Everyone’s busy, especially during the school year. Because of this, school lunches for the kids may consist of a lunchmeat sandwich with chips, an apple or snack cake and a soda. The same may appear in the lunchbox of any adult who takes his lunch to work. It’s quick and easy, but not particularly healthy and it gets boring quickly. To remedy this, try some of the ideas found in the cookbooks mentioned below.
The Healthy Lunchbox by Marie McClendon first discusses finding out children’s tastes and preferences and includes handy checklists of some of the major food groups and one of styles of preparation. McClendon’s title also provides tips for handling lunchroom trading and how to stock the pantry. By creating a lunch packing area in the pantry it becomes easier to train the child to start packing his or her own lunches. A rotating chart of lunches included in this book eases the stress of planning what to have tomorrow. Lastly, there are a number of recipes included. Some are gluten free or dairy free.
Tracy Griffith’s Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love provides recipes for gluten free sandwiches, wraps and sidekicks. Griffith, a fan of zipper bags, promotes pre-prep and using leftovers in the recipes she includes. She is also a proponent of making extra and freezing for later. She will note those items that don’t freeze well. Some of her recipes require specialty wraps but if they’re not available locally she suggests an online site where they may be purchased.
For some ideas from the Canadian side of the border, try Good Food to Go by Brenda Bradshaw and Cheryl Mutch, M.D. They discuss food safe containers, recycling, and buying bulk. They also recommend, as most of these titles do, getting the kids involved in making their lunches. “Good Food to Go” provides sample meal plans and a number of recipes including bangers and mash, lunch box pizza, and chocolate covered frozen bananas. Several appendices are included with such things as pesticides shoppers should be aware of and useful websites.
Best Lunch Box Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford discusses the “brown bag basics” of stocking the pantry and refrigerator with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins and also covers food safety – clean that lunchbox! A “makeover” section shows examples of standard lunches and a few changes to make them more nutritious. Morford then covers planning ahead to make packing a lunch simpler. She even includes some suggestions for a loving touch like writing a joke on the peel of the banana included in the lunch. She also suggests that while packing lunches for the kids, pack one for yourself at the same time as it’s likely to be a better meal than any fast food choice.
If none of these titles answers the need for lunch ideas, then try Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord, Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J. M. Hirsch or Lunch Boxes and Snacks by Annabel Karmel. These titles and others are all available at the Abilene Public Library, so this new year, make your kid’s lunches more memorable with their help!
Article Contributed by Marie Skufca, Information Services Librarian