Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brown Baggin' It: Sides

Okay - I'm not THAT creative. I couldn't get an orange to look that awesome to save my life. But there are all kinds of great sides (no carving skills required) to serve up with your kids' sandwiches in their lunch bags! This may seem like I'm stating the obvious, but:
  • Fruits! (grapes, raisins, kiwi, apples, clementines, strawberries... you know these guys.)
  • Veggies! (carrots, celery, peppers, broccoli, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, etc...)
  • Chips! (every variety under the sun, including apple and sweet potato!)
  • Crackers! (grahams, saltines, Goldfish, wheat, cheese-flavored, pretzels...)
Now here's where it gets fun. Serve these things up in unusual ways and they'll be begging for more! Here are a few ideas:

  • Fruit salad! (yummy, yummy...) If your kids like one fruit, they'll love a mish-mash of fruit even more. Throw some grapes, strawberries and orange slices together with some pomegranate seeds in a ziplock baggie. Just use whatever they'll eat.
  • Make a trail mix with a variety of dried fruits: raisins, craisins, apricots, apples, coconut, dates, mango, bananas, etc. Check out the bulk foods section of your local natural foods store for a plethora of choices!
  • Fruit dip or dipping caramel can be sent in a small disposable container along with your fruit. (BTW, Does anyone really throw away those disposable containers? NOT ME! Just curious.)
  • Apples can be cored and then filled with peanut butter. Tasty!
  • Fruit kabobs. Love 'em!
  • One word: DIP.
  • Fill some celery with peanut butter or cream cheese. You can even top with raisins for the ever-popular "ants on a log". Those are some mighty big ants, though. They look more like... never mind.
  • My favorite: Cukesicles! One year we had an over-abundance of cucumbers in our garden. No one wanted to eat them until I found this idea in a Family Fun magazine: Peel them, cut them in half, and insert a popsicle stick. Voila! A cukesicle. Suddenly, my kids liked them. Their friends even wanted one. Too bad zucchinisicles didn't work out.
  • Send some "lunch money". I read this one in a magazine, too, but can't remember which one. Cut some vegetables in circles (carrots & cucumbers are good) and put them in a baggie labeled "lunch money". I had to write: "Veggie coins = lunch money" and then my kids thought it was funny. You do what you gotta do.
  • Veggie kabobs! Who doesn't like vegetables on a stick?
  • Back to the trail mix idea: just mix what you've got in your pantry for an instant Salty Salad! (Who says your kids won't eat salad?!)
A few other non-dessert sides:

  • mandarin oranges
  • applesauce with sliced bananas (Try it! YUM!)
  • salsa (fruit or veggie type)
  • guacamole
  • yogurt (freeze it, by lunchtime it will be ready to eat)
Now you want to know about desserts, right?

I bet you do.

Have you ever heard the saying, "Good things come to those who wait?"


Oh, and p.s! If you want recipes for anything I've mentioned so far, let me know. I'm doing lunchtime brown-baggin' it recipes in 2 days.


Rebecca said...

My mom never got creative w/ veggies. I'm pretty sure I can truthfully say I had carrot sticks in every lunch she packed. And I ate them! Without dip! Crazy!
Variety wasn't all that important to me, apparently, because eventually I made my own school lunches and it was the same every day: a bagel with pb&j. And whenever I had spare change, I'd buy dessert: always, the ice cream cookie sandwich, with little mini chocolate chips pressed into the edge of the ice cream. I still love those things!

Chelle! said...

What time was that again? (You know, to pick up my lunch)

Panama Jones said...

I loved the "cukesicle" but your lament on the "zuchinisicle" not catching on made me laugh out loud.