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Making Brown Bag Lunches a Bit More Colorful

It’s easy to fall into a lunch routine that’s as boring as the brown bag it’s packed in. Below are some innovative ideas to pull you out of a lunch rut.

 

Photo and recipe courtesy of Sargento
 

 

Photo and recipe courtesy of Cabot
 

Peanut-butter and Strawberries

For a classic PB&J, skip the sugary jams. It’s just as easy, and tastier, to follow a layer of peanut butter with fresh, diced strawberries. If your child has a peanut allergy or your school is peanut-butter free, try pairing strawberries with a layer of cream cheese or cottage cheese (both options are full of protein.) While it may be good for you, this original pairing tastes almost like a dessert!
 

Quesadillas

Quesadillas are just as tasty as your traditional grilled cheese, but are still delicious eaten cold and won’t get soggy in a lunch box. If you’re making eggs in the morning, just throw the quesadilla on the frying pan for a few seconds till cheese is melted (you don’t want the tortilla to get too crispy). Use leftovers! Add some cooked chicken breast or ground beef for added protein. Slice into triangles and keep in the fridge till you’re ready to go. Pack with a small container of salsa, sour cream, or for the more adventurous child, guacamole.
 

Fruit and Cheese Plate

A Fruit and Cheese Plate is great finger food that won’t weigh your child down at lunch time. Pack an assortment of grapes, strawberries and sliced bananas with bite sized pieces of carrots and celery. Add a small container of peanut-butter or ranch dressing for dipping. Lastly, add a pre-packed string cheese. The end result is a healthy assortment your kids will actually eat and took only seconds to assemble.
 

Bite Sized Tuna Bagel

Finger food is always a kid favorite. Instead of a simple tuna sandwich on bread, use mini bagels. Simply distribute slices of sharp cheddar and tuna salad over the bagels. The end result is filling and full of protein to keep their stomachs satiated. For an adult variation (or for kids who just aren’t picky eaters), spread cream cheese over mini bagels and top with smoked salmon.
 

Cucumber and Muenster Sandwich

A great way to sneak veggies into your kids lunch, Muenster cheese is the star of this sandwich, giving it an almost creamy consistency. Coat both slices of bread (preferably multigrain) with mayonnaise. Next, lay down a thick layer of Muenster cheese, and follow with an equally thick layer of sliced cucumbers.

 

Apple Cheddar Sandwich

Of course we had to throw something in this list for mom and dad too! With strong flavors, this sandwich is more favored by adults. For a portable variation of the plough-man’s lunch, spread a little dijon mustard on crusty bread, top with apple slices and a sharp cheddar. Use green apple slices for if you prefer a tangier meal. The green apples juxtapose the sharp cheddar in an unexpected yet delicious harmony.