Here we go, kids. Back to school time. Yay.
Early mornings, homework, and worst of all, packing lunches.
I do not enjoy packing lunches and come June I am miserable and offering to let them pack or buy anything – as long as it’s easy for me.
But its the beginning of the school year and I have a little more enthusiasm at this time of year. In fact, I’m kinda tired of having to feed them 3 meals a day at home – didn’t I JUST feed you?
So I’ve come up with a few ideas for fun lunches that I think are easy to pull together and will share them over the next couple of weeks.
First up is salads. If you asked me at this time last year if this would be a possible lunch idea for my kids I would have laughed, but they have really broadened their horizons over the last year. Now they love romaine lettuce with cucumbers, shredded carrots, croutons, and creamy blue cheese dressing. (You didn’t think I was going to say arugula, pine nuts, and cherry tomatoes did you?)
It occurred to me over the summer that they were wolfing down their salads at dinner – why wouldn’t I offer it to them for lunches?
What really appeals to me here is that the best way for me to eat a healthy lunch is to have washed greens and veggies ready to toss for a salad, so I’d be killing two birds with one stone. I also regularly cook up extra chicken cutlets when making dinner to have on hand for sandwiches or tossing with salad. I can chop them up and they can choose to toss them in with their salad or eat them separately.
Here are some of the key tips for packing yummy salads for lunch:
Keep it separate – You can keep things like lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots together but make sure you pack a separate container for things like tomatoes, chicken, cheese, croutons, and dressing. Anything that is wet or dry needs its own container.
Prep the ingredients ahead of time to make it quick to put together, make sure all of the lettuce and veggies have been cleaned and thoroughly dried.
Include what your kids love – Do they want cheddar or mozzarella? Ranch or Italian? Cucumbers peeled, tomatoes, no red peppers? Giving them only what they want is a key to lunchtime success, you won’t be there to persuade them to eat well – it will be trashed, so give them what they will eat!
Keep it cold – include an ice pack.
Show your kids how to toss it – make sure your main container is big enough to hold all the ingredients together. Then tell your child (or show them) to pour the dressing on top, put the cover back on and shake it up like crazy until the dressing is evenly distributed. A well-tossed salad is way yummier.
Make sure the salad is big enough, has enough protein, and of course a treat to ensure your kid won’t be hungry before school gets out. Don’t get too crazy with lots of extras, they don’t have much time to eat sadly.