The worst part about returning to school is returning to the lunch time struggle. Every morning, we look through the pantry and refrigerator, trying to find something for the kids to bring to school. It doesn't help that my twins are picky eaters, and it seems like the only things they enjoy eating requires heating in a microwave.
We also don't have a lot of time in the morning to make elaborate meals. I've been spending the summer months rounding up some cool ideas for back-to-school.
Image: Steve Depolo via Flickr
Salad in a Jar
I am more than a little bit in love with the whole salad-in-a-jar thing. I first encountered it on Pinterest, and the pictures are always so pretty that they make me want to eat vegetables. Plus, you can pack a few at a time and have lunch set up for most of the week on Sunday night.
- How to Pack Your Salad: This post with 30 salad recipes also teaches you how to pack the salad so nothing gets soggy.
- Mason Jars 101: This post also has a lot of good advice for packing salads ahead of time as well as fun salad ideas.
- Greek Salads in a Jar: Easy Greek salads that you can grab and go.
- Spinach Apple Salad: I love this idea of combining fruits and vegetables into one salad.
Why would you ever buy Oodles of Noodles again when you can make your own noodle soups and salads and tailor them to your tastes?
- DIY Noodle Soups: A tutorial for making your own Oodles of Noodles.
- Asian Noodle Salad Jar: Pan-Asian inspired flavours in a single grab and go jar.
Lunchables are very convenient, but they're not really vegetarian-friendly. I've been hunting down DIY Lunchable recipes so they fit my childrens' palates.
- Pac Man: Totally cute Pac Man-themed lunch!
- Halloween Themed: Use Halloween cookie cutters to shape the bite-sized pieces into ghosts and bats.
- Winter Themed: Similarly, you can use snowflake cookie cutters on a peanut butter sandwich to give it a festive feel.
If I'm going to pull together a sandwich in the morning, it needs to be quick. These sandwiches can be prepped the night before and then slapped together quickly. They also look like they'll hold up well sitting in a lunch bag for a few hours.
- Green Sandwich: I love the idea of using mashed avocados as the spread. It really does sound like a salad on bread.
- Baked Pizza Sandwich: This looks really good, and if you make it the night before, it can come to room temperature in the lunch bag.
- Hummus Sandwich: This sandwich looks so pretty. It feels a little more festive than our usual plain, old peanut butter.
We don't have a peanut allergy in our house (knock on wood), but we've still been making our way through various nut butters including almond and soynut butter for a little variety.Breakfast for Lunch
When in a hurry, I've been known to throw a few pancakes in a bag and provide a little maple syrup in a container for dipping. Also good on the go? Leftover waffles and hard-boiled eggs.
What are some of your favourite creative things to pack in a school lunch?
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