If you’re like me, by this point in the year I’ve hit a rut with sack lunches for my little ones. I have them do some of the packing and prepping, but it’s really easy to just say “hot lunch today?” and forget about it. Well, I’ve got some inspiration and necessities to help you get back in the game and reignite your imagination when it comes to sack lunches! Seems like when you’re in a rut, sometimes all you need is a new idea to spark your imagination. You can google “Bento lunches” and see all kinds of cute things with rice and peppers. The downside to that is that they take a decent amount of time and practice. I’ve gathered a few recipes that are not only easy, they will keep any belly full.
First off, you really need to upgrade your brown paper bag to one of these. Why? Because everything is in a compartment, it helps with your planning and portions, and most noteworthy did I mention they are dishwasher and microwave safe? These really are pretty much the best. If you’re looking to upgrade your sandwich game, don’t be afraid to pull out a cookie cutter to make your sandwich into fun shapes. Further more, even more important than the fun shapes is having a way to keep the lunch items separate and at the correct temperature. Beyond that, here are some ideas to help think outside the sandwich box.
Once you’ve got your Bento Box, then it’s time to get excited about packing lunch with these awesome sack lunch ideas.
Fun Lunch #1: Peanut Butter Pin Wheel
If you’re tired of making PB&J sandwiches, try this out!
- 2 whole wheat tortillas
- Nut butter (whatever kind you like)
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1 apple cut into bite size chunks
- 1/8 c. pine nuts, granola, raisins, etc.
Process: First spread some nut butter over your tortilla. Then drizzle a little honey and sprinkle with apples. End with a protein crunch. I like using pine nuts, but granola also works really well! Roll up, slice up, and enjoy! It can make lunch time a lot more fun.
Fun Lunch #2: Turkey Bacon Wrap
This is a great dish for when you or your littles are hungry and simultaneously tired of sandwiches.
- 2 whole wheat tortillas
- 4 tsp. honey mustard
- 6 oz. deli turkey
- 2 slices Muenster cheese
- 1 c. baby spinach or romaine
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 bacon strip, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 c. chopped cucumber
- 1/4 c. chopped roasted sweet red pepper or cherry tomato
Process: Spread the honey mustard on the tortilla before layering with spinach, turkey, cheese, carrot, bacon, cucumber, and red pepper. Then roll up tightly, slice, and serve.
Fun Lunch #3: Turkey Salad
This lunch is great because it’s pretty versatile. Have a kid who doesn’t do gluten? Simple, top this over a bed of lettuce.
- 1/2 c. finely chopped cooked turkey
- 2 cooked and crumbled bacon strips
- 1 thinly sliced green onion
- 2 Tbsp. thawed frozen peas
- 2 Tbsp. shredded Swiss cheese
- 3 Tbsp. mayo
- salt and pepper to taste
Process: Combine the first five ingredients by tossing them together in a bowl. Then stir in the mayonnaise and salt/pepper until combined. Lastly, serve on a bed of lettuce or whole wheat bread!
Fun Lunch #4: Pepperoni Roll-Ups
If you’re looking for something that it tasty, kid friendly, and easy on the budget, certainly try these.
- 1 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
- 16 slices pepperoni, quartered
- 2 pieces string cheese, quartered
- 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
Process: Start by heating your oven to 375F. While that’s getting warm, unroll the crescent dough and pull apart each of the triangles. Next place a piece of your string cheese and 8 pepperonis on the wide end of the triangle before sprinkling about 1/2 tsp. of the Italian seasoning on top. Once that’s done, roll up and make sure to pinch sides closed. Last, sprinkle the tops with garlic salt and the remaining seasoning. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before putting into a lunch box.
Fun Lunch #5: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Finally, this is great for those gloomy days or when someone’s just not feeling up to par. Here’s the thing though, you want it to be warm, so I’d suggest getting one of these or using a thermos like this.
- 2 quarts water
- 8 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
- 6 1/2 c. uncooked egg noodles
- 2 c. cream of chicken soup
- 3 c. cubed cooked chicken
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1 c. chopped cooked carrots
Process: First of all, start by boiling 2 quarts of water in a large saucepan. When the water is boiling, add in your noodles and cook for about 10 minutes. Next, add in the soup, carrots, and chicken and continue to simmer until it’s all heated through. Lastly, when the ingredients are warmed through and hot, take it off the stove and stir in the sour cream. Serve!
And there you have it! The next time that you’re in a rut, above all try one of these fun lunches to spice things back up.