School doesn’t start until a month from now for those attending Wichita’s USD 259, but it’s not too early to begin planning lunch meals the kids will love.
In perusing GreenAcres Markets—especially the stores that have delis–and making a mental list of all the good things moms and dads could find to put into their children’s lunchboxes, it occurred there might be some extra special menu ideas on the Internet.
Bingo, it’s all right there: great blog lunch suggestions, and on-sale specials in our monthly newsletter, making lunchtime as easy as a veggie rollup. Below are some creative lunches moms and dads who work could fix a day ahead and be ready to go when the school bell sounds:
#1: Roll it Up
Wraps are great for kids because they are highly customizable and are perfect for kids of all ages. Whether it is a whole-wheat or vegetable-based tortilla – adding loads of fresh vegetables and a yummy dip makes for a great lunch. Think of it as a salad rolled up into a sandwich – what could be better than that? Another option is a Mexican-themed wrap: think beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese – a burrito of sorts. (Better yet, grab a Breakfast Burrito from our daily hot case the day before and have your child reheat it in the microwave at school.)
#2: Healthy Lunchables
Many children like those handy “lunchables” meals – the problem is store-bought prepackaged lunches often are packed with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, not to mention, the waste associated with the packaging. Instead, pack a yummy assortment of organic whole-wheat crackers, cheeses and spreads, and then pair with fresh fruit and vegetables and you have a great lunch that any child will devour. (Cut off a hunk of Brie cheese that melts naturally in a lunchbox until noon; add a bunch of dark red grapes—so juicy right now; maybe a piece of dried pineapple and a handful of Marcona almonds. Or, pick up a cheese, tuna, crackers and fruit Snack Pack from the GA Grab & Go. Getting hungry?!)
#3: Vegetable and Fruit Muffins
Who doesn’t like a muffin? A great way to add extra fruit and vegetable servings to your child’s meal is by adding them to your favorite muffin recipe. You can pack almost any type of fruit inside a muffin and many vegetables too – our favorites include yams, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms. And when you can make a couple of muffins into a lunch entree, it’s a great thing! (GreenAcres has delicious options for kids who have to watch their wheat intake: a gluten-free pumpkin muffin; a handful of gluten-free Daiya Cheese shreds, a lean slice of deli nitrate-free ham; a few cut-up organic raw carrots and celery. You get the picture!)
#4: Pita Pockets
Pita Pockets are perfect for school lunchboxes. They are compact and can be packed full of all kinds of yummy ingredients. And when we say Pita Pockets, we don’t mean the frozen, highly-processed versions – we’re talking organic whole wheat pitas stuffed with cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and any of your favorite veggies. You can add whatever veggies your child enjoys for a lunch that is sure to please. (Try butter lettuce cups with our GreenAcres house-made Albacore tuna or our Free-range chicken salad with some olives, pickles or pineapple for quick and easy lettuce wraps. Tuck in a small bag of Skinny Pack all-natural, non-GMO popcorn as a little surprise. Your lunch will be the envy of all at the lunch table.)
#5: Panini Sandwiches
Panini sandwiches are great because they melt all of the ingredients together in a tidy little sandwich. We like to press avocado, nitrate-free bacon and cheese sandwiches or house-made almond butter, strawberry jam and goat cheese sandwiches. At lunchtime, your child can heat it up quickly or eat it cold, either way they spell lunchtime perfection! (GreenAcres has a huge variety of regular and gluten free breads—even English muffins—to make those gooey sandwiches!)
#6: Pick Your Own Cup of Soup
One GreenAcres customer has this to say: “My son is a huge fan of soups, the homemade kind, not the canned variety. To ensure that we have soup ready to go on school mornings, we make large batches of our favorite soups and store them in mason jars in the refrigerator. Each morning, we simply remove a jar of soup from the refrigerator, heat it up and put it in his thermos.” (GreenAcres Bradley Fair, KC, OKC and West offer a nutritious 3-soup menu every day. And our store in Normandie Center has two soups daily. Buy extra soup when we have your child’s favorite and freeze until ready to pour into the thermos. Pack a box of R. W. Knudsen’s 100% Organic Apple Juice and a carton of Santa Cruz Applesauce with no added sugar and you’ve got one happy camper at lunchtime!)
#7: Make it a Sampler
If your child gets bored with the same foods, try packing a “sampler.” Choose from house-made “devilish” eggs or an assortment of fresh vegetable and fruit sticks, whole-wheat pita triangles, nuts, seeds, and a few dips that can be used together. For example, a homemade tzatziki sauce is perfect for dipping fresh vegetables and pita triangles. Honey or vanilla yogurt goes great with cut-up fruit for dipping. Kids love dipping their veggies in our store-bought or homemade hummus—and it works great for spreading on a leftover house-made turkey meatloaf sandwich. Add a couple of sticks of Horizon Organic Mozzarella sticks and you’ve got yourself a winner!)
Says another GA customer: “If I am not feeling creative or just don’t have the energy to make a prepared school lunch, I will purposely make extra dinner and send my son leftovers for lunch. To be honest, this is probably one of his favorite options – he loves to open his lunchbox to find a large slice of vegetable lasagna, a manicotti roll or two, a serving of spaghetti or rice and vegetables.” Whatever meals your child enjoys for dinner is sure to please at lunchtime.
What will be in your child’s school lunchbox this year?