Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lunchbox Cuisine

Yup, it's that time of year when parents start fretting about what to put in their little and not so little ones lunch boxes.Making a filling and taste grabbing mid day meal is tough. Will they like it or trade it for something better? The key is to keep them smiling with some fun foods that are packed with flavor.

Before you pack , ask yourself what does my kid like? If he or she is into Mexican, think about a small cup of guacamole and whole wheat tortilla chips. Avocado is great for growing bodies, thanks to the presence of good fats. Add tomatoes and onion and its' packed with even more antioxidants and vitamins. A taco salad is a lunchbox surprise. You can take the ingredients from last night's tacos or cut up chicken or beef  cold cuts along with crumbled tacos and mix with sliced tomatoes, onions and lettuce. Dress with hot sauce and shredded cheese or mix the taco sauce with mayo for a south of the border take on French dressing. If you have a Francophile, then think baguettes spread with Brie and tomatoes or sliced apples.A pan bagnat is a yummy treat and easy to make.It is packed with flavor from pitted kalamata olives and Dijon mustard. The recipe calls for hard boiled eggs but you can sub in tuna in olive oil for protein. Just good cold cuts on a baguette is a lunch treat  that anyone would enjoy.

Of course parents want to add a good dose of healthiness to their kids lunch boxes.Do this in the form of  julienned carrots and peppers along with celery sticks. These make perfect dippers for Greek yogurt zinged up with   a squeeze of lemon or lime. Other good dippers? Pretzel sticks and Melba toast.  These are neat surprises for those baby snackers who like nibbles more than actual meals. Toasted pita chips and the Indian bread naan  cut up are also great for dipping into hummus. This last may be a hard sell for some kids. After all it's this squishy, mustardy colored gook that may make some young foodies flinch and grimace. It's easy to make at home and you just need some chickpeas, along with olive oil and lemon.. To give it a lighter color add a 1/4 cup of cannellini beans. Peanut butter is another great dip or spread. Instead of buying it , try making it at home.It's pretty easy to do  thanks to  food processors. You can add chocolate to it for a take on Nutella.or add a dash of honey for some sweetness.

Lunchbox cuisine is simple to maneuver hrought if you know your kids' likes and dislikes. Zest it up with some different foods now and then, Add a dip to shakes things up or a favorite food for comfort. You'll get an A for effort from your choosy little foodies.

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