Ahh lunch time. I’m sure many of us have seen the photos of wildly creative and time consuming lunches that the pinterest age has blessed us with. If you haven’t, imagine a little box with food shaped like your kids’ favorite movie characters, all laid out in individual wonderfully tidy lunch boxes. They’re honestly pretty crazy. These are not the lunches of our childhood. As a kid I remember many a meal of Campbells chicken noodle soup or boxed macaroni and cheese, along with the usual peanut butter and jelly. For the kids who brought lunches to school, there was a whole lot of bologna sandwiches with little prepacked bags of chips and if you were lucky a twinky. Prior to feeding my family fewer processed foods, lunch for my kids was often similarly made up of mac and cheese, cut up hotdogs, canned soup or sandwiches.
Aside from the boredom of eating these things over and over is of course the very processed quality of these lunches. I suppose I could always spend a bunch of time cooking up a wholesome homecooked lunch – but honestly I don’t have the time, or desire. So here are some of my go to less processed lunch options. Some work best while at home and some work great to send with my son to school.
Cheese Tacos – My kids love these and they’re ridiculously easy. Take a less processed tortilla (either make your own to freeze or Trader Joes has some good ones), add shredded cheese and microwave. I will also send these wrapped in foil in my oldest son’s lunch box. Add some carrots and apples, and it’s a decent and easy lunch.
Pasta with sauce – It occurred to me awhile back that if I was boiling water and making macaroni, there was no reason I couldn’t boil water to make other pasta. Cook up some noodles and add some less processed sauce (either a jarred variety without a bunch of fillers and strange ingredients, or if you make your own sauce, freeze extras). You can even heat the sauce in the pan you used to cook the pasta while said pasta drains.
Homemade “lunchables” – We call these cracker sandwiches and my kids love them. Grab some whole wheat crackers, some uncured lunch meat and pieces of cheese. Super fast and super easy. This also works great for an impromptu picnic. You don’t have to make anything before you go – just remember to bring something to cut the cheese.
Scrambled eggs – Who says eggs have to be a breakfast food. I will make scrambled eggs with some shredded cheese for my two youngest boys’ lunch, and they will eat them up before I can even make my own plate. For me this works especially well on a school day since my oldest boy doesn’t like eggs.
Leftovers – Make a little extra of whatever you ate the night before, and use it up for lunches. I do this a lot for my oldest. He has a small thermos and I will reheat the food in the morning then send it with him to school. He actually gets excited when we have something that he can take to lunch the next day.
What are your go to lunches?