This is the first post in my new “100 Days of Real Food Tips” series. Enjoy!
Think Beyond the Sandwich Bread…
- Pinwheels (pictured)
Rolled up whole-wheat tortillas filled with:
- Cream cheese*, thin cucumber slices, and dill
- Goat cheese* and roasted red bell peppers (sold as pimentos)
- Peanut butter* and banana slices
- Sunflower butter* and all-fruit spread (similar to jelly)
- Egg salad
- Hummus, cheese, and grated carrots
*Easiest to spread when the tortilla is warm…don’t forget the fun toothpicks!
- Apple Sandwiches (pictured)
I got this idea from Williams-Sonoma and all you have to do is slice the apple*, cut out the core with a small round cookie cutter, knife or corer, and fill with:
- Peanut or sunflower butter
- Raw rolled oats (optional)
*Can also squirt apple with a little lemon juice so it doesn’t turn brown
Top with all the usual sandwich fillings or use two crackers to make little sandwiches.
Any of these options would be a fun stand-in for the typical sandwich bread. The waffles and banana bread would be especially delicious with some plain or flavored cream cheese in the middle.
- Whole-Grain Muffins
Forget a sandwich all together and send in some homemade whole-wheat muffins – like zucchini (pictured) or blueberry – in place of bread. Most muffins can be made in advance and pulled out of the freezer the night before school.
Other Lunch Ideas…
- Whole-Wheat Non-Deep Fried Donuts (pictured at top)
When I brought home a little plug-in donut maker (similar to a waffle maker) from Target my husband said, “Oh great, another appliance to find room for.” But my children devour these little donuts and feel like they’re getting an extra special “treat” so I think it was well worth the purchase. You can also make an extra big batch of these mini-donuts and freeze the extras for later. If you buy one try this recipe for 28 donuts: 1 cup whole-wheat flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 4 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil).
- Fruit Kabobs
Incorporate fruit and cheese that you know your child likes as well as one new item. Everything is more fun on a stick!
- Whole-Wheat Pizza Toast
This is much faster than making regular pizza from scratch and just as delicious. Simply top regular whole-wheat sandwich bread with sauce and cheese then pop it in the toaster oven….and voila!
- Warm Lunch in Thermos
A Thermos is a great way to switch things up when it comes to packing lunch. Try soups, oatmeal, brown rice or whole-grain pasta dishes, and leftover dinners.
- Homemade Freezie Pops or “Gogurts” (pictured)
I’ve been talking about these reusable freezie pop holders for a while now, but I love them so much I just couldn’t leave them off the list. I fill them with everything from smoothies to plain yogurt mixed with homemade berry sauce to store-bought applesauce and then stick them in the freezer. They are usually semi-frozen by the time my daughter eats lunch at school and she devours them every time!
If you have any other fun lunch ideas you’d like to share please leave them in the comments below.