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Reader to Reader: Your Great School Lunch Recipes!

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Reader to Reader:  Your Great School Lunch Recipes!

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:

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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!

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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)

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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.

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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.

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Crunchy Fingers
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

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

11 comments

+ add your own
6:16AM PDT on May 8, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

11:01AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013

Some great ideas and yummy recipes.Thanks for sharing

1:27AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Some great ideas here. Thank you everbody. The swapped lunch sounds like fun.

7:45AM PDT on Aug 11, 2010

great tips everyone, thank you! i'm also a huge fan of putting any leftovers in wraps - makes last nights dinner a yummy and easy sandwich!

6:19AM PST on Feb 4, 2010

A god one:
French babybaguette sliced in the lenght,
Put some garlic-yoghurt Mayonaise in it, fill it with sliced Gouda cheese, red Paprika, roastet Sunflowerseeds, and salat of season...(best: Ruccola salad with a few drops of Lemon) if you like ad some thin sliced red onions and herbessalt ...yummieee! :-)

11:30AM PDT on May 29, 2009

Sandwhich idea:
lettuce, tomato,red onion, olive tapanade on wheat bread. Good as is or with a little vegan cream cheese to make it even more decadent.

11:25AM PDT on May 29, 2009

Oh and thinly sliced cucumber!

6:49AM PST on Jan 12, 2009

Just a word of caution: it is not recommended to freeze plastic bottles, as the plastic, at this temperature, leaches into the drink.

11:43AM PDT on Aug 23, 2007

I think when your a kid, there is something very appealing about eating a warm lunch from your thermos! Chili, soup, stew, pasta or your favorite leftovers from the night before are particularly comforting on a cold winter day. My kids love a surprise lunch in their thermos and I find many of these meals more nourishing than a typical sandwich! Buen Provecho!

6:22PM PDT on Aug 16, 2007

Here's another idea, my kids love wraps, and the favorite is: mix 2/3 mayo to 1/3 sour cream or yogurt, and add a little finely chopped chipotle pepper (I buy a can then jar it up in fridge). Spread a couple teaspoons on tortilla, add turkey and a little veg that you have handy, (red bell peppers sliced thin with green onions sliced lengthwise are good) and maybe a little grated cheese. Yumilicious!

Also, they like quesadillas, even cold. Buy the canned refried beans ranchero flavor, add a little cheese and salsa onto a tortilla, top with another tortilla and fry in dry pan. Cut up with scissors, much easier!

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