By Skyla Bendorf
Families across the country, with eating needs from allergy specific to vegetarian, have been stretching their creative culinary muscles to pack lunches for school age children this last month. We all have two goals in mind. Make it nutritious and hope they eat it. Packing lunches does not have to be a chore. In general, you want to keep it simple.
Kids talk to friends while eating and then rush outside to play for the rest of their break and they do not want complicated or fussy food. Elementary-aged kids are good with two to three things. Most Middle School children have access to a microwave and better time management skills, which opens up possibilities like instant soups and ready-to-heat packages of food.
Here is a short list of quick-to-fix lunch that will keep both you and your child happy.
Easy Lunch Ideas
- Your child’s favorite trail mix plus a piece of jerky— homemade, beef, bison, vegan— your choice.
- Good old cheese and crackers. You can easily find gluten free crackers and dairy free “cheeses” as needed.
- Kids love rice. Try Asian Fried Rice, Southwest Style Beans and Rice, Pilaf Rice with Meat/Tofu/Tempeh, or who can resist rice with cinnamon sprinkled on it?
- Leftovers make such an easy lunch. Send a container of any casserole with a biscuit, an enchilada with a corn tortilla, soup with crackers, or spaghetti with a breadstick. Serve a portion directly into your child’s lunch container before you dish out dinner and you will have packed lunch for tomorrow before you have even had dinner tonight!
- Remind your High School children that can drive that the always incredible LifeSource Deli has many appetizing lunch options for under $5.00. Salad, soup, salad rolls with peanut sauce, microwavable burritos, hot bar entrées and sides as well as pizza by the slice.
Everyone will find the food they want to pack, and earth-friendly ways to pack it at LifeSource. If you run out of ideas or want to try some fun new recipes, come on in and check out our selection of books with lunch box ideas. Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann and Good Food to Go by Brenda Bradshaw and Cheryl Mutch, MD are treasure troves of good ideas that I will be relying on to meet my goal of packing lunches every single day for my children this year.