Rethinking the Brown Bag Lunch

Gentle Readers, the mind boggles that it’s time for packing lunches again. Seriously, didn’t that part of the year just conclude? The Practical Cook is packing lunch for two individuals who will be hyped up and unable to focus for long. It is not a time for extended gourmet cuisine.

PB&J Fixings, Peaches, and Cottage Cheese

PB&J Fixings, Peaches, and Cottage Cheese

Here are The Practical Cook’s Top 5 Tips for Lunch Boxes:

1. Pack a few small things. We call it Mama’s Tapas here. Don’t overwhelm, but provide options. A small thing of fruit (grapes, blueberries, apple slices, cherry tomatoes), a protein (cheese cubes, nuts, cottage cheese), and a starch (Snapea Crisps, corn chips, bread, crackers) will do the trick.

2. Think seasonally. This heat wave is not the time for hot pasta.

3. Include a fortune cookie. If you’re not saving the fortune cookies from Chinese takeout, start today. It’s a treat, a reading lesson, and a Chinese lesson all in one. My youngest is running around saying “teapot” constantly now.

4. Ask for input. This is simple but often overlooked. During the grocery run today, I let them each choose something (with some guidance) for the lunch bag.

5. Buy a cool lunch container. I’ve gone over this one before, but I’m overly fond of the Bento box containers and the Land’s End lunch sacks. Inexpensive, built for the job, and customizable for the individual. I have a dark purple lunch box for myself. It helps.

What’s in your lunch box? Post a comment below or Tweet away.

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Up next, Kitchen Tool Talk: Three More of My Favorite Things, Reorg Edition.



Filed under Kitchen Philosophy

3 responses to “Rethinking the Brown Bag Lunch

  1. Jenny

    I’ve packed lunches for Junior and my husband. Husband always gets a turkey sandwich w/jarlsberg slices (all ingredients usually from Trader Joe’s) as well as a packet of almonds and an apple. Junior gets a box of milk with a little freezer thingy to keep it relatively cool, some snapea crisps (we love those, although they get greasy in a baggie) a box of raisins, and maybe some graham crackers or Rice Chex. I used to pack string cheese, but it always came back. Oh, and I found little velcroed lunch sacks at Target, 2/$7. They aren’t cute or fancy, but they fit in the fridge overnight, as opposed to the giant purple insulated thing I got for free at a conference once, and would use on the rare occasion someone needed a packed lunch.

    • The Practical Cook

      I love the precision of your hubby’s lunches. And great tip about the lunch bags at Target. I agree, they don’t have to be whizbang, just reasonably sized and appealing to the party at hand.

      Since snapea crisps have been a hit, we’re adding the seaweed snacks to the menu next!

  2. Jenny

    Many times I have almost purchased the seaweed snacks. We went through a pop chips phase (there is a version at TJ’s, too) but found them way too salty. Right after I bought our duo of lunch bags, I saw this at the Gap: If I hadn’t just bought much more economical lunch bags, I would have been tempted. Very cute.

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