Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School Lunches are Back....

It's school time again.  I can't believe it's already here.  If you're a parent, you know what I mean.  Waking at the crack of dawn to get everyone up, fed and moving out the door.  And finding time in between to fix the kids their daily school lunches.

This year, you might find yourself looking for some new inspiration in the school lunch department.  Maybe your kids are tired of the same old sandwich.  Or maybe you're tired of seeing your hard-made lunches continuously coming home half-eaten.

If this is you, check out my most recent article, "Fast, Fun and Nutritious School Lunches",  published last week in the Dallas Morning News.  I feature five easy and healthy meals - sure to be at the top of your kids' request list.. Here's a snippet:
You can feel it in the air – another exciting new school year is fast approaching.

For most of us, this means gearing up not only for class time but lunch time, as well. I’m talking new lunchboxes, new water bottles – and the never-ending job of trying to pack healthy and tasty lunches.

Break out of the rut and try one of the fast lunch ideas below, sure to be a hit with your kids. You’ll find them delicious, nutritious and a snap to make.

Easy Lunch Ideas
Pair any of these with fresh fruit and a beverage (kid-friendly water or low-fat milk), and your child will have a healthy lunch to keep him going all day long.

Hummus Dip
What kid doesn’t like to dip? Veggies with hummus are yummy, filling and full of heart-healthy fiber and brain-boosting vitamins. Scoop store-bought hummus (Sabra and Cedar’s are good ones) into a small container; pack strips of carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers and pita slices separately for a tasty Mediterranean meal.

PB with a Twist
Shake up that old PB&J routine with something new. Instead of jam, top PB on bread with slivered almonds, raisins or banana slices. Or try a different nut or seed butter (like almond and sunflower) instead of the old-standby. Drizzle with a bit of honey for just a touch of sweetness.

Read on for more recipes at the Dallas Morning News.

And don't forget that making the lunch is just half the battle - it needs to be eaten (and enjoyed), as well.  Be sure to scan my tips on making the lunch-making process at your house is successful - so everyone in the family remains happy and lunchboxes come home empty.


  1. Susan:
    Good tips! I can't tell you how much I hate making lunches and as a consequence both of my boys buy their lunch way too often and I know that's not good. If I think for half a second I can usually come up with some good alternatives for the child who will take a lunchbox that I can put a blue ice in. However, once my older one hit middle school (and certainly now in high school) lunch boxes are no longer cool (in more than one way!) so I struggle with what to put in his lunch that doesn't have to be kept cool. Any tips?? They get SICK of peanut butter sandwiches!

  2. Hey Debra,
    Here are some different things you can put in that can stay fine for a few hours:

    * sushi
    * cold pastas or noodles with veggies (leftovers are always good)
    * hot or cold drinkable foods that can be stored in an insulated thermos (soups, chili, hot pastas for hot; smoothies for cold)
    * Mediterranean lunches are always easy: hummus with veggies, tabouleah, pitas; these don't need refrigeration for long times
    * Veggie burgers with a good roll (skip the lettuce and tomato)

    Other tips:
    * If they don't like the lunchbag idea, they can put a cool bento box in their locker or backpack; this separates food and you can put it in a thermal holder to keep things hot or cold
    * If you really want something to stay cool (cheese, lunchmeats) try frozen grapes or a half-frozen small water bottle (like Ozarka) kept in a baggie next to their lunch or in the lunch container; keeps the food cold and they can consume it with their lunch
    * I find that older kids like non-sandwichy things: leftovers, cheese and crackers, slices of lunchmeats with cheese, trail mix, fruit, good bread, etc.
    * If you pack the lunch the night before, store it, bag and all, in the fridge. That will help keep it cooler longer the next day.

    But the biggest thing you can do? Have them put on your grocery list what they want each week, help you shop and help to pack it up each morning.

    Thanks for posting; hope some of these tips help! Susan