Your generosity in sending me so many fun and creative ideas for school lunches was touching.
It is clear that many of us share both the feeling of stress in needing to come up with inviting lunches to send to school with our children, and the thoughtfulness and caring evidenced by the ideas we do have.
Here is a nice big long list of ideas and recipes:
Try this: Instead of sandwiches, use half-pita breads stuffed with whatever will keep and will nourish the consumer. Avoid things that are too watery, as they will soak into and make fragile the pita. Wrap tightly in cellophane wrap. This works well for both hot and cold foods, and the pita itself can be warmed/toasted for a different texture. Of course, falafel is the classic filling, but salad will work just fine, as will mixed veggies with cheese or without. Instead of alfalfa sprouts, which may be toxic, try exotic kinds of lettuce or other greens, such as spinach. Bon appetit!
My daughter’s favorite lunch is a “turkey roll.” Lay a 6-inch flour tortilla flat, place a slice of provolone cheese near one edge, lay a slice of turkey on top of the cheese, spread a little (half- to one teaspoon) of sour cream on the turkey, and sprinkle a little salsa (again, maybe a teaspoon) on it. Roll up the tortilla (too much sour cream & salsa makes it messy). (Related: Veggie Black Bean Pinwheels)
My daughter has a Japanese-style lunchbox, it measures about 3 x 5 x 1 inches. I cut her turkey roll in half, place the two halves in the box, and put some grapes or cheese crackers in the box also, and they keep the turkey rolls from having enough room to come unrolled. To drink, she either takes a Horizon single serve chocolate milk or a lemonade.
Half-frozen lemonade: I reuse 8 oz plastic drink bottles by filling them halfway with lemonade, capping the bottle, lay the bottles on their sides in the freezer overnight. In the morning, fill the bottle with more lemonade from the refrigerator. This keeps the lunch cool, and thaws enough by lunchtime to drink.
I have a preschooler and a first grader. This isn’t even a recipe — I make popcorn before school and put in zip lock bags for a healthy snack! They love it and don’t feel deprived at all — they think they’re getting a special treat! Since I work until 1 AM and have to get them up at 6:30, microwave popcorn has also been an emergency breakfast more than once.
2 cups toasted oat flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 slices oatmeal or whole wheat bread, toasted and cut into 1-inch strips
1. Place toasted oat flakes in a sealable plastic bag, crush with a rolling pin, and pour onto wax paper.
2. In a medium saucepan, over low heat, combine peanut butter and vegetable oil until easy to stir, transfer to a shallow bowl.
3. Dip each toast strip into the melted peanut butter and coat completely. Roll each strip in crushed oat flakes until no peanut butter shows. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 16…Preparation time: 10 minutes