The school lunch has drastically changed over the last decade or so. Gone is the typical sandwich/fruit/drink combination. These days the typical student lunch is full of protein, produce, grains, and plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep children engaged in class. Even school cafeterias are making these shifts in lunchtime nutrition, throwing out the French fries and beef burgers for sweet potato fries and turkey burgers. Many schools now have a salad bar where students must stop first before heading into the line.
This means a change in the way the kids in your young family bring lunch to school. No more getting bored of the same meals five days a week. No more spending money on packaged Lunchables and other products that have no nutritional content. There are now ways, as well as storage containers, to keep lunches fresh and delicious until the bell rings. And you’re going to want to make sure they have plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein in their meals. This will prevent them from nodding off at their desks during the next class. Here are a few of the websites you can turn to for alternative school lunch recipes.
Food Network – The 15 kid-approved lunches on this site include the semi-basic chicken salad and ham sandwich to items like sesame-pecan chicken strips, peanut butter crackers with glazed grapes and even fruit leather roll-ups.
bon appetit – It’s not always beautiful meals for beautiful people at this website. The school lunch alternatives here include turkey salad rolls, corn and zucchini fritters and sushi made with avocado, carrot and cucumber.
Good Housekeeping – The king, or should we say queen, of all things home has over two dozen recipes to keep your children excited for school lunch. Items include turkey meatball pitas, turkey melon wraps, corn and tomato chowder and whole grain ginger snaps.
As for storage options, the cloth lunch bag with your child’s favorite character of the year are still available; however, there are now choices that keep foods at the proper temperature until they reach the cafeteria. Companies like Cryopak now sell reusable ice/heat packs that can be placed in lunch bags. For keeping things cool you would place the pack in the freezer. For keeping them hot you would place it in the microwave before dropping the kids at the bus stop. Another new product is the Warmables lunch kit. This organic and BPA-free option provides a container to store home-cooked meals, and insulated bag and two small bags to store cherry pits that are warmed stored near the meal.
Not matter what storage type you use or the meal you make, plan ahead so you have the budget available to make the necessary purchases. Trust us, your kids will be incredibly grateful.