reusable lunchboxes are earth-friendly and save the expense of brown bags, but be sure to wash them out frequently.
  • You've heard this one before, but a little note from you tucked into a lunch once in a while is a comfort. Keep notes small enough so kids don't have to haul out a long, loving letter from home in front of the rest of the lunchroom.
  • When you pack nutritious lunches you know your kids will love, you might even feel okay about slipping a cookie or a brownie into the bag!
Great Recipes form Allrecipes:

Awesome Turkey Sandwich
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise(light)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 3 slices smoked turkey breast
  • 2 tablespoons guacamole
  • 1/2 cup mixed salad greens
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 3 ounces Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
  • 2 slices tomato
Spread mayonnaise on one slice of toast, then spread mustard on the other. Arrange the sliced turkey on one side. Spread guacamole over the turkey. Pile on the salad greens, bean sprouts, avocado and cheese. Finish with tomato slices, then place the remaining slice of toast on top.

Another for pickle lovers like my kids:
Pickle Rolls 
SUBMITTED BY: Michelle Bovenkamp

  • 1 (32 ounce) jar dill pickles
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound sliced ham
  • 10 (6 inch) flour tortillas
 Spread cream cheese on one side of a tortilla. Place a slice or two of ham over this. Spread another layer of cream cheese over the ham. Roll a pickle up in the tortilla and slice the roll into finger food-sized pieces. Refrigerate the rolls if you aren't serving them immediately.
 *Alternately in my family sometimes we will replace bologna(usually the light all beef kind) instead of ham.*

For "Going Green" lunch container ideas please visit my Tupperware HomePage

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