This post comes courtesy of Alison Bickel, blogger at This Homemade Life.
The first day of school is creeping ever closer on the calendar. As our thoughts turn to that first day, school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes come to mind. Packing lunches can be a challenging chore on busy mornings when the kids are heading out the door. Here are a few ideas to make lunch packing a little more exciting than just your basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Sit down and brainstorm with your kids about what they would like to have for lunch; you might be surprised by their creativity. Make a list to put on the fridge for reference when you need new ideas.
When browsing the produce aisle, look for colorful fruits and vegetables, and talk with your kids about packing a rainbow of colorful options in their lunch boxes.
Try carrots sticks, edamame or red peppers sliced like matchsticks. Fill celery with cream cheese or peanut butter. Pack a small container of yogurt or ranch dressing for dipping to make fruits and vegetables more appealing.
Think beyond the usual sandwich
Whole wheat tortillas or lettuce wraps using romaine or butter lettuce leaves are a great way to go beyond the basic sandwich kids are used to. Fill them with everything from refried beans and cheese to their favorite sandwich fillings.
Try a kid-friendly pasta salad using carrots, red pepper, green onion and a splash of Italian dressing.
Even an old standby like peanut butter and jelly can be dressed up with fresh strawberries and bananas instead of the usual jelly (see the image at the top of this post).
Pack caramel popcorn or jazz up plain popcorn with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
Homemade cookies are always a special treat. Or make a trail mix with granola, adding chocolate chips and dried fruit.
Taking time to think a little outside the “lunch box” will make packing the midday meal less work and more fun for both you and the kids!
About the author: Alison lives in the heart of the midwest where, along with her husband, they raise their three boys. Whether it’s in the garden, the kitchen or tagging along on her boys’ latest adventure she looks for the simple beauty in everyday. On her blog, ‘this homemade life‘, Alison shares tales of mothering, her passion for vegetarian cooking and obsession with farmer’s markets.