back-to-school lunches

I am getting in the zone. The school lunches zone! One of my kids starts school tomorrow, and the other two start next week. It has been an incredible summer for which I am grateful. I admit I am reluctant to return to packing lunches as I have enjoyed the unscheduled, relaxed environment that my family has been basking in the last two months. As I get my head back in the game, I am reminding myself of all the things I enjoy about the school year, and packing lunch boxes is one of them. Well…at least for the first couple of months – LOL! Seriously, I enjoy packing the kids’ school lunches. I love to experiment, get creative, and play with ideas that I hope they will love, or at least show them that I am thinking of them. I always try to delight whomever I cook for, so the school lunch box is no different.

My kids could probably eat the same thing every day, but I go crazy without variety. Tried and true works, but I need to mix things up in the rotation. If you feel the same way, you are going to really like today’s post! I am stepping outside of the lunch box to give you 5 healthy and fun (and easy!) finger foods that you won’t find in your every day school lunch box. 

I think food should be fun, especially when it comes to kids. It also has to be small to fit into those tiny lunch box compartments! Finger foods are a perfect option. You won’t find sandwiches or wraps in this list, nor will you find PB&J. Check out these ideas for yummy school lunches that your kids will love.

5 Healthy & Fun Finger Foods For School Lunches

1. Vegan Beef & Cheese Taquitos

2. Caprese Skewers

3. Lettuce Wraps

4. Falafel “Burgers”

5. Vegetable Sushi Rolls

 

Vegan Beef & Cheese Taquitos Horizontal

Vegan Beef & Bean Taquitos

Taquitos are such a fun finger food for kids. My Vegan Beef & Bean Taquitos can be made ahead and frozen, which is an added bonus! To pack for lunch, reheat and wrap in foil. Be sure to include a side of guacamole and salsa. You can get the full recipe here.

Caprese Skewers

My kids don’t have a lot of time to eat lunch, so these skewers are literally a quick bite! Plus, they are fun. I made these Caprese style, but you could change them up, such as pizza style, (think Hawaiian pizza with meatless pepperoni, chunks of dairy free cheese, and pineapple), or taco style.

Ingredients:

Short skewer sticks

Dairy-free Provolone (such as Follow Your Heart) or vegan mozzarella (such as Miyoko’s Kitchen VeganMozz), cubed

Cherry or grape tomatoes

Black or Kalamata olives

Artichoke hearts (optional)

Marinated mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

1. Stack each skewer with a cheese cube, grape tomato, olive, artichoke, and mushroom (if using). Repeat to fill the skewer.

 

Falafel “Burgers”

These falafel “burgers” are so cute. Secure them in the lunchbox with a toothpick and serve alongside a scoop of store bought or homemade tabbouleh.

Ingredients:

4 falafel patties (you can buy these frozen at Trader Joe’s)

Olive hummus

1 plum or roma tomato, sliced

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Prepare falafel according to package directions.

2. Spread each falafel with hummus.

3. Stack a tomato and cucumber slice on top of one of the falafels. 

4. Top with another falafel.

Wrap in foil to keep warm in the lunch box.

Lettuce Wraps

 

Lettuce wraps

These are such an easy and fun way to get your kids to eat their veggies! Make my Lettuce Wrap filling with either tempeh or tofu in a separate container, along with lettuce leaves and assorted toppings based on what veggies your kids like. 

 

Sushi Rolls

Vegetable Sushi Rolls

These rolls are a cinch to customize based on what you have in the house or what your kids like. You can make these the night before and store in airtight lunch containers for added convenience.

Ingredients:

1 nori sheet

¼ – ½ cup sushi rice, prepared according to package directions

¼ Persian cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

1 tablespoon shredded carrots

3 slices of avocado

2 slices baked tofu

Directions:

1. Place a nori sheet on a sushi mat, and spread the rice across the nori sheet, leaving about ¼ inch border all around.

2. Lay the tofu, vegetables, and finally, the avocado in a straight line on the part of the nori sheet closest to you.

3. Using the sushi mat, roll the nori away from you, pressing the roll with the mat as you roll.

4. Slice the roll into 8 pieces and serve with shoyu or tamari.

What are you packing in your lunch box? I’d love to hear! Please tell me in the comments section below.