Does The Lunch Hour Taunt You?
Does it stick out its tongue, cross its eyes and dare you to go beyond PB&J sandwiches? No fear, brave friend, this post is for you! Here’s a sneak peek into what I’ll be packing for the potami this year.
Lunch Meat & More
Everyday Lunch Meat
Organic lunch meats are expensive and often contain questionable ingredients, like carrageenan. Though this seaweed-derived additive sounds perfectly safe and natural, it is actually given to mice to mice to induce colitis for the purpose of studying anti-inflammatory medications. (source) The good news is, it’s easy to make delicious lunch meat at home!
This bacon and pork-based recipe from Nourished Kitchen is super easy. Roast beef deli meat is also easier than you’d think to make. I like to make large batches and then freeze them in small increments so I can pull out just what I need for a day.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad
Light, refreshing, and oh-so-easy to prepare, this quick chicken salad is a great way to use leftover roast chicken.
Quick tip: Add some crumbled bacon for extra yum factor.
Wild caught salmon offers brain building omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and astaxanthin, a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Note: Depending on which dehydrator you have 24 hours may yield and overly dry end product, so check on it every once in awhile.
Bacon & Avocado Egg Salad from Food Renegade
Beef Jerky from Gnowfglins
Salmon Dip from Mommypotamus (The photo for this post is really bad, but I’m including it anyway because the actual recipe is one of our personal faves)
Summer Chicken Salad from Mommypotamus
Black Beans with Raw Cheese from Homemade Mommy
Chicken Salad with Sweet Relish from Mommypotamus
I make a lazy version of this Cherry Pecan Terragon Chicken Salad Wrap from Urban Poser with dried cherries or cranberries, dried spices and mayo instead of coconut cream. It. is. awesome.
Get the recipe here.
This recipe from Health Home & Happiness combines brain building omega 3’s and healthy fats to keep kids (or their parents!) full all day long, all rolled up as a bite-sized morsel of creamy goodness.
Want to make your own tortillas? Here’s the recipe I use.
Recipe here: Avocado Salmon Wraps
Grain-free? These wraps from Empowered Sustenance are a great alternative to corn, flour and rice tortillas.
Recipe here: Cauliflower Wraps
(P.S. If you or your little one are avoiding grains, dairy, nuts and/or refined sugar, I highly recommend Lauren’s ebook, Indulge & Heal. It contains recipes for treats like soft fudge cookies, vanilla meringue buttercream, pina colada sorbet and more)
Asian Lettuce Wraps from Home Grown and Healthy
Nori Wraps from Rubies and Radishes
Herbed Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps from Our Nourishing Roots
Nuts & Seeds
Sweet and tart, these homemade Cherry Pie “Larabars” are a favorite with the potami. I love forming them into little heart shapes before packing them into lunch boxes. Get the recipe here.
If your little ones are sensitive to strong flavors you might use a bit less curry, but this is definitely a must try if you love chewy granola goodness!
“A traditional Greek confection, sesame honey candy combines the simplest of ingredients – gently toasted sesame seeds, unrefined sea salt and honey – for natural treat.”
And ohhh, it’s so easy to make! Mix, heat, mold in to shape and voila!
Find the recipe here
Soaked and Dehydrated Mixed Nuts from Mommypotamus
Quick and inexpensive to make, these fermented carrot sticks have a crunchy texture and a slight dill flavor. The potami love them.
Recipe at The Nourishing Gourmet
Another longtime favorite of ours, this carrot salad takes just a few minutes to put together. I dial down the spice a bit for the kids.
Recipe here: Spicy Carrot Salad
It’s a sea vegetable, so it counts! Seaweed is a great alternative to chips, and it’s rich in minerals such as iodine, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper and selenium.
Unfortunately most seaweed snacks are made with canola or safflower oil. Safflower I don’t have a big problem with, but companies often switch between the two depending on what’s cheapest so you never know what you’re going to get. Fortunately, I recently discovered these mineral rich from Sea Snax that use olive oil instead.
Pineapple chips from Gutsy
Banana chips from The Polivka Family
Fermented apple sauce from The Coconut Mama
Apple slices with nut or seed butter
Chips, Crackers, Breads & Muffins
Sprouted Flour Cheddar Crackers
These crackers are a tasty alternative to fish-shaped crackers.
Recipe here: Sprouted Flour Cheddar Crackers
This recipe works well for grain-free families, especially in schools that don’t allow nuts.
Recipe here: Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Crackers
Though I’ve made double and triple batches in an effort to freeze the extras, somehow these always disappear off my countertops! I’ve been assured, though, that they freeze very well, so feel free to grab one as you and the kids head out the door. It’ll thaw just in time for your mid-morning snack!
P.S. They only take 5 minutes to prep.
Coconut chips from Gutsy
Sprouted Whole Wheat Crackers from Cheeseslave
Pizza Poppers from Nourishing Charlotte
Paleo Mini Muffins from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
Soups for Thermoses
Chicken & Gluten-Free Dumplings With Fresh Herbs
A creamy stew featuring fresh herbs, pastured chicken and gluten-free dumplings from Nourished Kitchen.
Recipe here: Chicken & Dumplings
A protein-packed, mineral-rich meal that’s ready in 15 minutes flat.
Recipe here: Egg Drop Soup
Tomato Soup from The Nourishing Cook
Cream of Chicken from Nourished Kitchen
Sweets & Treats
Light and sweet, these macaroons are delightfully packable and fun to share.
Recipe here: Vanilla Bean Coconut Macaroons
Pecan Sandies from Mommypotamus
Homemade Marshmallows from The Urban Poser
Coconut Macaroons from Good Girl Gone Green
Energy Balls from Primally Inspired (I omit the chocolate because of the caffeine – my kids have enough energy already!)
Banana Ginger Bars from Empowered Sustenance
Need More Ideas?
The Healthy Lunch Box: Sandwich-free Secrets to Packing a Real Food Lunch is loaded with strategies to streamline your packing process, stock your pantry with emergency backups for your backups, and send healthy, delicious food in the lunch box, no matter how old your eater is, and there’s not a sandwich in sight.
Whether you need to pack a healthy lunch for work, school, or lunch on the go anywhere, the portable ideas in The Healthy Lunch Box will inspire you to avoid packaged and processed foods and go with the real thing every day.
- Refined Sugar
It also includes tips and strategies to help you plan your lunch box schedule and keep organized.
Do you have a fave packable snack/lunch item? Please share it below!