Memorable Lunches for the Young and Not So Old

Whether you are packing lunch for yourself or the kids or eating at home, lunch is an important meal of the day and is sure better when its easy, healthy and tastes good too. It can be fun too!

My lunches often consist of leftovers. When I cook dinner, I plan for leftovers because they are so convenient and some dishes even taste better the next day. It’s easy to add an extra serving or two to meals that reheat and transport well. Any casserole will work! Reheated meat and veggies will work too. Quiche slices or crustless mini-quiches are a great take-to-work option with perhaps an added salad!

Try These Instead of Sandwiches:

• Leftovers, especially casseroles
• Hummus with carrot sticks and celery
• Burrito, wrap or crepe wrap
• Cheese and Cracker Board with Fruit
• Waffle or pancake sandwich
• Caesar Salad with nuts and fruit
• Romaine Wrap with any filling you like
• Crustless Quiche Slice or Mini Quiches – good at room temp

Try These Extras with Lunch:

• Toasted whole almonds (or any nut) with sea salt and currants
• Dried fruit or whole fruit
• Fruit Salad
• Sweet Potato Rounds – good at room temp
• Mango slices
Kids’ lunches are often more of a challenge. They won’t have the option of reheating, so what to do? And then there are the finicky eaters!!! Kids often won’t try new things either and there may be peer pressure when they get to school.

For many years, I made lunches each night for 6-10 school kids. I did foster care for years and had my own kids and step kids, too. So, I know the challenges!

Perhaps try sandwiches on pita bread, or a nice loaf of sour dough. Or use leftover pancakes, waffles or crepes with your child’s favorite filling.
I used oat flour pancakes for these chicken sandwiches, but peanut or almond butter with jelly would work fine also. For these, I used a regular pancake recipe but substituted oat flour so they are gluten free. I baked the pancakes in a skillet, and then cut them with a “chicken” cookie cutter. Then just fill them with your filling of choice. Using a heart cookie cutter might be nice for Valentine’s Day.
You might test out sandwiches with your kids at home before sending them for school lunches. Just skip the white bread if you can. And because I’m not much of a bread eater, I have searched for alternatives that travel well like sandwiches do. So here it is!!!

If filled properly, burritos/wraps can be a wonderful alternative to traditional sandwiches. You can buy wheat or corn tortillas to use as wraps. I make plantain tortillas that work well as small wraps. Fill them with interesting foods and condiments (perhaps leftovers), roll them up and wrap them in sandwich bags or parchment paper. See my homemade Beeswax Refrigerator Wraps here: even eat oven-baked sweet potato rounds or wedges cold the next day! Wedge or slice potatoes, then rub with coconut oil, add salt and pepper, and ground cumin or chipotle for the adventurous. Roast at 400° until tender. Store in fridge until you are packing lunches. I like them at room temperature!!

Kids can be finicky about spices so trying them at home for dinner can be the best way to introduce new flavors. Have fun and be creative!

Mini Crustless Quiches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together:

• 4-6 eggs

• ¼ C coconut or dairy milk

• 1/8 C shredded parmesan cheese or cheese of your choice (extra for topping)

• salt and pepper or herbs of your choice.

• You can add extras if you like: fresh raw finely chopped spinach, leftover cooked veggies and sautéed onions and garlic

Grease mini or regular-sized muffin tins. Fill each space ½-3/4 full. Top with a small amount of Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until knife comes out clean. Remove from pan after cooling slightly. Store in the refrigerator. For a full size crustless quiche, try using an oiled cast iron skillet. If you are adding vegetables, sauté them first, add eggs, salt and pepper, milk and cheese, then top with cheese and bake until a knife comes
out clean.


Are Oats Gluten Free? “The short answer is YES — non-contaminated, pure oats are gluten-free. They are safe for most people with gluten-intolerance. The main problem with oats in gluten-free eating is contamination. Most commercial oats are processed in facilities that also process wheat, barley, and rye.”

Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the “mad scientist” in the kitchen or loving-up her cat, dogs and hens, she enjoys being the Food Editor for WNC Woman Magazine and volunteering in the community. Check out my Blog on Facebook: Sandy’s Food for Thought 828.273.9755 Your Dream, Our Expertise … Matching People With Property!

Sandy McCall
Written by Sandy McCall