Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Frugal, easy and healthy school lunch ideas

Packing a healthy child lunch your children will enjoy day in and day out certainly isn’t an easy task.

It’s hard to keep coming up with fresh ideas for packed lunches for the 20 or so school days there are in a month. No wonder we often rely on the same old lunch recipe favorites.

Here are a few kid lunch box ideas. I’m sure you’ve heard some of them before but I’m hoping you’ll find a few new ideas to inspire you.

Change the bread
For a change from everyday sandwich use soft tortillas for wraps, bagels, English muffins, pita pockets or fresh baked rolls. Frugal tip: Hit your local bread store. You can get a ton of different types of bread for really cheap!

Create your own snack mix
Use a selection of small flavorful crackers, cereal, dried fruit or pretzels. Just about anything goes. For an occasional treat toss in a few M & Ms or yogurt or chocolate covered raisins. Experiment with different mixes and pre-package in individual zip lock bags. Do it once a week to save a ton of time and you won't be running out to buy the prepackaged ones.

Try different sandwich fillings
Alter the sandwich fillings. Consider combinations like diced chicken and corn, ham and avocado, grated carrot and cheddar cheese, or jam and cream cheese.

Place on soft tortilla in a hot frying pan. Spread with tomato sauce or pizza sauce. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and other fillings like ham, bacon, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Place another tortilla on top and heat until cheese melts. Cut into pizza triangles.

Don't forget veggies
To ensure your child gets her daily requirement of vegetables cut up a selection of carrot sticks and celery sticks. Consider also other veggies like cucumber, ears of baby corn, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini. Pack a small container of dip.

Fruit cubes
Cut up different pieces of fruit and package in a plastic container. Use fruit or vanilla yogurt as a tasty dip. This is much cheaper than $2.00 plus that it cost for those fruit bowls.

Fruit & cheese bites
Cheese cubes and grapes make a nice snack or lunch dessert. Pineapple and apple slices dipped in lemon juice also go nice with cheese.

Mini muffins
Kids love things that come in small packages. So think ‘mini’ – small muffins and bagels. Vary flavors to avoid boredom.

Sandwich shapes
Remove crusts from bread and cut out different shaped sandwiches using cookie cutters.

Pack a note
Occasionally pack something extra special in your child’s lunch like a note saying I love you or even a simple smiley face. Be creative and come up with something like a funny cartoon or saying that you know will put a smile on your child’s face.

Beyond sandwiches
If your child is tired of bread in any form consider crackers. What about packing a few crackers in your child’s lunch along with a side of cheese and ham slices? Kind of like a homemade lunch able only healthier. You can even cut the ham and cheese slices into fun shapes using cookie cutters. Be sure to package the crackers, cheese and meat separately.

For more fun and creative lunch ideas and recipes visit http://www.school-lunch-ideas.com

No comments: