It's back to school time! Are your kids already groaning about what you are packing in their lunchboxes? Well, turn to these ideas and menu combinations for the best brown bag lunches and stop the muttering. (Here's another bit of advice: if they complain, let them pack their own boxes, using the food you provide!)
As always, keep food safety in mind. Make sure that you pack a frozen ice pack, or freeze a juice box and add that to an insulated cooler. Frozen sandwiches are also a good idea to keep everything as cold as possible. Wash a reusable lunch box after every use to avoid bacteria.
Tell your kids to eat everything at lunch or throw it away; don't save the food for an after-school snack unless you have specifically packed it for a longer time. Oh, and be sure to pack the utensils your child will need to assemble and/or eat the lunch! Have a great school year!
Brown Bag Lunch Menus and Ideas
Individual Salad Lunch Box Menu
These little salads are perfect for lunch at school. This is what my mom made for me when I was in high school.
Chicken Sandwich Lover's Lunchbox Menu
Or any sandwich! Choose your child's favorite to (almost) guarantee he'll eat it at lunch time.
Cracker Sandwich Lunch Box Menu
This is a take-off on those packaged lunch processed food kits - but much healthier.
Focaccia Sandwiches in the Lunch Box
You can make any filling for this sandwich - the bread is divine.
Mini Bagel Sandwiches Lunch Menu
Anything mini is good for kids - their tummies are smaller, and they don't have long to eat!
Mini Wrap Sandwiches for Lunch
It's got to be mini for kids, and these little wraps are just adorable.
Snacker's Lunchbox Menu
Healthy snacks, including Ants on a Log (with variations), and a sweet fruit dip, are a great choice for lunch boxes.
Try your best to get some nutrition into those lunch boxes - but don't go to too much of an extreme. For a while, there was a show on television that made over a family's diet. I was appalled that the nutritionist started by introducing the most unappealing foods possible: Brussels sprouts, beets, tofu, and liver.
You can improve nutrition and your diet without taking such drastic steps. For instance, combine some chopped peaches with a bit of pudding and serve that for dessert; that's certainly more healthy than a Twinkie, but kids will eat it, unlike a grapefruit-flavored tofu cake.
So tend toward nutrition, but remember what your kids like and will actually eat. Banana cookies are better than a chocolate bar; they're not ideal, but at least have some redeeming qualities.