Back to School Part 2 - Lunches

As a child it was always somewhat exciting to open my lunch box and see what my parents had packed for the day. I especially loved personalized touches or finding notes tucked away. My Dad would pack my lunch every Sunday night, so on Monday everyone knew to sit near me as he packed enough for the entire class and usually included a variety of desserts.

My idea for this Friday's segment is to give a few examples of simple Lunches to prepare that are easy but will bring some excitement to your kiddo's lunchbox. 

lunchbox

First thing first, the container. As a kid, it is fun to pick out your lunch box for the year- and now there are some many useful inserts to help parents prepare meals in advance and add to. Pictured above is a Bento Box that I found at HomeGoods. It has a top and bottom container and the lid includes flatware.  At $3.99, purchase enough for a week and make your meals in advance. Colored cupcake liners are a fun way to make your own dividers in tupperware containers and can be thrown out. The Princess lunchbox pictures above is perfect for my 2 year olds lunches but would probably not suffice for grade school kiddos. I love this Blog post for ideas on Lunchbox Supplies & Tools.

turkeywrap

The first lunch idea is a Pinwheel sandwich. For this you can add as much or as little as you (or your kids) would like.

Start with a tortilla, speed on Whipped Cream Cheese. I like to whipped because it speeds easier. This is a great activity for your child to help with, give her a butter knife and let them spread the cheese all over the tortilla. If you are making a few wraps to take you through the week, make it a race who can finish 2 tortillas first? Next layer on the spinach & turkey. Add veggies too! Roll the tortilla tightly and then slice into separate rolls. It's a good idea to clean the knife between cuts. Serve the rolls in cupcake liner. Add a toothpick with a sticker attached at the end.

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As a child I loved Lunchables, as a parent I cringe reading the label. First off the Sodium content is off the charts. The meat is over processed and the bread options are often White flour. The biggest gripe is the waste of all the packing, the box the wrappers, the tray. Why not make your own and reuse the containers.

Let the kiddos pick out their favorite cookie cutters and put them to work cutting out your choice of meat and cheeses. Again you have control of the type of crackers and bread you pack- a good wholegrain cracker or Brown Rice Cake would pair nicely.

Pack it with a side of Carrots and Hummus, Grapes, Snap peas or Cherry tomatoes.

The last Back to School Idea is creating customize Trail Mix. Make your own Granola and while the it's baking, have your child help measure out all the add ins to each bag. Add custom notes to each bag and they are a ready to go snack or lunchbox treat that is a no-brainer.

Homemade Granola Recipe

 4 cups rolled oats 

1 cup wheat germ 

1 cup sunflower seeds 

1/3 cup melted butter 

1/3 cup honey 

2 tsp. cinnamon 

*Trail mix add-ins (pretzels, Raisels, raisins, dried fruit, m&m's)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

2. Place margarine in micro-wave safe bowl and cover with a paper towel. Heat butter on medium power for 30 seconds or until melted. 

3. Place butter and honey in large bowl and whisk to combine. 

4. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. 

5. Spread out on a cookie sheet. 

6. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 

7. Store in airtight container. Makes 6 cups. 

 *If making a trail mix you might try any combination of these add-ins: nuts, pretzels, banana chips, raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, tiny graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate chips, or M&M’s. 

**Place your custom trail mix into a zipper baggie and design a label to place on the front of the bag. Think of a clever name for your mix! Make sure your label will catch someone’s eye when they see it on the Pantry shelf!