Hello my lunch-packing friends,
It's time for Part 2 of Our Back to School Lunch Series.
Can you think outside the sandwich for a moment? If so, read on; we'll get to sandwiches at the end.
Think of lunch in 3 parts: you've got the entree--something that has protein and carbs of some sort, then you've got the fruits and/or veggies. For a visual, think about this--the fruit and veggies should take up half the "plate."
You can also mix it up--putting the protein, veggies, fruit and carbs all together. Visualize this: spinach salad with chicken & mango salad wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla.
Below is a 10 day menu for your favorite brown-bagger--and it doesn't have to be a kid!
Meatless Monday: Bean burrito with grated cheese, avocado and cilantro. Try black beans for a change. On the side--a container of salsa and fat-free sour cream or plain greek yogurt and some baked blue tortilla chips. (yep-salsa counts as a veggie!) For dessert: mango slices or peach fruit cup.
Tuesday: Chili con carne in a thermos. On the side: grated light cheddar, baby carrots. For dessert: tapioca pudding cup.
Wednesday: S'more Lunch: Graham cracker, peanut butter (sunflower butter for allergy-free zones) and banana sandwiches with mini chocolate chips. On the side: Yogurt tube
Thursday: Deli wrap: Put your fav deli meat with a slice of low fat American cheese or grated mozzarella into a wrap with favorite condiments. Slip in some thinly sliced red or yellow peppers and a few sliced olives. On the side: apple slices
Fishy Friday: Mix canned salmon (remove the skin) with light cream cheese, dill and garlic powder in the blender or food processor. Spread on: bread, crackers, celery, etc. On the side: cucumber slices with lime, fresh pear.
Meatless Monday: Dippin Lunch: Hummus with whole grain pita triangles, celery, cucumber and carrot sticks for dipping. Dessert; frozen melon balls.
Tuesday: Lettuce wraps with roast beef: Using leftover or deli roast beef wrap lettuce around it and cucumber strips.
Wednesday: Chicken & rice salad: Using leftover chicken, and rice (you can also use leftover barley, quinoa or bulgar), add dried cranberries or raisins and chopped red pepper and julienne carrots. Add a little vinaigrette.
Above are lots of sandwich-free ideas. What if you or kid still loves a good sandwich? No problem...just don't forget to add the fruits and veggies to go with!
The trick with sandwiches, is how to make them different day after day:
1. Make them into finger sandwiches, which are especially great for kids of all ages who don't like the crust.
2. Cut them into cute shapes using a cookie cutter.
3. Use different colored bread: brown & white for example
4. Use different kinds of bread: French bread, whole grain bread, raisin bread. There's a bread that works well with every filling.
5. Add unexpected ingredients. I've seen corn added to sandwiches before! If you can get a whole of fresh herbs, a little fresh parsley or basil adds a nice touch to sandwiches.
Above all, follow the golden rule for a lunch that your kid won't toss or trade: Get him involved in the process. At the store, or when making the grocery list. Ask him what he wants for lunch. Let him help put the lunch together. And don't things in his lunch that he won't eat at home--there is probably a smaller chance he will eat it at school (unless of course all of his friends are eating it!)