Back To School Lunches
It’s that time again!
Back-to-school season is upon us. Up early, rushing through breakfast, out the door, and off to school. And while going back to school comes with the thrill of possibility, a fresh start – it also comes with resuming some of the dreaded tasks of daily living.
My least favorite? Making school lunches, hands down.
I’ll be honest. I am not at my most creative and energetic in the morning. So if I am on duty to make lunches, I can’t conjure up a culinary masterpiece. However, I am capable of following a simple formula and always manage to pull something tasty together from what we have in the fridge.
My not-so-secret formula for an easy and affordable school lunch includes three basics.
The Main Event
This could be a sandwich, soup, or as simple as leftovers. When packing a sandwich, I often choose a whole grain bread with almond butter and raspberry preserves; or some thinly-sliced black forest deli ham with crispy romaine lettuce. For soup, I often go with leftovers- usually a chunky chicken and rice soup with grated carrot or chopped tomatoes.
Apples and pears travel well. But sometimes I like to pack berries. These need to be packed gently - I usually line the container with a folded paper towel. Applesauce and Fruit Gushers do not count - no matter how hard the kids try to convince you!
Sliced carrots or red bell peppers hold up the best throughout the day. Cucumbers or cherry tomatoes also keep well. Edamame beans are a fun option too. If you can pull off a salad – go for it! It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just be sure to put the container of dressing on the side so the veggies don’t get soggy.
In terms of crispy, crunchy things, I tend to go for options such as whole-grain crackers, air-popped popcorn or kale chips. Pickles and olives are great, too! Or a serving of cashews, almonds, or homemade trail mix (complete with some dark chocolate chips!).