|In this lunchbox: (top left) sweet potato chips and sun dried tomatoes, (top right) cut up turkey, (bottom left) cucumber sticks and plain yogurt dip), (bottom right) grapes.|
First, for lunch at home. This can be equally as daunting as packing lunch in many cases! I try to implement one leftover from dinner along with foods that I can drizzle dressing or sauce over and I also make sure to include a nutritious dip of some sort (my two year old LOVES to dip!)
For lunch on the go, a lunchbox like the one I have in the picture above (a Laptop Lunchbox) is key - we have the box and then the zip-up lunch "bag" to put it in so that we can keep it cold with an ice pack. It even has a tiny dip container that my little guy loves!
See my "lunchbox inspiration" links at the bottom of this post to get your creative juices flowing!
Here are some ideas:
Veggies (I always include two)
- Baby spinach or mixed greens with oil and vinegar (let your child grind pepper, squeeze lemon, or add a pinch of salt!)
- Cucumber sticks or "chips" (cut into thin rounds)
- Carrot Sticks
- Jicama Sticks (on special occasions, I buy this pre-cut at Lunds)
- Kale Chips
- Frozen peas (yes, frozen - kids love them this way!)
- Pickles (we buy Bubbies pickles - lots of probiotic power! I cut them into sticks)
(We do not do a ton of fruit at lunch, especially when at home. We save them for snacks and smoothies!)
- Whatever is in season and/or on sale - cut into bite size pieces
- Frozen berries
- Leftover burger (vegetarian option - Quinoa Burgers)
- Rolled lunch meat cut into small circles
- Grass fed beef hot dog cut into small bites (we love Thousand Hills)
- Grass fed beef sticks (also Thousand Hills for us) cut into bite-size chunks. I will mix them with frozen peas many times - a great snack on the go, too!
- Small pieces of cheese cut into fun shapes
- I have seen some great meat and cheese kabob ideas out there, too.
- Homemade or store-bought hummus
- Plain yogurt (we love So Delicious Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt) or CocoKefir's CocoYo (again, a powerful probiotic - get them in any way you can!)
- Guacamole (I'll mash an avocado with just a little lime and put it in a bowl on the side if we are at home)
- Cranberry Pumpkin Ketchup (mix a little in with the yogurt!)
- Brown Rice Cakes (we like Lundberg Lightly salted) broken into bite-size pieces
- Sprouted corn tortillas (we like Food For Life) with a thin spread of Sunbutter, cut into triangles
- Bread (whole wheat, GF, or other) cut into fun shapes that are easy for dipping
- Take a muffin out of the freezer and stick it in his/her lunchbox - it will be defrosted by lunchtime! If you cut it into quarters for smaller hands, it will defrost that much faster!
- Tortilla Chips (blue corn are best!)
- On a special occasion, Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips (a favorite in our house!)
- When at home, some warm rice or quinoa pilaf
- Dried Fruit - I cut up 2-3 dried apricots into strips for dessert.
- Sun dried tomatoes - you can get small bags of these at Trader Joe's. My little guy thinks of them as a treat (sweet and chewy!)
- Small chunks of homemade granola or granola bars
Some lunch (and snack!) making inspiration:
|My little guy's recent muffin tin lunch!|
This Lunch Rox is also awesome an addicting. :)
Last but not least (I shared this once before) this is a great idea for older kids or for you and your hubby - freeze single serve leftover soup in mason jars, defrost the night before, warm up in the morning and stick it in a thermos.
This is re-posted at Allergy Free Cookery - another great place for lunchbox inspiration every Friday!