Your kids’ lunches have a lot of roles to fill.
For you, they must be healthy and fast to prepare; for your kids, their lunch must be portable, easy to eat, and most of all, appealing—so the kids won’t toss it in favor of pizza and French fries from the school cafeteria.
That’s a tall order—especially getting your kids to eat what you’ve prepared. I hope some of these recipes, links and ideas will help you:
- Younger children seem to prefer lunch that can be held in their hands and eaten warm or cold. Here are a few ideas for that: While preparing dinner, make extras to bake in muffin tins. Meatloaf, quiche, macaroni and cheese, even spaghetti in sauce can be baked in muffin tins and then tossed into lunch boxes.
- Wrap various fillings in a pita or tortilla: leftover grilled meats, chili, deli meats and cheese, refried beans, cream cheese and fresh tomatoes, BLT, tuna, ham or egg salad. A favorite treat at our house is Nutella, peanut butter and banana wrapped in a leftover pancake.
- One dad I know puts bite-sized hearty bread pieces, chunks of cheese, and meatballs on lollipop sticks, with a cherry tomato at each end.
- Make simple smoothies with your favorite frozen fruits and yogurt. Fill empty water bottles about halfway with the smoothies, screw on the lid, and freeze. Toss one into each lunch box to keep things cool. It will be thawed enough to drink come lunchtime.
Try these quick pizza cups the next time you’ve got your oven on:
1 refrigerated tube of crescent rolls or biscuits
4 oz. thick spaghetti or pizza sauce, homemade or canned
3 oz. or 12 slices of thin-sliced pepperoni
1/3 cup of cottage cheese (low-fat cottage cheese is fine)
4 oz. shredded mozzarella
- Spray 12 regular size muffin tins with cooking spray. Press each crescent or biscuit into a tin and up the sides, making sure the tin is completely covered by the dough.
- Press a slice of pepperoni into the dough. Add a teaspoonful of cottage cheese, top with a tablespoonful pizza sauce, and bake for 14 to 17 minutes in a 350-degree oven until the crust is just golden brown.
- Sprinkle the cheese over each pizzazz cup and return to oven for 2 minutes.
- Let cool in pan and then place each cup into a sandwich zip bag and freeze.
Here are a few links to help you find the lunch box solutions that work best for your family: