Photo and text by Lindsey Johnson. Intro by Gabrielle.
INTRODUCTION: I am so excited to announce a new column here on Design Mom! Now that we’re back from France and making lunches is once again a big part of our morning routine, I thought it would be fun to share a series of lunch box menus. We’re only a month into school and I already need inspiration! Once the idea was hatched, I turned to Lindsey right away. Lindsey is the mother to three school-age kids, so she knows how challenging it can be to come up with ideas for packed lunches. And she’s a genius with both food and photography — a perfect fit for this column! In addition to menus, these posts will also feature lunch products we’re loving (like bento boxes or reusable snack bags). Without further ado, here’s Lindsey:
I have several goals in mind when I’m packing a lunch for my kids — it needs to be healthy, fun/interesting, and kid-friendly. My kids only have a few minutes to down their lunch before it’s time to head back to class. So for this first menu, I’ve added in some healthy favorites that are easy for little hands to hold and eat while they chat with their friends. No spoons or forks needed!
– Turkey Wrap – large tortilla spread with a thin layer of cream cheese and a single layer of: deli turkey, baby spinach, sliced fresh tomato
– Fresh raspberries
– Cucumber “chips”
– Homemade granola bar (here’s a recipe link, or you could purchase some at the grocery store)
– When I make wraps with tomatoes, I always remove the seeds. It keeps the wrap from becoming soggy.
– I also make them the night before and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. This keeps the wrap from falling apart. You can even make them 2-3 days ahead of time. They keep really well this way.
– Little silicone cups and blue box from IKEA (I couldn’t find the blue box on the U.S. site, but in store it was $3.99 each.)
35 thoughts on “Lunch Menu #1”
I am miles away from you guys but can still use some of your ideas! I have sandwich/wrap things all mastered but I need some fresh idea on soup/stew or something warm for my kids , but still not to kid unfriendly!!!
We have some great ideas for warm packed lunches. Stay tuned!
Great new series idea! We homeschool but sometimes it’s just easier to make lunches the night before and I could always use more ideas on how to keep them interesting – a little less pb&j :)
I don’t pack lunches for my little one (yet), but I’m a grad student and I’m always looking for new meals for ME! This wrap sounds delish, and the ingredients are already in my fridge. Love this column already!
Perfect timing! My daughter just started kindergarten, and I’m having a ball making her lunches. But after just a few weeks, I find myself on repeat already. I’m so glad I’ll be able to come to one of my favorite blogs for inspiration! Thank you!
I don’t have kids, but this is great for me! I’ve started working from home so it’s helpful to have new lunch ideas.
Yay! I need lunch inspiration. Thank you, Lindsey and Gabrielle!
Lindsey, I was just eyeing that lunchbox at IKEA yesterday. I passed because it seemed like it might be a little difficult for my 1st grader to open. That lid is really tight! I’m curious if you have a little one using it, and what your experience has been. Thanks for the fun ideas!
That’s a good point, Becca. It does seem like it might be trickier to open for smaller hands. My kids haven’t said it was too difficult for them, but they are a little older. I’ll have my little one give it a try for me and see how it works for her. Great question!
Major kudos for starting this column, ladies! I was just thinking the other day, “I should email Gabrielle and ask her to start a lunch column”–my five year old just started kindergarten so I am entering in the foray of make-at-home lunches.
I have an idea for Lindsey and all the other parents that do lunches regarding how to pack leftovers and keep them warm: (courtesy of my sister, mother to four and the queen of at-home systems)
Get a smaller Thermos — 4″ in diameter. In the morning, heat water in hot pot. Pour in THermos to warm it up for a few mins. Heat leftovers in microwave. Dump out water from Thermos, and put in leftovers. Seal. Put in lunchbox. Add warmed pita bread wrapped in foil, then plastic, then paper towel/rag to keep warm.
Haven’t tried this myself yet, but have a Thermos in my Amazon cart for purchase soon. Can’t wait to hear more!
I use those thermoses (is that a word?) all the time in packing lunches but never thought to heat IT up that way. What a genius idea!
Thank you so much, Nora! Such a great tip. We’re all applauding right now.
I use that exact method of warming up my daughter’s small Thermos before filling it with re-heated leftovers. It works wonderfully!
Oh, you *know* my kids are having turkey wraps for lunch tomorrow. God bless you, friend!
PS: I’ll use Laughing Cow Light (the “triangle cheese,” as we call it) instead of cream cheese. My kids love the flavors.
Ah, yes. My girls love that cheese too. :)
Yah! I’ve been waiting for this column ever since it was hinted at a while back! Just took a peek at the granola bar recipe-looks good. Any thoughts on what can be substituted for peanut butter besides butter? (We have a peanut and nut-free school.) Looking forward to this column :)
JenG, try sunflower seed butter. Our school is nut and peanut-free as well, and “sun butter” is what I’ve always used for my daughter’s sandwiches. I don’t personally like the taste much, but she thinks it’s just fine. It’s a similar consistency/buttery-ness to peanut butter, and might substitute well in a no-bake recipe. I have no idea how it might be affected if used in a baking recipe.
Love this wrap idea–I’ll be trying something similar with my daughter’s beloved roast beef.
Introducing sunflower seed butter early worked well in our family. We started feeding it to our daughter when she was two and she happily ate it (and peanut butter as well). Some of our friends tried introducing sunflower seed butter at a later age when their kids got to a nut-free Kindergarten, and it was difficult for the kids to accept it — they much preferred peanut butter.
Ok, will you be covering what the BEST water bottles and lunch boxes and other containers are? Because I’m desperate for this information.
Also, lunchtime meal ideas. What a godsend! Even for those of us with just toddlers (or for us!!). Thank you!
I can’t tell, but if you had to carry your lunch in a backpack, would everything end up on its side, and not so appealing in this lunchbox? I seem to have an issue with what to pack due to the restrictions of being in a backpack with books all day and also not wanting it to be messy when they take it out or they won’t eat it….any container suggestions?
I totally get you on this! The way this is “packed” is more of just a suggestion. There are so many different lunch box options. I recently came across some great reusable containers from Rubbermaid that are really lunchbox friendly. It’s their Lunch Blox line and the containers fit well together and in the coordinating lunch bag. (Here’s a link: http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?CatName=FoodStorage&SubcatId=LunchBlox&Prod_ID=RP092020&Redirect=1)
I’ll be sharing more info about this as we go along too! Thanks for the comment!
Try the planetbox. It’s really the best lunchbox ever! My daughter’s lunch sits sideways all morning, and it never gets messed up.
How do you include the milk? Small (disposable) carton? Seems like a simple question, but I’m trying to figure out lunches for the first time myself. Anything non-water seems to gunk up the little bottles, but I’d like to avoid extra trash …
Thanks for your tips!
JenG, bless your heart for asking this question. Sunflower Seed Butter makes a great peanut batter substitute. Its made out of sunflower seeds and has the same consistency and a similar flavor to peanut butter.
All, please do not send nut/peanut products to schools. These days 1 out 13 children has food allergies and many of them are serious. 25% of all first time allergic reactions are happen in school! Let your children enjoy their nuts and peanuts at home, where no one would be harmed by this.
Oh, thank you! This is the best timing. We’re only a few weeks in to first grade and I’m already finding myself looking for more ideas. With only 15 minutes for lunch, I’m trying to learn what things can be eaten quickly together. The lunch I sent of a baguette slice, cheese, salami and carrot sticks would have been fine at home but took too long to chew for school.
We’ve been using the Oots lunchbox which stacks everything vertically in their own lidded containers and have loved it so far.
I’m loving the Thermos idea! I have one daughter who has decided to veto anything resembling a sandwich/wrap, and another who is fighting me on whole fruits and veggies because they “take so long to eat.” Soup, here we come!
I’m always looking for lunch ideas. Thanks!
So excited for this column! We need some adventure in our lunch making routine :)
I love this column. My kids don’t take their lunches to school any more. But I’m going to use your ideas when packing lunch for myself for work!
What a fantastic idea for a column! I’m usually looking for inspiration by day 3, which is so unfair to the kids. I mean, they can only eat PB&J so often right? I don’t know why I’ve never tried wraps in the boxes, but I’m sure they’ll love them!
my kid isn’t school age yet, but i’m stealing these ideas for my own school lunches! (i’m a teacher :)
ugh. Not enjoying packing the lunches, but happy that my kids get good home food during their school day. Glad you’re doing this series.
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