I love a fancy bento box (I wish someone would make one for me), they look so great. And I’m sure every kid who is lucky enough to get a pinterest worthy lunch everyday is jumping up and down excited to eat their lunch. I really wish I was bento box savvy lunch packer, I mean the kids lunch boxes have separators like a bento box but I don’t think I pack it fancy or very creatively. We often use a thermos for warm meals, but that also often doesn’t get eaten because it takes more work to open and my kids would rather just talk instead of doing that. So I send them with things I know they will eat (or will eat, since Harlow starts tomorrow – alll the tears), healthy things. Here are 5 of our go-to sandwich (or sandwich like) lunch ideas and a list of go-to items the kids love for sides.
It really just rolls off your tongue doesn’t it? “I want a BLAT, for lunch!” . But whatever, it’s good and I didn’t make it up. Bacon, Lettuce (I sub spinach in, cause it’s better), Tomato (very thinly sliced for my kids), Avocado and Vegenaise. It’s a real winner around here and take no time. Trick is, to keep a few slices of bacon from a weekend breakfast and put them aside (that’s the hard part). And make the sandwich that morning or the avocado will get all BLAT like.
Nuts are a big no-no in our school and probably in yours too. Peanut butter and Jam sandwiches are basically a kids lunchtime dream and mom’s too, so easy. But we found a safe school friendly substitute, Sunbutter. It’s made from Sunflower seeds, no nuts at all. I always include a little note, informing the lunch room supervisor that it’s sunbutter and it’s nut free – because it looks like nut butter and they might rush my kid off to eat in the office if they think it is. Sunbutter, sliced bananas, and drizzed raw honey. *there is also something called Wowbutter, made from soy – but we try to eat as little soy as possible around here, other than tofu every once in a while.
Some of the lunches that get five stars, especially from King are the ones that are interactive. No they don’t move, ewww gross. But ones he has to build or take apart to eat. Cracker sandwiches are a big hit, all you need to do is send a stack of crackers, cut up slices of cheese, a veggie of choice and a sliced meat – they build and eat at lunch time. Crackers, cheese slices, spinach leafs and roast turkey.
Sorta like a sub in for peanut butter and jam. Cream cheese acts as the protein and sliced fresh strawberries as the jam, basically it’s sorta the same just way better. My kids prefer it in a wrap, they say it’s like sushi (but it only takes 1 min to prepare). Tortilla wrap, sliced strawberries and cream cheese.
These are a huge hit. I have been letting them kids choose their ingredients, (usually whatever we have in the fridge), and then they make them for supper one night (key word, they). We a ton and either freeze the leftovers or put the in the fridge and use them for lunches that week. I fully planned to always make my own pizza dough for this, but found these mini pitas at the grocery store and we use pasta sauce, because we usually have some of that leftover in the fridge too. Mini pita, pizza or pasta sauce, chopped veggies, and maybe chopped meat and cheeeeese.
When it comes to lunches, low prep is always a good idea in my books. I often do a small batch of healthy baking each week, so the kids have cookies or muffins in their lunches (these banana oatmeal cups are a great go-to) – again trying to make a lot and freezing. These are our go-to’s for the main portion of the lunch, but I often pack leftovers from our meal the night before depending on what it was. These black bean quesadillas are usually a hit and Quinoa Fried Rice (when I’m feeling like risking the thermos).
As far as sides, I usually pick 3 or 4. Something carby, something sweet, something veggie or fruit and something with more protein (I try to shoot for balance, try):
- hardboiled eggs
- cucumbers, baby carrots, sliced peppers, broccoli, sugar snaps, spinach leaves
- seaweed snack or kale chips
- nut free bar (if there is a sale)
- cheddar bunnies
- dried mango slices
- fruit of seasonal choice
- cookies or muffin
- raisins, dried cranberries, maybe a prune (my kids love them) and some seeds
- ants on a long (sunbutter, celery and rasins)
- babybel cheese wheels
- healthy chips or popcorn
Do you have a great go to lunch idea? Please share!