Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back To School: Let’s Pack Lunch!

If you are just joining us, be sure to check out yesterday’s Grab-&-Go Breakfast ideas!  Today – we’re talking lunches.  


Packing a Wholesome Lunch

How we make it happen:

Lunches are most easily packed the night before – during dinner prep.  This saves precious time in the morning.  Each weekend, we also spend time preparing ingredients that will help us make lunches (e.g., pasta, rice, barely, steamed vegetables, bread, yogurt, etc). 

Chicken Salad Sandwich & Green Beans

Tips for making lunches wholesome & healthy:


Recipes for Success:


1) Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

If you are packing a sandwich for lunch, the bread can make or break the deal.  A good, whole grain bread is an excellent way to build a better sandwich. 

If you have enough loaf pans, bake 4-6 loaves at a time of your favorite bread recipe.  After cooling, freeze the loaves.   Take the loaf out of the freezer at least 4 hours before you plan to slice and make sandwiches.  For just the two of us, we cut the loaves in half and freeze them, this way you have really fresh bread at your finger tips each day. 

Simply changing up the bread is a terrific way to make a sandwich seem like a new lunch idea; try a flavored bread (e.g., carrot, sweet potato), a whole wheat English muffin, or a bagel.  Try a bun, apple bread with cream cheese or waffles with cream cheese and jelly.

We recommend: Famous Sandwich Bread, Wheat Buttermilk Bread, Honey Oat Bread, Tomato Basil Bread, Rustic RyeSavory Zucchini Bread, Carrot Bread, Sweet Potato Bread, Apple Bread, Honey Whole Wheat Bagels, English Muffins, 40-Minute Buns or Herby Hoagie Buns

2) Whole Wheat Tortillas

Is your family sick of bread?  Go with a tortilla.  These can easily be made up ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and longer in the freezer. 

Slather on some PB&J, or create a roll-up using spinach, turkey and roasted red pepper spread!  Cream cheese and jelly or cinnamon also makes a nice wrap.  Shred veggies like carrots or zucchini and add those to the wrap.  Or, try a yummy veggie cream cheese. 

We recommend: Whole Wheat Tortillas {excellent with white whole wheat flour too}

3) Excellent Sandwich Fixings

Now that you have a good base bread or tortilla, the fillings you choose can add variety. 

Sure, PB&J or turkey with cheese may be a favorite, but branch out a little bit and try a few new options – we love a roasted veggie & cream cheese spread with chicken, or a grilled chicken wrap stuffed with spinach, tomatoes, & bell peppers.   

We recommend: Roasted Veggie Spread, Simple Chicken Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Egg Salad, Baked Vegetable Sandwiches, Simple Chicken Wraps & Apple Cheddar Sandwiches

4) Soup

Soup is a winter staple in our lunches.  Make up a pot of soup and freeze in single-serving containers. 

Place frozen in your lunch in the morning and it’s ready to microwave at lunch time.  If you don’t have access to a microwave, use a thermos to keep the soup warm.  Pair with whole grain crackers, Olive Garden breadsticks, whole wheat focaccia bread.

We recommend: Lucy’s Amazing Chili, Cheddar Chicken & Rice, Simple Minestrone, Crockpot Chicken Spinach Soup, Crockpot Italian Sausage Vegetable, 20-Minute Lasagna Soup, Minestrone with Spinach or Kale, Roasted Vegetable Minestrone, Zuppa Tuscana, Veggie Cheese Soup, Simple Sausage & Lentil Soup & Crockpot Kielbasa with White Beans. 

5) Rice or Barley Based Dish

These have recently become my favorite lunch! 


You can enjoy them warm or cold, so they are versatile dishes, and enable you to get your grains, protein and veggies all in one dish.  Customize to your family preferences.

We Recommend: Barley with Roasted Vegetables {recipe next week}, Broccoli with Black Beans and Rice, Garden Vegetable Risotto, Creamy Orzo Pasta, Barley & Asparagus Pilaf, Veggie Rice, & Wild Rice Pepper Salad.

6) Pasta Salads

Toss in frozen peas – they thaw slowly and will keep things cool.  Otherwise, use an ice pack to keep things chilly. 

We Recommend: Cucumber & Tomato Pasta, Caprese Pasta Salad {recipe coming soon!}, Macaroni Pasta Salad, Pasta & Zucchini,

7) Leftovers

Making extra for dinner is the easiest way to feed your crew for lunch, especially if they have a microwave.  When you are done with dinner, simply pack up leftovers in lunch containers.  We love leftovers & almost any meal you’ll find here on Finding Joy in My Kitchen will work to eat on day #2. 

We recommend: Lasagna – like our Roasted Vegetable, or Spinach Black Bean, Pasta Dishes – like Butternut Squash Pasta, Goulash, Italian Sausage Spinach Penne, Cheesy Ranch Chicken Casserole, & Pizza Casserole, Rice Bakes – like Brown Rice Bake, Chicken & Brown Rice Bake, Sweet Potato Risotto, Ham & Potato Casserole, & Pizza Pockets

We will talk more about lunch ideas on our healthy snacks day – as many of these ideas cross over with lunches. 

What are your school lunch ideas? 

Share your thoughts in the comments, or join the discussion over on our Facebook page!


  1. yesterday I spent time making lunch items for the week.. I made pizza puffs, pumpkin muffins and ham and cheese ranch roll ups..

    1. Doesn't it make is much easier during the week to spend just a little time prepping? I love your ideas of pizza puffs and ranch roll ups!


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...