When I was a kid, I didn’t always love lunchtime. My dad had a habit of getting bread with nuts in it, slapping on a piece of meat and too much mayo. By the time lunch came around the sandwich was a gross mess with gray lettuce.
More often than not, it got tossed in the trash. Even if that meant I went hungry.
I have a very real aversion to mayo which I am convinced is related to those sandwiches.
Now that I’m a parent and in charge of lunches I want my kids to not just eat their lunch but to enjoy it. With all of our special requirements, making lunches can sometimes be a challenge but I like to use it as an opportunity to think outside the box and make fun meals.
There are so many options that don’t include bread, meat and mayo.
Our lunches have a basic format that includes:
- Fresh Veggies: I always include more than one veggie. It may be sliced Persian cucumbers, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, mini peppers, raw broccoli, and even salad. Yes, my kids actually ask for salad for lunch! (Insider Tip: For kids who aren’t veggie fans including a dipping sauce (mustard, BBQ sauce, dressing) can make veggies fun.)
- Fresh Fruit: I don’t shy away from fruit although I know it’s sugar. I still think fruit has many health benefits and it’s an easy snack.
- Main Dish: Sandwiches are played out. Instead, we have wraps with lunch meat (organic meat in lettuce or kale), or shredded chicken over sauteed veggies. Sometimes we have deconstructed nachos with meat over veggies, and use crispy veggies as “chips”. Organic grass-fed beef hot dogs are always a winner. So is spaghetti with zoodles (zucchini for noodles) or quinoa noodles. While it’s not always super warm come lunchtime the kids don’t seem to mind one bit.
- A Treat: I always include a treat. It’s usually something like a Cliff’s Fruit Rope, or dried fruit with allergen free chocolate chips, or a homemade trail mix for the allergy-free kids.
- An Extra Snack: I admit it. I’m guilty of over packing. Not just for trips but for lunch too. I often pack an extra snack or two just in case. That way I know my kids won’t be hungry. Snacks include SeaSnax and freeze dried fruit (yes, I know, more sugar!). Brother and Stari can have chips or crackers
I try to pack the night before so I don’t have to stress out in the morning rush. I usually make lunches while dinner is cooking since I’m already in the kitchen and it saves time.
What is your favorite thing to pack for your kids for lunch?