5 School Lunches You Can Make in 5 Minutes
Some parents meticulously pack their kids’ lunches the night before, ensuring a smooth start the next day. I am not one of them. My husband takes our kids to school every morning at 7:30 a.m. And every morning at 7:15 a.m. I start making lunch. “OK, we’re in the No Request Zone,” I’ll announce to all four small fry who are still eating breakfast, not yet even starting to wonder where their shoes are. But with a few handy strategies for banging out healthy lunches in a hurry, we rarely have a lunch-related disaster. (Getting all the kids out the door and buckled into their car seats, however, is another matter. See: shoes.) That’s thanks to this list of reliably quick lunch ideas:
DIY Cucumber Sandwiches: Think Lunchables with a fresh twist. Chop up a cucumber and put it in the lunchbox. Then set a small pile of turkey, ham and/or cheese next to it, and let the kids put together their own sandwiches at lunchtime.
Peanut Butter & Fresh Fruit Wraps: Skip the jam and use diced peaches, strawberries or raspberries on a whole-wheat fajita for a PB&J update our kids love.
Frozen Meatball Skewers: Frozen meatballs get popped into the microwave for 30 seconds before being threaded onto a skewer (or long toothpick) along with a cherry tomato. (For killer meatballs no one can resist for lunch OR dinner, try Ina Garten’s 5-star recipe.)
Easy Pita Pizzas: Use a mini pita as your crust, then pile on any toppings your little ones like. Our favorite combination is simple: olive oil, cheese, spinach and garlic. Heat your pizza under the broiler for 30 seconds before sending it to school as a room-temperature lunch.
Pickle Roll-Ups: Just fold and wrap your favorite deli meat around a miniature dill pickle. And if you happen to slather on a bit of mustard or cream cheese too? Even better. (And if you want to go truly to the next level, try a batch of Alex Guarnaschelli's homemade pickles.)
Charity Curley Mathews is the founder of Foodlets.com: Real Food for Babies, Toddlers & Kids, a contributor to The Huffington Post, eHow, Babble and more. Follow Foodlets on Facebook and Twitter.