As we get ready to head back-to-school, many districts are encouraging students to bring their own lunches. Every day coming up with lunch ideas can get tiring and monotonous, especially for an entire year. It is important to keep your kid interested in eating their lunch without getting bored. My nonprofit organization, Fare Meals, focuses on helping families find healthy, simple, and budget friendly meal solutions and what kids eat while at school is a big part of that.
Repurposing leftovers from dinner the night before and turning it into lunch for the next day is an affordable practice which helps make your kids’ school lunches more fun and nutritious. It also saves you time and money at the grocery store and kitchen while minimizing waste. We don’t have to stress about our kids finishing their dinner plates since we can transform family dinners into easy nutritious and appetizing lunches. Here are five tips to stretch your dollar and remix your leftovers.
Wrap It Up
Use a protein and a veggie from the night before and put it in a wrap for lunch the next day. For example, you can use chicken, salad, or a slaw from dinner, and add some mayo as the base. Wraps don’t take up a lot of space in the refrigerator, saving your valuable real estate for your other groceries. Wraps can often be more enticing than a sandwich. The structure of a wrap is also more forgiving, allowing you to combine many ingredients, whereas a sandwich often takes more thought. It’s also a great lunch option since it can often be eaten cold.
Add It To Pasta
Take your leftover vegetables and add it to some pasta while tossing it in olive oil. You can also add some cheese for a complete meal. Vegetables can also be added to a sauce to thicken up the pasta while still benefiting from the nutritional value of the vegetables. Depending on the kind of pasta you are looking to make, adding the protein from your dinner before can also help make the meal even more filling.
Stir Frys are great for adding different proteins and vegetables, while experimenting with sauces to update the flavor palate of the meal. The type of sauce can truly make this dish taste entirely different making your kids believe they are having a brand new meal. You can put your stir fry on top of rice, quinoa or any grain of choice.
Make Egg Muffins
A fun hack is using a muffin tin to create different savory or sweet pastries. Use eggs as a base and then experiment with your toppings. Each muffin can have different fillings allowing you to make many options in one go. These muffins can be versatile and a great option for breakfast or lunch.
Make it a Sandwich
It is a simple, traditional choice, but sandwiches can be varied and made more fun depending on your ingredients. For example, you can elevate your cucumber slices by pairing it with cream cheese or add it to a tuna salad. Use your favorite condiment as a base, and continue building from there.
We’ll be breaking down back-to-school meal basics a bit more during an upcoming webinar moderated by doctor and former Real Housewife Tiffany Moon. You can learn more about all our webinar events at FareMeals.org/Events
WRITTEN BYArielle Kestenbaum