Okay, so mine are grown up and even though I do prepare the odd work lunch for them (when they are home), there isn’t a pressing need for me to ensure they eat everything.  They are grown ups and I’ve done my part, now it’s up to them!  So, for those of you with little ones, or even those that want some variety with office lunches, here’s a great website with some amazing ideas for lunches.  I track a lot of sites and some of them have pretty creative – but I couldn’t see my kids getting excited over, ideas for lunch, this one has some great ones.  I know I’d eat them!  Yes some are more “adult” appealing, but with so many parent foodies out there, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some child foodies that would enjoy a Quinoa Salad.  I know I’ve seen kids in my Loblaw’s What’s for Dinner class so – there is hope!

It seems like the hottest trend right now is Bento Box style lunches (for kids and grown ups).  Where you get to put things together yourself.  These boxes hold bite sized, finger foods – we all love finger foods.  They are creative, delicious and nutritious.  So run out today – before the madness of the long weekend settles in, and pick up some Bento style lunch boxes.  If you can’t find them, then pick up one larger container (that fits into their lunch bag) and several smaller ones that can hold lunch size amounts of salsa, guacamole, sour cream, tuna/chicken salad, dips, veggies, cut fruit – well you get the idea.  The smaller containers must fit into the larger one for this to work.  It’s important that everything has it’s own compartment.

Once you’ve had a chance to review this blog, then go shopping and pick up some tasty and nutritious food items for them.  They will thank you and you will feel good about what they eat.  I can’t tell you the number of times we found sandwiches still in the plastic wrap or container under the bed or yes, even a desk at school when my guys were little.  Oh they won’t forget as I won’t let them!  The gratifying thing is that one day, if they have kids – I’ll be there smiling away, I know it’s evil, but I think it’s allowed.

Here’s the link – http://greatist.com/health/healthy-bento-box-ideas.  Remember it has to sit in their lunch boxes for about 4 hours before they eat it so nothing that gets soggy please.  Tomatoes are great in a sandwich if eaten right away.  Sitting next to some lettuce or piece of meat or cheese for 4 hours, they become soggy – ooh.  Not a nice thing. Some additional ideas below.  

Take a tortilla wrap – what ever flavor/color/texture they like – layer it with a thin layer of cream cheese or butter/margarine and shredded cheese, slices of chicken, a lettuce leaf or two (this is not a sandwich shop that you need to fill the bun with lettuce) or snap peas, or some other filling, roll it up tight, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight or for a few hours until firm.  Remove, slice into 1/4″ discs – voila – sushi style finger sandwiches.  In one of the smaller containers put some sour cream, in another some salsa, and in another, a diced apple with a sprinkling of brown sugar, lemon and cinnamon – yes just like pie filling.  Guaranteed to be eaten – just make it tasty.

Cut a chicken breast into fingers (or buy it pre-cut), marinate it in a dry rub (what ever the kids like) or lemon, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Grill the chicken pieces or using a non-stick pan fry them until cooked.  Let cool, cover and refrigerate.  The next morning (or later that day), put them in the bento box, add some Ranch dressing (or what ever dressing they like) to one container, chopped lettuce/tomatoes in another, a pita cut into wedges, some fruit chopped.  If using fruits that oxidize such as apples, take a couple of tablespoons of water, add a squeeze of lemon and run the fruit through this bath so it doesn’t lose it’s “appl”ealing colour.

Take some cooked meatballs and a very light tomato sauce – I mean chop up a tomato, sauté it in olive oil, salt and pepper (if so desired a torn basil leaf or two).  Combine the two into one container, in the other chop up some bread into squares, toss in a small amount of olive oil and toast lightly (or using a toaster, toast first, paint lightly with olive oil and then cut into squares), again some fruit etc.  You get the idea.  Compartmentalization is a good thing – embrace it until they are tired of it.  As always – enjoy!