Ding, dong! Schools are back in session and as the little yellow school bus drives past I realized I’m not sure I’m ready for the day my kids get on it. It got me thinking though about packing kids off with a healthy lunch that’s quick, easy and frugal and I came up with a few alternatives to PB&J.
1) Salad On A Stick
…Or anything on a stick for that matter! Kids love nibbling and what better way to do it than off a skewer of fruit or veggies? Even the pickiest of eaters will chow down on alternating cubes of cheese and tomato, a stick full of all different pieces of fruit or even some cheese and pineapple.
Even a PB&J tastes better when it looks like a gingerbread man or a flower (yes I know mine don’t quite look like that!). I found metal cookie cutters work best and it’s super easy to make a sandwich and then cut out some fun. Beware of waste though and turn those crusts into croutons or feed to the birds.
Using appetizers as a lunch is not just for adults! There’s no rules that say just because someone is young they can’t take a nice lunch of bruschetta or stuffed mushrooms. My 3 year old loves pickles and was delighted when I smeared one in cream cheese and wrapped it in ham. That goes for ‘ants on a log too’. Cut up some celery, add a little peanut butter and raisins and voila – a meal fit for a little King or Queen!
4) Crackers and Cheese
Not the pre-packaged kind but the sort you need a 6-compartment lunchbox for! Add crackers in one part and fill the other areas with things like cheese, apple, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, ham slices, and tuna. That way they can prepare their own meal.
5) Something Warm
As the leaves turn and things cool down grab a thermos and pack it with some soup and add some homemade wheat bread on the side or noodles for something warm and easy for an older child to take.
6) Healthy Snacks
Packaged 100 calorie snack are a ripoff! With a little know-how and some baggies you can achieve the same thing…for way less. So, go grab some snack bags and create some do-it-yourself snacks for the kids.
- 1 small orange
- 15 mini carrots
- 3 TBS raisins
- 6 reduced fat Triscuits
- 1 cup celery
- 1 cup watermelon
- 13 animal crackers
- 3/4 oz cheddar cheese
- 7/8 cup cheerios
- 1 cheese stick and 5 slices ham
These are all 100 calorie snacks that are great for school lunches. You know the other great thing? Most of them can be bought at ALDI for super cheap.
What ideas do you have for back to school?