As many times as we’ve taken our lunch to the park or to co-op, I should know plenty of good ideas for nonperishable lunches, right? Well, not exactly. It turns out that my family and I are pretty sick of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with bananas and granola bars every single time we pack up for a day out! Who knew that would happen?
So now, I’m stuck. I need some good, healthy, power-packed nonperishable lunch and snack ideas—especially since park season is just around the corner. I would love to hear everyone’s secret ideas (as well as the not-so-secret ones!), but here are a few that I’ve run across that sound like good choices, too.
Rollups: Cheese or turkey and lettuce rollups with some seasoning sound like awesome sandwich ideas, and they shouldn’t cost a whole lot more than PB&J. (Well, I have noticed that the price of lunchmeat has gone up; has it in your area?) You can add veggies or a spread as long as you keep an ice pack in the lunch box, I think. The FDA says the only sure-fire lunch to keep without spoiling is a PB&J or hard cheese sandwich, though, so this may not make it through a full day at the park.
Fruit and nuts: A lot of people recommend this and I’ve always discounted it as simple snacking or finger food, but really it’s a pretty decent meal between all of the nutrients you can get from mixed nuts and, say, a few apples or pears. The trick, though, would have to be to prewash fruit before packing it and not bringing items you need to slice to eat. Of course, many kids have nut allergies these days, so you want to make sure that you don’t eat them near kiddos who have them—and definitely to not share in such circumstances.
Bagel with topping: I know this sounds sort of gross as a packed item, but I spread cream cheese on a frozen bagel once for a trip to the zoo (with an insulated lunch pack and ice pack, of course). The bagel thawed by lunchtime and tasted really good—so good, in fact, that a zoo chicken tried to take it from me! That said, I’m not going to want cream cheese in the summer months. Ick.
Pasta salad: This old picnic staple might be okay with some tossed parmesan and veggies. The carbs will give my kiddo energy—if she’ll eat them without her beloved Alfredo sauce!