9 Fresh Ideas for Winter School Lunches

Without the allure of new lunchboxes, packing lunch this time of year can get tedious, so one mom is stepping it up with new ideas.

By: Foodlets

OK, I admit it: I was a little relieved when school started again after the winter break. The house will be quiet again, I thought to myself. The house will be clean again. (In both cases, the “at least for a little while” part is implied, but you parents knew that.) In the midst of all this reflection, though, I forgot about something: packing lunches.

Without the allure of new lunchboxes, packing lunch this time of year can get tedious, so we’re stepping it up. Here are a few of our favorite ideas, including new things to try ourselves.

1. Embrace the Skewer: Chop up your kids’ favorite sub-style sandwich ingredients into big bites, then thread them onto a bamboo skewer, like what's pictured above.

2. Amp Up Your Cheese and Crackers: Instead of a sandwich, serve cheese and crackers, but do it antipasto style by tucking in a couple of cheeses, one favorite and one new variety. Then add turkey lunchmeat and a couple of slices of salami.

3. Serve Soup: What’s more comforting than a thermos of hot homemade soup? We’re trying this 10-Minute Tomato Soup recipe ourselves. (P.S. Send a few crackers to add on the spot.)

4. Roll It: Or roll up the sandwiches like sushi. There’s one quick trick to it, and our kids cheer every time.

5. Think Beyond Chips: Kids like a salty side dish? Try crunchy mini dill pickles and big green olives.

6. Sandwiches 2.0: Buy buns, bagels or rolls instead of regular bread. Want to go DIY? These bread-machine rolls are a staple at lunchtime.

7. Consider Shapes: Invest in a couple of cool tools, from veggie cutters to sandwich shapers. These are an instant way to add fun.

8. Make Muffins: Homemade mini muffins are the greatest way to round out a lunch. (They're a not-too-sweet treat that’s also a perfect snack.) I pack mine full of good-for-you ingredients and store them in the freezer. We love these no-sugar banana muffins year-round.

9. Take-to-School Taco Bar: For next-level lunches, try packing up all the fixings for a taco to go.

Charity Curley Mathews blogs at Foodlets.com: Mini Foodies in the Making…Maybe

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