April 22, 2014

50 Ideas for Packed Lunches


If you have a kid in Mother's Day Out, daycare, preschool or regular school, you are probably spending a fair amount of time putting together packed school lunches. And, if your little one is home with you all day, you don't get out of the lunchtime prep routine. It's sorta kinda a requirement (what? You want lunch again today?) 

Some days (or, ahem, weeks) we get in a total lunch rut around here. Yet, every single day, my cutie requires lunch. This week I added a new item to our lunch regiment and it's been a total hit. Fruit Shoot is a lunchbox (or picnic/zoo/road trip/museum!) ready fruit drink. I love the no-spill cap because it's SO MUCH EASIER for my daughter to use then the box/straw combo. Less mess + more independence = win for both of us! I have to say, we're quickly becoming big fans of Robinson's Fruit Shoot in this house. 

Robinson's Fruit Shoot in several yummy flavors!

My lunchtime strategy is to combine a protein source, a fruit, a veggie, a healthy grain and a hydrating beverage. This helps keep things balanced and nutritious! 

Need a few ideas for kid-friendly lunches? I thought you might, so I've rounded up 50 of my best ideas for lunch time.

Kid-Friendly Lunches

Main Dishes: 

1) crackers and cheese (tip: not all crackers are created equal. Check the label and pick a cracker with higher quality grains and a higher protein count. That'll keep cheese & crackers in the "protein-rich, main dish" category!)
2) cottage cheese and cherry tomatoes
3) cottage cheese with pineapples and slivered almonds
4) ham and cheese roll-ups
5) turkey and cream cheese pinwheels
6) cookie-cutter sandwiches (using any favorite cookie cutter and any favorite sandwich toppings)


7) Apples slices with peanut butter and raisins
8) Greek yogurt plus granola 
9) vanilla Greek yogurt with peach slices
10) quesadillas 
11) chicken chunks with avocado cubes
12) hummus, topped with olives & feta cheese, served with pita chips
13) mini bagels topped with almond butter and banana slices
14) english muffin pizzas (english muffin, spaghetti sauce & cheese- baked at 350 until bubbly)
15) deviled eggs (how about colored deviled eggs?!)


16) turkey little smokies with BBQ dip
17) turkey pepperonis with crackers
18) pita pockets with deli meat and cheese
19) pimento cheese on a hard roll
20) BLT wrap 
21) tortilla with peanut butter & banana
22) cottage cheese with almonds and berries
23) curry chicken & naan quesadillas 
24) soft taco (shredded chicken, shredded cheese and pinto beans on a flour tortilla)
25) pasta salad with cubed ham

Sides:

26) strawberries with shredded coconut and raisins
27) hummus and cucumbers
28) sliced veggies


29) veggie chips (found in the chip aisle at most grocery stores)
30) bell pepper slices with ranch dip
31) blue corn chips with mild salsa
32) mango, pineapple and coconut flakes
33) baby carrots with blue cheese dip
34) applesauce 
35) string cheese
36) kale chips 
37) roasted seaweed (honestly, my 3 year old loves this. Just try it out on your youngun!)
38) all natural fruit leather
39) chocolate chips, raw almonds and coconut shreds


40) rice chips 
41) cold quinoa salad
42) broccoli salad
43) cucumbers and tomatoes with oil/vinegar
44) mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes
45) whole fruit 
46) celery and cream cheese
47) dried apples
48) edamame and sea salt
49) raisins or craisins
50) popcorn

And, of course, you'll need to throw in a great beverage to keep your kiddo hydrated throughout the day. You can get Fruit Shoot at the following retailers: Walmart, KMart, Kroger, Lowes Foods, Harris Teeter, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Spartan, Speedway, Meijer Gas, Sheetz, Kangaroo, WilcoHess, Handee Hugo, Family Fare, Giant Eagles, Marc’s, Dave’s, UDF, Traxx, Redi Mart, J Clarks.

Hint: you might want to call ahead to ensure your local retailer carries Fruit Shoot in their store!

What goes in YOUR child's lunch box? Any tips you can share for our in-a-rut moments??

**Thank you to Fruit Shoot for sponsoring today's post, but my love for their delicious juice is all my own!

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