Last year was the first time my boys took lunches to school for the entire year. Previously, I’d always given in to pizza or chicken teriyaki days. Then I thought, why not just pack them homemade pizza or a thermos of whatever they had for dinner last night?
It took us until fourth grade to realize that as long as the food in the lunchbox was interesting and tasty, it was better than a hot lunch at the cafeteria. And it’s a lot more nutritious.
Some of their favorites are sandwich wraps, because they can hold anything. Fill them with leftovers from a stir-fry and it’s basically a huge helping of veggies. Mayo and mustard are fine, but we like to spread different flavors of hummus on the tortilla, then add things like shaved turkey, cheese, fresh spinach leaves, shredded carrots, red cabbage, snap peas, avocado and cashews. You can even drizzle on a little salad dressing for a pop of flavor.
Or slather on almond butter (most schools won’t allow peanut butter because of allergies). Add sliced bananas, dot with grape jam and toss in some dried cranberries.
Anything Mexican works great. Include a small container of salsa or low fat ranch dressing for dipping.
If dinner was roast beef, spoon in some mashed potatoes and peas with the shredded meat. If you had chicken, zip it up with pesto and pasta, or barbecue sauce and some crunchy cabbage.
Most wraps taste just fine at room temperature, but if your kids prefer them warm, you can heat them in the microwave, roll them in foil and put them in an insulated sandwich wrapper.
It’s fun to come up with all sorts of creative combinations. And you’ll know you’re on to something when classmates ask to trade sandwiches at lunchtime and your kids say, “No way!”