Time to leave for school and you don’t have the lunch box ready? You need 5-minute lunches.
The key to making your quickie lunch preparation work is to keep ingredients on hand. Know what your child will eat. While you are pulling things together, keep a balance between proteins, fruits and vegetables, and grains.
- Start with rice or pasta
- Add protein: diced meat or beans
- Add cheese: squares, shredded, or feta chunks
- Add vegetables: diced zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, avocado
- Add salad dressing (keep it vinegar and oil based if the lunch won’t be refrigerated)
- Savory: black beans, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, hummus, eggplant, spinach, cream cheese, pesto
- Sweet: yogurt, applesauce, cream cheese
- Dippers: fruit or cut vegetables, crackers, or tortilla chips
- Bonus for the 6-minute lunch: cut the fruits or veg or cheese into shapes
- The dips above can be spreads as well.
- Spread on crackers or simple cookies, like vanilla wafers or graham crackers
- If the spread will soften the crackers or cookies, keep them separate and add a celery stick for spreading.
Fruit and veg
- Easiest: grapes, blueberries, orange slices (my son asked me to add that one)
- Half fruit cut: apple cut to show the 5-pointed star, kiwi. Colorful and interesting.
- Cut veggies: not just carrots and celery but broccoli, zucchini, and mushrooms
- No time to cut veggies for 4-minute lunch: peas in a pod
- Use different bread
- Tortillas are very easy. Try peanut butter spirals: spread nearly to edge, roll up tightly, then cut into ½” slices. Spirals!
- Nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, wasabi peas
- Raisins, craisins
- Chocolate chips
- Frozen juice or frozen yogurt. Just keep a few in the freezer.
When you clear dinner, pack anything appropriate into small containers that you can easily put into a lunch box.
Especially if lunches aren’t refrigerated, be sure to add a frozen gel pack to keep food cool and out of the bacteria danger zone.