As we get closer to August, parents tend to start preparations for the new school year to begin. These lunchtime ideas are easy to whip up in the morning (or the night before)—and guaranteed to be a hit in the cafeteria.
Herbed Cream Cheese and Cucumber Bagel Sandwiches
Try this twist on a bagel sandwich from Bon Appetit for the fanciest of school lunches. Spruce up whipped cream cheese with shredded carrots and radishes, chopped tarragon and dill before spreading the mixture onto a whole-wheat mini bagel. Finish with slicing a cucumber into small thin strips and arrange on top of the open-face bagel.
Orecchiette with Roasted Broccoli and Walnuts
This simple pasta salad from Real Simple —it’s just noodles, broccoli, walnuts, and a few seasonings—can be made the night before and served hot or cold. Customize the dish for your kids with their favorite kind of pasta, whether it’s spirals or bow ties or flamingos (exotic!)
Take-to-School Taco Bar
Put that compartmentalized lunchbox to good use! Round up a few soft flour tortillas, some thinly sliced roast beef, and your kiddos’ favorite taco toppers, like shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and hot sauce. For a speedier solution, opt for store-bought salsa and guacamole.
When making breakfast over the weekend, sneak in an extra batch of whole-grain waffles and store them in the freezer. On hectic days, grab 2 out of the freezer and stick them in the lunchbox with healthy toppings such as blueberries, strawberries, and pistachios. For a special occasion, swap in sweeter toppings, like chocolate chips or Nutella.
Mini Pitas with Leftovers
No matter what you had for dinner last night, any unused portions can be stuffed inside a pita for an easy and tasty next-day lunch. Chicken, meatloaf, and roasted vegetables are all perfect for turning into hearty fillings. No leftovers? Fresher options include tuna, egg salad, and a mix of raw veggies.
No matter what is inside, a cool lunchbox is a must-have. Not only can you score major points by selecting a lunch tote with their favorite team or superhero, make sure to choose an insulated lunchbox to keep lunch at the appropriate temperature until kids hit the cafeteria.