Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fun Foods To Shake Up Sack Lunches

Hello, my faithful reader! I hope you had a great Christmas and New Years. Thanks for sticking with me while I took a holiday break from blogging.

For the next few weeks, we will talk about food, including ways to incorporate healthier foods into our diets, dealing with picky eaters, and how to make meal time fun for the whole family. Check back each week for new tips and information.

If your school-aged kids are anything like mine, you started hearing, “Can I have something other than a sandwich?” back in September. Sadly, when it comes to finding new things for sack lunches, I often come up short.

I have found a few winners, though, so I hope these help your children find their sack lunches a bit more enjoyable.

Ham Roll-Ups
Spread Neufchatel cheese (low fat cream cheese) on a slice of ham. Drizzle a little raspberry chipotle sauce over the cheese and roll up like a burrito. My favorite sauce is Buffalo Bob’s Raspberry Chipotle Dipping Sauce, sold sporadically at Vitamin Cottage or Sprouts. I’ve also used Archer Farms brand raspberry chipotle grilling sauce sold at Target. My kids eat three roll ups for lunch.

Fruit Dip
Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and cinnamon to taste. If desired, use a little orange juice or lemon juice to thin it a bit. Send an assortment of sliced apples, pears, celery, bell peppers, or other fruits and vegetable to dip.

Pasta Salad
Use a thermos to keep pasta salad cool until lunch time. You can also use a thermos to hold warm pasta like spaghetti or mac and cheese (it may not stay hot), mashed potatoes, mini-bagel pizzas or left-overs from dinner.

Rice Cakes
Top lightly salted brown rice cakes with peanut or almond butter and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar for an open-faced twist on the traditional sandwich. Send it in a hard-sided sandwich box since the peanut butter will get smooshed all over a plastic baggie.

Celery Boats
Stuff celery sticks with tuna or chicken salad. If your kids don't like celery, you can hollow out half of an apple and stuff it with the salad. You can also put the salad in a plastic cup and send celery and other veggies separately for dipping.

Make Your Own Lunchables
Cut up pieces of lunch meat and cheese so your kids can make their own sandwiches using crackers instead of bread.

If you have fun lunch ideas, please share them with us!