Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas
Once again, its that time of year when children are starting back to school. Growing up, I always loved the start of school because it meant new clothes to buy and new boys to drool over. But other kids – like my son – dread the end of blissful summer days and the start of homework assignments. And I dread the prospect of planning daily lunches that he may or may not eat. So I’ve been on the hunt for new lunchbox ideas and the following are some tips I wanted to pass onto you:
• Use pita bread or tortilla wraps in place of traditional sandwich bread. In addition to typical lunch meats and cheese, you can also include extra “goodies” like lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, etc. I recently snuck tomatoes in a chicken wrap, and both my son and I were surprised at how much he liked them!
• Make kabobs with ham or turkey, cheese, mushrooms, olives, pickles, tomatoes, and other assorted veggies.
• Salsa and chips will definitely be more interesting than a bag of regular chips. Or try cut-up veggies with ranch dressing or pretzels and cheese sauce.
• Jell-O is almost always a hit, especially when it has been molded into fun shapes with a cookie cutter. Don’t forget to include a plastic spoon in the lunchbox!
• Crunchy granola sweetened with raisins and/or chocolate chips are a great alternative to high-fat snacks. I personally prefer to buy mine already made at Chamberlains or Whole Foods, but there is an easy recipe below if you want to make yours from scratch.
• Pack extra snacks if your child is in an after-school program so they will be properly fueled for school and play. Drinks and food generally do not retain a chilled state past 3-5 hours, so make sure they are non-perishable.
TRAIL BARS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS OR RAISINS
These bars make a nice addition to a lunchbox or backpack. They're made with chocolate chips or raisins, nuts, wheat germ, oats, and other ingredients.
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup quick oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/4 to cup semisweet chocolate chips (or raisins)
In a mixing bowl, beat butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flours, and wheat germ. Press mixture into a buttered 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
Stir together the eggs and 1/4 cup brown sugar; stir in almonds, coconut, and chocolate chips or raisins then spread evenly over the baked layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until browned. Score bars while still warm.
Makes about 24 bars.
Source: Southern Foods
Copyright 2007 Charlene Davis