TimeOut New York Kids: Back to School Lunch-Box Ideas from NYC Chefs


Big Apple Buddies Lunch Bag from Built NY, $20

Sad but true: Sabbatical’s over, we’re back in Brooklyn, and, apparently, it’s not too soon to start thinking about back-to-school. A fat letter from P.S. 295 was waiting for me when we got home, reminding me how I could be supporting the school over the summer and preparing for the return in September, as well as telling me Magnolia‘s Kindergarten classroom number. Jasper‘s packet can’t be far behind.

So when I saw the TimeOut New York Kids article in the August issue on fresh lunch ideas from NYC chefs, I actually read it rather than tossed it on a pile to think about later.

Our regular PB&J/turkey sammie routine is way tired, and I need a few new, easy ideas to throw into the mix. Let me just say up front that I am NOT making veggie sushi for my kids (as one of the chefs suggested) — it’s just not in the cards.

Here are the ideas I found simple and inspiring, and that I plan to put into use come September.

  • Just say no to sandwiches entirely and pack a whole-wheat pasta salad with veggies.
  • If you do go with that old lunchbox standby — a sandwich — send the various parts separately and allow your kid to assemble them at lunchtime. It makes the meal interactive! And keeps the bread from getting soggy.
  • If peanut butter isn’t allowed at your school, or if your kid doesn’t like it, as Jasper doesn’t, try this instead: Pair softened, unsalted butter with unusual, yummy jams such as wild blueberry, peach, or cherry on good bread. (We also do this sometimes with whipped cream cheese in place of the PB.)
  • Dried fruit is a good substitute for a cookie or something else sweet: popcorn tossed with sea salt and Parmesan is a great swap for processed chips or pretzels.
  • Cube watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe and put them on child-safe wooden skewers. Everybody knows it: Food on a stick is just more fun.

And here’s the full article.


BPA-Free Lunch-Box Solutions for Back to School

Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for Picky Eaters

8 Questions for a Kindergarten Teacher

Differences Between Public and Private School

(Get the lunch box from Built NY)


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