The kids are back to school, which means there’s a lot more planning in the day-to-day schedule. Part of that planning is the dreaded school lunch. If your kids are like mine, during the elementary years anyway, they much preferred a lunch from home. However, PB&J wasn’t their top choice. Nor was some sort of deli meat sandwich. Like adults, they wanted variety in their daily lunch. The trick became finding easy ways to offer variety that weren’t taxing to kids’ or parents’ schedules.
What we determined was that there were several ways to offer variety on a weekly basis that required only a single round of pre-cooking. My kids were fairly adventurous eaters, so these lunch menus included salads and muffins. Make a batch on Sunday afternoon, and you have lunch for at least three days of school. Typically that was enough to get us through a school week, as occasional hot lunch items tempted their palates.
Here are some of our favorite recipes from the Think Tasty archives that could be lunchtime favorites!
Chicken Broccoli Couscous Salad– One advantage to making this salad is that couscous cooks (and cools) quickly, which helps reduce preparation time. As long as you plan this salad for a week that you’re making chicken for dinner, and cook a little extra, you can have days of lunches ready in under 30 minutes.
Lunchbox Pasta Salad– The recipes makes a lot of salad! If you have two kids who need packed lunches, you could have four or five days of lunches with one batch. This salad has a nice assortment of veggies but also plenty of pasta to keep it filling. This, too, is a salad that can be made in under 30 minutes.
Chocolate Chip Muffins– So, you may see the word chocolate and decry this an unacceptable lunch. I want you to stop and ask yourself if you’d let your child have one for breakfast. More than likely you answered yes; so why not lunch? It’s pretty much a guaranteed way for your child to eat lunch, and it will be one she enjoys. Make a batch, and you’re set for several days of lunch and/or breakfast.
Turkey Bacon Mini Muffins– Still having guilt from letting your child have chocolate at lunch? Make a batch of these muffins the following week. They’re filled with crunchy bacon and cheese, which should satisfy the savory palate. Made in mini muffin size, it’s likely your child will be glad to devour a few. (Try and save a few for yourself; you’ll be glad that you did.)
Add some excitement to your child’s lunch; give one of these recipes a try!