Tag Archives: lunch ideas

School Lunches, Revisted

Gentle Readers, multiple times a week, The Practical Cook faces the ultimate challenge: prepping two lunches that are portable, healthy, vegetarian, and able to be consumed in 15 minutes or less. Now, the joy of raising the Juniors as foodies is immeasurable. Conversely, they are incredibly adept food critics.

The ultimate leftover compliment.

The ultimate leftover compliment.

So here are a few tricks we’ve pulled out in the last few weeks. Also for the record, since both Practical Cooks Junior have converted to vegetarianism, we really haven’t partaken of the cafeteria lunch.

School Lunches, Revisited

1. Cheese and Crackers. Serve this with fruit and make everything bite-sized. The Whole Foods bits and pieces bin is a great value for trying new cheeses. It keeps lunch interesting to try different flavors.

Two cheese are better than one. From the bits and pieces bin at Whole Foods, Parmesan and Romano.

Two cheese are better than one. From the bits and pieces bin at Whole Foods, Parmesan and Romano.

2. Hummus and Mini Pitas. Just add baby carrots, celery sticks, or cucumbers. Throw in a fruit leather if you feel crazy.

3. Bagels with Cream Cheese. Half a bagel with cream cheese has been the perfect serving size. Serve with a side of nuts and some raisins.

The Jrs' First New York Bagel

The Jrs’ First New York Bagel

4. Yogurt with Fruit and Granola. The key here is including the toppings separately. Mixing your lunch is very satisfying. I often serve this with nuts or a side of fruit as well.

Apple Walnut Parfait!

Apple Walnut Parfait!

5. Pumpkin Butter and Cream Cheese on Bread. Tis the season! Pumpkin butter is a great peanut butter alternative. Served with kale chips or dried seaweed for balance.

What’s in your lunchbox these days? Post a comment below!

Send your quips, brownies, and good ideas to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Friday, How Skim Is Your Milk?

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Filed under On the Table, Snacks

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.

Send your brown bags to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy