Here in Miami we send a lot of edamame‘s for snacks and lunch… the kids love to pop them out, dunk them in a favorite dressing (my daughter likes carrot/ginger) and they are easy. Also, a great side for the lunch bag is jicama with a squeeze of lime and a teeny pinch of celtic salt if desired…we also use veggie booty for a side, dip with veggies, and the healthy version of the traditional lunch items to prevent the “trading” issue. Best thing is to get a list from the child of agreed upon items, so you know that the lunch ends up in their tummy, not the trash or their friend’s tummy!
When I was in grade school I can remember my favorite lunch. I used to split half of my sandwich with my best friend as she loved it too. Hope you enjoy!
Whole wheat bread/multigrain
1 small avocado peeled
1 small tomato
mayonnaise as desired
Add sprouts and/lettuce or any other vegetable or mushrooms
Whole wheat/multigrain bread
or French roll
1 small cucumber
lettuce if desired
sprouts if desired
This isn’t exactly a recipe, but for three generations my family has loved this sandwich, and it is very healthy. On whole grain bread spread some nut butter, add raisins and top with honey. Then cover with the other piece of bread. Another plus — if the whole grain is wheat, add a glass of milk to this sandwich and you have a complete protein. I’m not sure if other whole grain breads create the complete or not.
This sandwich travels well, too, needs no cooling. It’s simple and filling and yummy.
I’d like to say that the first step in making a lunch is to stop wasting brown bags and buy a good insulated lunchbox, mini-icepack, and sealable plastic containers to go with it. Most of the containers are #4, one of the safer types of plastic. A good lunchbox will last several years. It’ll mean washing the containers every night, but what you save (the environment!) by avoiding disposable paper bags and plastic baggies makes it worth it. Also, if you come home with something you weren’t hungry for, you can just stick the container in the fridge (or wherever) until tomorrow — it’s already packed! The insulation feature is a key concept as well. That way you can safely carry foods that need to stay cool or warm. I suggest using a lunchbox with 2 compartments so you have the ability to transport both hot and cold foods at the same time. I carried a “litter-free” lunch all through middle school and high school (class of ’01 so my experience is pretty recent).
In high school, I took extra juice and a snack so I would have something to eat when staying after school for an activity, and
the juice was still nice and cold thanks to my insulated lunchbox and icepack. No nasty warm bottle of water, and it sure beat using the soda machines!
Even though I’m not in grade school anymore, I do still need to pack lunches now and then, like to avoid eating at a restaurant or so I’ll have something to eat at a picnic. I like to take sandwiches in my lunchbox. My favorite is home-baked ham on homemade rye with some raw (unpasturized milk) Swiss cheese. Delicious! When not in the mood for a sandwich, I take some kidney or
baked beans (the little containers don’t leak) and a homemade muffin. And perhaps some fruit, like putting pineapple chunks in one of the little containers. A little container of a snack-type food comes in handy, too, something like nuts, dried fruit, or a homemade cookie, so you can just whip it out anytime for a quick snack.
The secret is in being able to carry around the containers, the insulated lunchbox. The containers liberate you so you can carry just about any food you want! Forget carrying a purse, I’m carrying a lunchbox, lol! Actually, they have so many pockets these days,
you can fit the essential purse things in there, too. And a pocket-pack of tissues comes in handy if you find you need an extra napkin!
Used to send spaghetti (squash) in a hot thermos with salad in a small Tupperware. Hot dogs (turkey) in chili also in the hot thermos. Freeze ice cream in a thermos overnight — seal & off it goes to lunch. My youngest loved the frozen yogurt. Potato salad in the cold thermos with cheese cubes, dill pickles & sliced whole wheat bread. Hard boiled eggs were ALWAYS a hit, with anything. Sandwiches, soups, salads. I don’t send lunches off any more — the kids are grown & he’s retired but I used to have F U N coming up with new ideas. There was always a Hershey’s kiss in every bag.
Don’t know if this will help with children’s lunches, but I once worked in an office with 4 other women and we all brown-bagged it. It got pretty boring, so what we did was each day we packed a lunch — and it went to someone else. That way we didn’t just do the baloney sandwich thing, we tried new things because it was for someone else. It’s easy to make great sandwiches if you take the time to put sprouts and tomatoes and fresh herbs in separate little containers and make the sandwich or salad when you have lunch. None of us would do that kind of thing for ourselves, but we got pretty creative when it was sort of competitive. You know, who can come up with the best lunch of the day.
And let’s not forget that planned leftovers from the night before can become soups or stews to be enjoyed hot the next day. For example, scalloped potatoes can become a yummy potato soup with a few additions. Leftover mac & cheese can become either a hot or cold dish when combined with fresh garden produce or leftover meat and some herbs. Likewise, beef stew can become a great soup if you add fresh produce and herbs. Take some croutons in a separate little container and add just before eating.
Just get into the habit of “no waste” and you’ll figure out ways to use that last crust of bread (croutons) or half a tomato, etc. Go back to your roots and remember the food of the depression era.