Beat the Boring Lunchbox

by in How-to, Recipes, September 9th, 2011

bow tie pasta salad
The first day of school has come and gone, and now it’s time to go grocery shopping with school lunches in mind. Just as adults do, kids crave variety, options and creativity in their everyday meals and especially in their lunchboxes. This year, avoid untouched lunches and hungry, unfocused kids by replacing tired selections with new and fun choices sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

Switch up the predictable rotation of turkey-cheese and peanut butter-jelly sandwiches with Ellie Krieger’s kid-approved Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. Made with whole-grain pasta and loaded with veggies and calcium-rich cheese, this colorful salad will be a welcomed surprise in a lunchbox that’s usually filled with soggy sandwiches.

For a healthful alternative to carrots and ranch dressing, pack Food 2’s recipe for Fresh Fava Bean Hummus and a baggie full of celery sticks, olives or pears for dipping. The hummus is made with fresh lemon juice and herbs, and your kid will not even notice the extra veggies he’s eating (and enjoying).

Skip sugar-laden fruit cups and opt for eat-with-your-hands Colorful Fruit Kabobs from String any variety of chopped or whole fruit pieces on rounded-edge skewers for easy packing and portability. Aim for fresh, in-season fruit whenever possible to offer the most naturally sweet and vitamin-packed snack.

Instead of packaged rice cereal treats, make a batch of quick and easy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crispies from Cooking Channel. Easily made in single-serving mini muffin tins, these indulgent bites are the ideal way to wish good luck on a tricky spelling test.

Read more of Food Network’s suggestions for going back to school and packing not your ordinary school lunch.

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Comments (11)

  1. andrea says:

    The pasta salad was a hit…..I prepared half a sandwich on ciabatta with turkey, lettuce, tomatoe, green peppers and thinly shaved onions. I spread a little hummus on the ciabatta and it was a rave. So happy to know my little ones are eating a nutritious lunch that will help them survive the day. Great tips!

  2. julee says:

    I love using the hummus as a sandwich spread too! It's so tasty!!

  3. Jamie says:

    My son would never eat the above recipes. His usual lunch would be something like a bacon sandwich on a Fiber One english muffin, water, and an apple. The apple usually comes home. Please come up with some simple, creative recipes for picky eaters. Thanks!

  4. Jack.H says:

    I am always dreaming that my mam can make this for me but it never comes true. lol

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