Monday, August 17, 2009

School lunches to get excited about.

School lunches have come a long way since I was growing up. Literally, you got a sandwich, a piece of fruit and some chips or a snack cake. Everyone’s lunches were the same and the only reason to trade was if you wanted ham and someone else wanted your PB & J.

There is simply no reason for lunches to be boring, although it is a complaint I hear a lot.

A couple of things to keep in mind when you are making the lunches: do you have the proper containers to keep the food hot or cold as needed? Is there an accessible microwave? Is there a good balance/variety

I like to make bento for the girls when I have the time; everyone thinks these are amazing and somehow food that is presented attractively seems to taste better.

I will be doing a series of posts on bento including a v-log, but in the meantime here are some simple things that you can do that take very little time or trouble and make your child’s lunches stand out.

Vary up the bread; sliced bread is great, of course, but how much more fun if your sandwich is in a pocket (pita) or rolled up in a tortilla? There is a vast array of rolls for you to choose from as well. Salads are a nice, refreshing change and there is such a wide variety to choose from that you could eat a different type every day for a month without repeating.

A simple wide-mouthed Thermos is under $10 and will keep soup, stew, chili and the like hot until lunchtime

I will leave you with a sampling of a (school) week’s worth of lunches to give you some ideas:

flour tortilla spread with cranberry mustard and cream cheese, turkey, Swiss cheese, organic baby spinach and chopped tomato.
Carrot and cucumber spears with low fat ranch dressing/dip.
100 calorie snack cake
Raspberry lemonade

Chef salad with field greens, sliced hard boiled egg, diced ham, shredded cheese, grape or cherry tomatoes, and any other veggies you like, choice of dressing.
Oatmeal Craisin cookies
Iced water with raspberries

Bagel with cream cheese (mix in a little bit of jelly if desired)
Cantaloupe & grapes
Sun Chips

Lettuce wraps with chicken salad made with diced apples, Craisins, celery and pecans with enough mayo to bind.
Whole wheat roll with honey butter
String cheese or Baby Bel wheel, celery and carrot sticks
Pink Lemonade

Corn muffins made up with diced ham and shredded cheese (I use the Jiffy mix).
Pasta salad with veggies and Italian dressing
Yogurt parfait made with granola and fresh (or frozen) berries
Iced green tea with mint and lemon

What are your lunchbox challenges? I’d be delighted to help you out if you have any questions or comments or need some more ideas.

For your chance to win some great back-to-school giveaways including a couple of lunchboxes and study break snacks check out the current giveaways listed here.


Posted by Sherry of Loon-atics In The Kitchen

Featured Weekly on Pink Lemonade Online Magazine


jennymartin116 said...

Wow--how do you get your kids to eat some of these daughter lives on her PB&J...and an occassional turkey and cheese sandwich! That is my biggest issue--getting her to try new things!

Pink Lemonade Liz said...


My Little Miss Lauren is definitely the world's pickiest kid (she doesn't even like peanut butter!).

Because of your great article I've been checking out all the cool things you can do with a Bento lunch - She and I have been researching different lunches (go to flickr & type in "kid's bento box lunches" - there are so many cute ones!)... and she's actually agreed to try to eat lunches like the ones we saw! (I'm so excited that she might actually eat a piece of fruit or a veggie that I can hardly contain myself!).

I found this totally cute site:
that has soooo many cute bento items (tons of hello kitty!) everything from picks to boxes!

As soon as I can talk myself into the $18 shipping charges from Japan, I'm going to order a whole boxful of goodies (I soooo love the egg molds!!).

Thanks for the awesome article AND the inspiration for me to help my kiddos eat healthier!

Pink Lemonade Liz said...

Oh Sherry...

Why... oh, why.... did you get me started on this Bento thing?

$100 later and tons of cute little picks, dividers and molds are at the ready...(yes, I did send Mr. Pink Lemonade a fish-shaped hard-boiled egg in his lunch the other day!) - he said the other Teachers at work think I'm weird ;-)

I'm prepared for the 1st day of school on Monday - of course she won't need lunch until Thursday as the first few days are minmum ones.

We'll see just how much food actually gets eaten with those tiny little forks and sauced with those itsy-bitsy little fish bottles... time will tell....

I can now officially say I'm obsessed as I will figure out how to make a piggy-shaped rice ball before fall hits the calendar.

Thanks.... I think... :-)

- Liz