5 Fast and Packable Non-Sandwich Lunches
Tired of the lunch rut of peanut butter and jelly for the kids and turkey sandwiches or eating out for yourself? Or having to pack 2-3 different meals to accommodate different needs and tastes? Make a new school year resolution to brown bag it for your entire family with these simple, nutritious, and portable lunches that can easily be adapted to fit a wide variety of nutritional needs from active kids with metabolisms in overdrive to your own slightly lagging metabolism . Most of these can be prepared the night before without becoming soggy by lunchtime the next day.
Keep meals fresh by investing in a good lunch box that can be washed easily and food containers with multiple compartments to keep foods separated to avoid the moisture from fruits and vegetables leading to soggy crackers and bread.
- Picnic Protein Plate: Nuts, Cheese, Fruit, Hummus, Pita Wedges, and Raw Veggies
Use pistachios and almonds, low-fat cheese cubes like mozzarella or reduced-fat Colby, whole wheat pita wedges, and raw veggies like sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes for a refreshing lunchtime meal. For younger kids, omit nuts and use softer veggies like cucumber slices or zucchini rounds. If you’re watching calories omit the pita wedges.
- Leftover Baked Potato with beans, lettuce, and salsa
Bake a few extra potatoes during dinner or over the weekend to have on hand. Add pinto or black beans, lots of shredded lettuce, salsa, and a dash of shredded cheese.
- Frittata + Fruit
Add spinach, mushrooms, shredded zucchini, and diced ham to a frittata for more veggies and protein. Include fresh berries to round out the meal. Frittatas freeze really well so make extra over the weekend to make weekday lunches convenient. For kids, include frittata with a crust or add an additional source of carbs, which their growing minds and bodies need, like diced potatoes or even brown rice. This is a great, base frittata recipe that you can adapt with your favorite choice of veggies.
- Black Bean Tacos + Melon or Mango Chunks
Use corn tortillas or, my personal favorite, La Tortilla Hand Made Style Corn and Wheat tortillas. Add reduced-sodium canned black beans, sliced avocado, and top with salsa and cheese. Add a side of melon or mango chunks.
- Tuna with Avocado + Nut Thins and Raw Veggies
Mix canned tuna with mashed avocado and a dash and pepper. Dip in with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and crackers such as Nut Thins.
Big Kid Bonus Meal Idea: Power Salad with Edamame, Sunflower Seeds, & Chickpeas
Combine mixed greens with edamame (soybeans), sunflower seeds, and canned chickpeas for a crunchy protein packed salad. Add any other vegetables of your choice and a hard-boiled egg for extra protein. Drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette or Greek-yogurt based dressing. For kids, add more carbs like a slice of whole-grain French bread or crackers plus a piece of fruit.
Do you have any non-sandwich lunches you like to make for yourself or kids? Share them with us in the comments below.