After many years of meal planning and making lunches, my family and I have decided to shake things up for our upcoming back to school and work lunch routines: we’re eating more fruits and vegetables and trying out different food combinations and ingredients.
Recently, I sat down with my high school daughter, who prepares and takes lunch every day, and my husband, who brings lunch to work a few times a month, to discuss new and fun ideas.
My daughter tested these lunches when she was at her summer day camp job and my husband enjoyed the leftovers from the photo shoot – yup, all the meals got a thumbs up!
We’re also making a conscious effort to include reusable, BPA-free items rather than single-use plastic. This is made easy by all of the innovative containers from one of my favourite stores: Kitchen Stuff Plus.
Here are the 7 lunches we’re enjoying:
1. Bistro box on the go
Putting together eggs, cheese, crackers, and fruit/nuts in a box takes no time. This lunchbox with two compartments is perfect, but you can also use a bento box. My husband loves this because there are lots of little things to choose from. And my daughter loves the special fruit container with a built-in basket to keep fruits like strawberries dry.
2. Hot food combo
My daughter likes hot meals: soups, pasta, beans and rice, and veggie chili. The Thermos Funtainer Insulated Food Jar shown is the perfect size (290ml). Add chips and cheese in a slim box and keep them on an ice pack until it’s time to eat the chili. The chips stay crisp and intact. Note the glass water bottle with infuser where you can add any fruits or veggies, like the cucumbers here, to flavour your water.
3. Spinach and chicken salad in a box
On busy mornings, I reach for boxed salad greens and sliced pears and put them in the bottom part of this double-layered bento box. The top compartment can hold chicken or other wet vegetables to add at lunchtime. The small round containers hold Parmesan cheese and dressing.
4. Chicken greek salad with avocado dressing in a jar
The salad in a jar is my daughter’s new favourite lunch. Use a thick dressing at the bottom to keep the salad from wilting. For the avocado dressing shown here, place one ripe avocado in a mini-chopper and add lime and orange juice, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper. Then layer cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, olives, feta cheese, and chicken, leaving room at the top. When it’s lunchtime, shake the jar and enjoy a very tasty and filling meal!
5. The wrap combo
This wrap is made with boxed spinach and sliced chicken that is meal-prepped earlier. You can include hummus or avocado in the wrap. To keep the wrap on theme, there’s guacamole and salsa in separate containers for dipping the wrap. Veggie sticks and dip complete the meal.
6. The customizable sandwich
Sandwiches are one of our favourite options. Usually, they include cheese and some kind of deli meat. My husband likes tomatoes, but doesn’t like them in the sandwich because it makes the bread soggy. That’s why this little Locksy lunchbox is perfect (and so is this yogurt container with a built-in freezer top).
7. Leftovers for lunch
I love ordering extra take-out dinner food to use in the next day’s lunch! We do this with falafel, and I make my own Israeli Salad at home as a side dish. The next day, these little pita pockets are the right size to fit in this flat box and the little containers perfectly hold tahini and Israeli salad that can be added to the pitas at mealtime.
I hope these lunch ideas have inspired you to try something new for the upcoming school year!
Israeli Salad Recipe (Serves 4)
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- 2 mini cucumbers
- ½ medium onion
- 10 pieces of parsley
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
- Pepper to taste
- Core and seed the tomatoes and chop into ½ inch pieces. Do the same with the cucumbers and onions. Finely chop the parsley.
- Add the olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper and mix.
- Let sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
- The key to making this salad is using enough salt to bring out the flavors of the vegetables!
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