Eric doesn’t like buying lunch at school. Maybe he’s a weird kid, I don’t know, but unless it’s something super awesome – like breakfast for lunch day where they have french toast sticks, or his ultimate favorite cheese pizza – he’d rather take a lunch. While I don’t mind the selection at our school’s cafeteria, I don’t mind that at all! It has, however, left me to get a little…creative with lunches. I don’t mind sandwiches, and do them a lot (using either a dinosaur or star shaped sandwich cutter), I like to give him a bit of variety, too!
With the start of school, I’ve seen a lot of people asking what others do for school lunches. Some people put together these incredibly complex, amazing looking, fancy bento lunches. Those are really neat, and quite frankly, not me. They aren’t my kid either; he is a slow eater, and if I packed something like a lot of the bento lunch blogs do, he’d only eat about 1/3 of it.
So, like many things, I take a wicked awesome idea from the Internet and…fake it. I bought a few Ziploc divided containers at Target (they now have neat Rubbermaid ones too!), and they were way less expensive than the custom bento lunch box kits out there. I also have just a few sandwich containers, and those work fine too now that Eric no longer minds his food mixing. They also fit better into his lunch box this year, since we found a more square-ish one than the rectangular one of last year. Here are a few lunches I throw together!
Eric LOVES Lunchables. But, unless you catch them on sale for a buck, they’re silly expensive. So…I make my own. I use some deli meat, cut into shapes (here, it’s salami cut like pizza slices) or torn into bite sized pieces, some cheese (that’s a marble cheese stick cut up), and some crackers (Ritz, Club, Saltines…heck, I’ve used Goldfish before). I tossed in a few M&M’s for dessert, though fair warning, they may leech their color if you just toss them in like this. Add a Capri Sun and it’s just like the ones you can get at the grocery store for $3.50!
Another favorite is turkey wraps. These are pretty quick and easy, a tortilla and some thin sliced deli turkey breast. A friend gave me the idea of spreading on a thin layer of onion & chive cream cheese, and not only does it add to the wrap nicely, but it cements it together so I don’t need to use tooth picks to keep it wrapped up until lunch time! I spread just a little extra at the edge where it rolls together to keep it shut. It pairs nicely with just about anything – fruit, yogurt, veggies, whatever I feel like tossing in that day.
Who doesn’t love breakfast for lunch? I know my kid does. I like to make waffles in the morning sometimes, but a batch always makes more than we can eat. I freeze them, and sometimes I’ll hold one out and chop it up for lunch. Instead of syrup, which would be a nasty sticky mess in a lunch box, I sprinkle on a little powdered sugar. Then, since I seem to always be making scrambled eggs in the morning, I made double and threw them in too. (I’ve done hard boiled eggs too.) Eric likes colored eggs, so I put in just a couple drops of food coloring to turn them green or red. Blue takes a LOT of food coloring, or they just turn back green, strangely enough…
Another thing Eric thinks is pretty cool is those cracker sandwiches you can buy in the packages – like the Ritz with cheese ones, that sort of thing. So again, I make my own! Cheese Whiz would work well, or we do peanut butter. (You could also do almond butter, sunflower butter, whatever kind of butter your family likes. Just make sure you’re aware of any allergies at school before sending it!) Peanut butter on graham crackers is his favorite!
What kinds of things do you do for lunch? I’m always on the look out for new ideas!