Monday, May 28, 2012

Changing up Lunches

As we got closer and closer to the end of the school year, my son seemed to be not only less interested in the daily lunch offered at school, but also less interested in the usual packing options. It seemed that no matter what I offered to include in his lunch, it was met with a resounding "No".

I totally get it, eating the same thing on a regular basis quickly leads to burnout. Sometimes, mixing it up just a little can make a huge difference in the appeal of a meal. I do this at dinner, turning pasta into Mexican dishes, pizza into a cheeseburger, and such - so why not try it at lunch?

There probably is more latitude for creative lunches for myself - since I have access to a microwave to warm up my meals. I have been known to pack myself an egg and cheese sandwich, when I need a change of pace. I simply pack an egg and a glass dish that I can microwave it in, a slice of cheese and an English muffin (I have access to a toaster too). It makes for a different and tasty lunch option.

I don't think that my son has easy access to a microwave at his school, although I am sure that the teachers would probably help him out by warming a meal in the teacher's lounge. As such, typically I rely on food that can be eaten cold from the lunch bag when I am packing a lunch.

Luncheon meat sandwiches are one item that we often will pack in a school lunch. Normally, my son prefers them plain. To mix it up, I prepared some recently using cheese - not normally a big fan of cheese, I found a Cheddar with Buffalo Sauce in it that he enjoyed. He loved the way that the cheese spiced up the sandwich and made it seem like something different.

packing the family a lunch for our recent amusement park trip
Another idea I have for mixing up the lunch is to cut up the turkey, ham or bologna and the cheese into small circles (use the top of a juice glass for the perfect shape and size). Pack your round turkey, ham and cheese, along with some round crackers (try the whole wheat varieties) that they can stack the meat and cheese on. This do it yourself 'sandwich' is a crowd-pleaser at my house.

Another packed lunch favorite at my house is peanut butter and jelly. To mix it up, try it with some new flavors of jelly - we have tried flavors like peach and blueberry, in addition to grape. Like the buffalo cheese, this is an easy way change up a familiar favorite.

There are also some meals that you can send the leftovers to school the next day for the kids to enjoy cold. So, look to your dinner for some other ideas of things to pack. I have done this with quiche and with pizza. They are both tasty, even when they are cold.

"Here are a few recipes from Hormel Foods Test Kitchen Director Joan Hanson that will be sure
to keep the kids happy and may even help you switch-up your own lunchtime routine! Joan has
recommended these recipes herself as fun ways to spice up end of the school year lunches.

Crisscross Ham and Cheese Sandwich
Three-Cheese Chili Pup Cups
Barbeque Chicken Tortilla Pizzas"

How do you mix it up to keep your family from becoming bored with the same lunch routine?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some of the information for this post.


Betty Roberts said...

Thanks! Hormel has some good recipes on their site