Back-to-school is around the corner. Sigh. Although I get a bit sad thinking about the end of these fun summer days, I admit I get a rush buying new school supplies, backpacks, and lunch boxes for my kids. It takes me back to when I was a kid and got so much delight out of these little things. A new year, a fresh start full of possibilities and beginnings. This year, each of my kids start new schools and new chapters in their lives. Their lunch box is the one place I can stay connected with them during the day. I hope they are thinking of me and (and thanking me!) as they bite into something delicious that I packed. I also like to send a little message with Lunchbox Love Notes for Kids by Say Please that I can stash in their box, along with a personal message.
As sentimental as I am about these “lunches of love,” I recognize that the novelty wears off fast, and soon I will be trying to break out of a rut: “What do I make for lunch?” In case you can relate, here’s a week’s worth of lunch ideas to get you through the first few days of school.
Hummus and cucumber sandwiches
Try cutting these out in different shapes using cookie cutters. Spread hummus over the bread (my kids love Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic) and top with cucumber slices.
Chili and cheese burritos
These are requested at least once a week by my kids. I make them in the morning, wrap in foil and they are still warm when the kids eat them at lunch. I use Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Chili. Spread the chili across a flour tortilla and top with Daiya shredded cheddar cheese. Roll into a burrito and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Vegetable Sushi rolls
These are so much fun to make! Prepare sushi rice according to package directions. Place a nori sheet atop a sushi mat. Spread rice over nori, leaving a half inch around the edges. Lay shredded carrots and cucumber over the rice. Top with sliced avocado. Roll mat into a log. Slice into rolls. Pack with small soy sauce packets.
Trader Joe’s sells mini pitas that are great for little hands. Pack these along with your kid’s favorite veggies and hummus. They can then fill their pita pockets to their liking.
This is a hearty salad, full of fresh veggies and lots of color. Combine cooked quinoa and crunchy vegetables such as carrots and cucumbers. Add other colorful favorites like olives, corn and tomatoes. Add your protein of choice such as garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, or black beans. Toss with a vinaigrette.
For more ideas on what to pack in the lunch box, check out “Shaking Up The School Lunch Box.” What are your kids’ favorite lunches? Please share!