Saturday, September 12, 2015

10 School Lunch Ideas

At the beginning of the school year I am full of ideas to pack for school lunches, but after a few months into the school year they all seem to leak out of my brain and I can't think of anything but a peanut butter sandwich.  The biggest problem with that is my eldest child barely tolerates peanut butter sandwiches. So I have been taking pictures of my lunches thus far this year so I can post them and then when I no longer can think about lunch I can refer back to this. Hopefully this will help someone else as well. So here our are top 10 non peanut butter sandwiches lunches. (That's 2 weeks worth!)
1- Spinach wrap: This is probably the most time consuming, but it is easy to customize and is full of vegetables in a way my kids love to eat them.  Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a large tortilla (I like to buy the uncooked ones from costco and after they are cooked they are warm and the cream cheese spreads fairly easy.) Top that cream cheese with a layer of spinach and whatever other vegetables you want.  Julienned carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, avocado slices, bell peppers etc. You can also add a slice or 2 of lunch meat if you would like but we like it better without.  We also like to dip ours in a little bit of ranch dressing.
 2- Peanut butter dip.  This is a favorite.  I am sure you can use almond butter if you prefer.  I mix about 2 Tblsp cream cheese with 1/2 c peanut butter. Add around 1 tblsp honey (to taste) and milk to desired consistency. Then we dip carrots, celery, apples, bananas toast or crackers whatever sounds good to you.
 3- Refried bean dip and tortilla chips.  Again customize this to what your kids will eat: refried beans, cheese, cottage cheese, avocado or guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green onion. Basically a 7 layer dip.
4- Cucumber sandwich. My kids love these (I  think it's because when they were little this is what we would make when we had "tea parties")
 5- Peanut butter and honey popcorn.  This feels like a treat (and it kinda is.)  I pop fresh popcorn. Melt equal parts peanut butter and honey on stove top until combined and pour over popcorn.  The real treat is let it cool for a few minutes then sprinkle with dark chocolate chips.
 6- Homemade lunchables. So much cheaper and healthier.
 7- A muffin, some yogurt sprinkled with fruit (fresh or frozen) and some of my homemade granola to top off the yogurt. My kids said this was the best lunch ever.
 8- A basic pasta salad.  So I kinda made this up but it feels so basic I am sure someone else has too.  When I was talking with someone one day about lunches they mentioned their kids loved when they made some pasta and stirred some butter and Parmesan into it.  I stepped it up a notch or two. I mixed olive oil with panko and tossed them in the microwave for 1 min. Then added parmesan cheese and italian seasoning. and tossed that with the pasta.  Then I chopped up a bunch of veggies and tossed them in too, tomatoes, spinach and julienned carrots.
 9- Basic green salad. I meant to hard boil an egg, chop it up and toss on top for an extra punch of protein but the morning got away from me...
 10- And basic butter popcorn.  The kids still love it.

I hope some of these help you out and I would LOVE to hear some of your favorite suggestions.