It happens every morning. Your children file into the kitchen like little soldiers—first, to demand their breakfasts and then, to sneak a glimpse of their meager lunches being haphazardly tossed together into a brown paper sack. Their collective sighs of disappointment begin the daily battle.
And let’s face it—they’re right. Your lunches just don’t pass muster. In fact, they are sorely lacking in any kind of thought or creativity and, if they haven’t been traded up, will eventually be returned to you at the end of the day— sour, soggy and untouched.
Fortunately, it is possible to compile a working repertoire of healthy, appetizing lunches that are easily and quickly prepared.
Read on for 10 days of no-fuss, good-for-you lunches that will keep any hungry recruit happy and healthy:
Day One: Start off the week with a nacho “surprise” by packing a small bag of reduced-fat tortilla chips with a small plastic container filled with light sour cream or cheese sauce topped with salsa. Throw in some carrots, ranch dressing for tasty dipping and a box of sweet raisins for dessert.
Day Two: Fill a pita pocket with cheese and lettuce for a delicious alternative to the sandwich. Add a side of honey-glazed graham crackers for snacking and orange or watermelon wedges for a sweet finish.
Day Three: Mix a bagel and cream cheese and some pretzels together for a surprisingly good combination. Complete the meal with a cup of fresh peaches.
Day Four: Spice up your standard peanut butter fare with sliced bananas sandwiched in between. Toss in some bagel crisps and a vanilla pudding cup and they’ll be good to go.
Day Five: A sliced tomato sandwich on a sourdough roll is a refreshing change from the usual garden variety. Follow up with some string cheese sticks and crispy cinnamon apple chips.
Day Six: A pita pocket stuffed with avocado and alfalfa sprouts is a cool, crunchy delight on a warm day. Add some trail mix for munching and a cup of naturally sweetened applesauce for a satisfying dessert.
Day Seven: Here’s something different. A cheese quesadilla—even when served cold—is great when dipped in a side of ranch dressing. Cucumber slices would be a perfect addition. Add some chilled grapes to complete the meal.
Day Eight: A cheese sandwich can humor even the toughest critics! Toss in some celery sticks with a swipe of peanut butter and then top off the lunch with fruit sweetened cookies as a real treat.
Day Nine: For a little variety, try substituting a blueberry or bran muffin for the usual sandwich. In fact, you can make a batch of muffins, wrap them individually and put them in the freezer for the week. Just pop one in the lunchbox in the morning and it will be defrosted by lunchtime. Throw in some chilled, non-fat yogurt with a granola bar for dipping.
Day Ten: Try this—a bagel with a grape jelly spread, cheese-flavored rice cakes and apple wedges with a side of caramel for an extra dollop of sweetness.
If these ideas for quick and easy bag lunches seem simple—they’re supposed to be. The best part is you can mix and match all of the goodies for even more variety. Don’t hesitate to add your own personal touches to these great eats for enhanced appeal and flavor.
Have some great lunch ideas of your own? Share them in the comments section below!
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.