Shaking up the brown bag equation

Tomorrow is only October 1st and the monotony of making school lunches is already wearing on Moms everywhere. Many, like me, find making a brown bag lunch every school day to be it’s own special form of torture. The morning race and juggle- waking kids, feeding kids, dressing kids, gulping caffeine-is exhausting enough on its’ own. But, then, when you layer on making another meal at the same time…UGH! Oh, and it has to be nut free, so hold those PB&J sandwiches for the weekend. Looks like it’s another turkey and mayo sandwich again with an apple…it’s only the fourth day in a row so Johnny won’t mind…

Last Spring, after months of monotony, I began playing with the brown bag equation. I truly thought I was going to combust if I sent in one more bagel or ham sandwich. I forced myself to think outside of the box- and my children loved me for it. The crazy thing was, shaking up the lunch routine did not take more time in the morning. A little bit of advance thinking, yes; but, no added ground time was needed to make a cooler, hipper, more interesting lunch. So, without further adieu, here are my brown bag lunch ideas in no particular order.

• Thermos- Get a small thermos. It is perfect for soups or pasta. I heat the thermos with hot water before filling it so that the container holds the heat until lunchtime.
• Soup or Chili- Make a favorite soup or chili and freeze it in small containers for individual defrosting in the microwave.
• Pasta- Leftover pasta microwaved in the morning and put in a thermos is great at lunch-or so my kids tell me!
• Frilly toothpicks for girls. I send cut up fruit in Tupperware with frilly toothpicks. Julia adores that!
• Mini sandwiches- Make a favorite sandwich and use a cookie cutter to give it a makeover!
• Fruit skewers- Similar idea to the frilly toothpicks- again a homerun.
• Wraps- Turkey, ham, whatever. The great thing about wraps is that you can usually sneak in a tomato or so and maybe even some lettuce without getting caught.
• Salads- If your child likes them (Julia does) a Tupperware container with a lightly dressed green salad with chicken is a fun change.

So there you go. A few ideas to spice up the lunch drill. If you have some fab ideas as well, please comment and let me know. This is one area where we all need all the help we can get!

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