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Awesome, Healthy Lunches For All!

02 September

This Healthy Lunches video brought up memories of Strawberry Shortcake and Wonder Woman lunch boxes, and trading, or just plain throwing away {sorry, Mom!}, lunches when we were in school.

But as we were re-watching the segment we thought, “Good lunches aren’t just for kids!”

So here are our 3 tips for packing an awesome healthy lunch no matter how old you are.

#1. Deliciousness and eat-ability.

Encourage everyone {kids and adults alike} to eat Real, nourishing Foods by eating the ones that you love.  Even if you don’t have a lot of time for lunch, it can still be enjoyable.

For me and my daughter, that means slices of apple with chunks of Dubliner cheddar cheese are part of lunch {or a good snack}; Rye’s son eats clean deli turkey wrapped around a slice of cucumber {or pickle} – apples work well in those wraps, too.

Did you love dinner?  Put left-overs away in a lunch-suitable container as you clean up, and pull it out in the morning on your way out the door.  Do you hate leftovers?  Deconstruct {or re-construct} the meal so lunch is new, delicious and easy: I make chili into burritos by wrapping it up and adding avocado and yogurt.  Or I crumble burgers onto veggies and lettuce for a new type of salad.

#2. Fun.

For kids fun can mean finger foods {and toothpicks to pick them up with}, fun names {Liz’s husband is the best at this, with top favorite Lunch Names being: “The Haunted Lunch”, “Montana Ski Lift”, and “Suns Over Tattoine”}, or little notes tucked into lunchboxes {my mom used to write on the disposable napkin}.

For you, “fun” might be a tad more sophisticated: maybe treats like a really nice bottle of flavored oil you keep in your desk drawer, or real silverware and a cloth napkin.  Maybe lunch is your opportunity to eat foods on someone else’s sensitivity list: Rye’s son is extremely sensitive to berries, so they’re a treat she enjoys at work.

#3. Balance.

school lunches You and your kids are working hard during the day, both mentally and physically, so NOURISH YOURSELVES!  The old stand-by sandwich, piece of fruit & dessert is heavy on carbs and low on healthy fat and protein.  Keep those components in there, if they work for you {except maybe dessert, the last thing teachers need is a bunch of kids high on sugar}, but add more of the good stuff:

  • olives {healthy fat},
  • nuts & seeds, like pumpkin & sunflower seeds or pistachios {protein & healthy fat}
  • hard-boiled, or deviled, eggs {the ones in the photo were made with plain, full-fat, organic yogurt + sea salt + powdered mustard, instead of mayo}
  • and, of course, veggies: cucumber, roasted sweet potato chunks, celery + nut butter + raisins, zucchini spears, cherry tomatoes, etc.

As long as you keep Fun and Eat-ability in mind too, the sky’s the limit!

Packing lunches is on everyone’s mind {and blog!} right now, but if you think in terms of finger food buffets, re-purposing left-overs, and enjoying your food, you might be able to turn the dread, obligation and waste into something everyone can enjoy!

What are your go-to lunch ideas? 

Herbed Chickpeas
{as seen in the above photo}

1 can chickpeas, or 1 1/2 cups cooked, rinsed and drained
2 – 3 Tb olive oil
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
2 tsp dried herbs of your choice {Herbs de Provence, basil, oregano, dill, paprika, cumin, etc}, OR 2 Tb fresh herbs, minced

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Taste and more of anything to make it delicious to your mouth!
2. Eat as is, or on top of salads, in rice, or any other way you see fit.  They’ll keep in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

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Liz Flint-Somerville, Nutritional Consultant

Liz was a partner in Grub for 3 amazing years and helped author many of our most beloved recipes and posts. She is now dedicating her time to caring for her family, writing poetry, and continuing to cook delicious Real Foods.

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9 Responses to “Awesome, Healthy Lunches For All!”

  1. Kate September 3, 2014 at 3:45 am #

    Great ideas! Kids love little cute novelties with food and these would be easy for them to help pack at night. Fun! Fun! Fun!

    • Liz Flint-Somerville September 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      Thanks, Kate! It’s a great idea to have the kids help with the packing – they’ll probably be more apt to eat it.

      Don’t forget to include the novelties in your lunch, too! 🙂

  2. Kristen September 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Great Ideas! I love salsa chickpeas in lettuce wraps or on top of salads. Can you help me with a few brands/sources for “clean” deli turkey? Thanks!

    • Liz Flint-Somerville September 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      “Salsa chickpeas in lettuce wraps” sound like a 1-minute taco! I’m imagining mixing chickpeas with salsa, adding some fresh cilantro and avocado and wrapping it in a romaine leaf, and it’s making my mouth water.

      Rye’s family most commonly buys Applegate Farms brand of deli meats, but Boar’s Head is a pretty clean brand as well. Anyone else want to chime in with clean meat brands?

      • Kristen September 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

        Thanks Liz!

  3. Makeda September 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Awesome post, Liz! I know my daughter is getting tired of sunbutter and jam sandwiches! Great ideas for some variety

    • Liz Flint-Somerville September 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

      Thanks for writing in, Makeda! The little ones like variety as much as we do!

  4. Paige September 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    keep up the good work!!!

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