It’s that time of year when the back-to-school commercials are flooding your television screen, reminding you that, too soon, your family’s relaxed summer schedules will be quickly traded for early, hectic school mornings. One of the most monotonous tasks that comes with the back to school grind is packing school lunches for your little locavores. The tired peanut butter and jelly sandwich can sometimes leave a child disappointed. The classic deli meat and cheese will most likely return home with one or two nibbles taken from it, and the rest untouched by your energy depleted child. If the struggle to provide innovative and enticing homemade school lunches for your kids is familiar, we have some ideas to inspire your back to school lunches and leave your kids sustained and satisfied!
Using local ingredients to make school lunches is a great way to ensure optimal flavor while supporting local businesses and passing on the philosophy of eating locally to your little locavores. Coming up with new lunch ideas doesn’t mean you have to eliminate that classic sandwich entirely, it just calls for some inspired new additions. One way you can switch up the sandwich is to use locally baked, fresh bread. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, try making homemade bread with local ingredients yourself! You can even involve the kids by taking them with you to the farmer's market to pick out locally made bread, or have them help you bake your own! If wheat bread is your family’s go to, give this recipe a shot!
Now that you’ve got some delicious, local bread as a base for yummy school lunch sandwiches, think about new ingredients that will delight your kids’ taste buds. Cobb salad is always a crowd pleaser and a great way to use tonight’s dinner leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch! Grab some local ham, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, your family’s favorite greens, and cheese from the farmer’s market, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a delicious cobb salad sandwich. Just hard boil and slice the eggs, assemble the ingredients onto your homemade or locally bought bread, and you have a delicious school lunch that will keep your children smiling, as well as show support for locally grown food! If you’re looking to add a flavorful condiment, but want to avoid overused mayonnaise and mustard, try this recipe for fresh avocado spread.
Another great lunch box item that will have all your kids’ friends wishing you packed their lunches are homemade chicken nuggets. Flavorful and kid friendly, this recipe for homemade chicken nuggets is not only a knockout for innovative school lunches, but it’s a protein filled meal without the grease that comes with the fast-food versions. Just make sure to buy your chicken breasts from a local producer, and you have a sustainable lunch that will teach your kids that local eating is synonymous with delicious eating.
The back to school grind doesn’t have to be dreaded when we add a little (local) spice into our daily routines. Utilizing local resources school lunches is not only beneficial to your community, but also provides great ways to spend time together as a family. When you bring your kids to the farmer’s market, you can let them pick out new, locally produced ingredients they want to add into their school lunches. Check out our Farmers Market List and find the one nearest you!
If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for another fun, stimulating activity to do with your kids, you can try growing your own produce to incorporate into lunch time sandwiches, wraps, and more. Check out Lubbock Master Gardeners Facebook page for tips on growing your own fruits and veggies.
Use your imagination, get your kids involved, and you’ll be sure to make taking local lunch to school cool!