School Lunch Makeovers
My mother lovingly packed a peanut butter sandwich (sans jelly) for me and my sister in our school lunch boxes every single day of school (every. single. day). And if it was good enough for us it should be good enough for my kids! But… my 4 children seem to get rather bored with this lunch (which includes, a fruit, something crunchy and the occasional treat), which means I often unpack their lunch bags at the end of the school day to find half of it has gone uneaten. Time for a lunch box makeover! Jazz up school lunches this year with some rather inspiring ideas.
Here are 10 Ways to Spice Up School Lunch Box Meals
- I can’t let go of the peanut butter just yet, so change it up by spreading peanut butter and jelly on a whole wheat tortilla and rolling it up for a twist on the classic.
- If you still want to stick with a sandwich as the main course in your child’s lunch box – the easiest way to make it more appealing is to cut it into entertaining shapes – I am not skilled at doing this freehand, so I use a cookie cutter. (I have also seen sandwich shape cutters on sale at a lot of local stores recently).
- Packaging can make a big difference – if it comes in a nicer package, they are more likely to eat it. These bento lunch boxes from Laptop Lunches come in bright and cheerful colors and I need them in my life. Their website also has menu ideas.
- Savory muffins are a fun twist and don’t have to be served warm. I use boxed banana bread mix and grate in zucchini, squash and carrots to make muffins, and they are delicious served cold (if you have the time, by all means make the muffins from scratch – add in some ground flax seed for an extra health kick). You could also make mini meat loafs in a muffin tin, or chicken pot pies… the list is endless. Easy to prep, bake and freeze.
- Sticking with the muffin theme, how about these delicious egg cups from Foodie Crush made in a muffin tin? These were a huge hit in my home for Christmas morning (and beyond) and they can be prepped the night before.
- Smoothies are also a great way to get more nutrients in a lunch without a lot of extra work – just make sure the container you pack them in has a tight seal!
- Three of my children prefer fruit to vegetables so rather than pack carrot and celery sticks I know they won’t eat, I spread cream cheese on a tortilla (or you could use a bagel) and fill it with slices of their favorite fruits – strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, etc.
- If you don’t feel good about putting unhealthy bags of chips in your child’s lunch, than make your own at home – slice pita bread into tiny triangles, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until crunchy. Or these healthy zucchini chips from Vittles and Bites are also delicious.
- Pasta salad is another great option – especially if your kids will eat any veggies you sneak in the mix. Add in chopped up deli meat for protein. Even though you’d be using an ice pack, it’s still best to stick with an oil-based dressing versus a mayonnaise-based dressing.
- And don’t forget to drop a note in their lunch to let them know you are thinking about them during the school day. Here are some great free printable lunch box notes. It’s Written on the Walls has 8 pages of printable lunch box notes that are sure to make your little one smile when they open their lunch. *Since these are so colorful (read: use a TON of printer ink), print them in black or grayscale and have the kids color them those last few looooonnnnng days before school starts. These notes from Buttoned Up were my favorite last year. And more great selections from Make and Takes and Tip Junkie.
Have a great school year!
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