Lunch Box Recipes - MetroFamily Magazine
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Lunch Box Recipes

by Michelle Ann Anderson

It won’t be long before the same scene is played in school lunchrooms everywhere. Kids tentatively open their lunch boxes and bags, peek inside and either breathe a sigh of relief or immediately begin negotiations to trade for something better. Here are some tasty lunch ideas to pack in your kids’ brown bag that they’ll want to eat rather than trade.

In fact, enlisting their help in preparing lunches will increase the odds that they’ll actually enjoy them—just don’t tell them their lunch is healthy!

Hawaiian Bagelwich

Definitely not your typical brown-bag fare—this sandwich is just the right combination of sweet and savory. Pair it with a banana and a handful of macadamia nuts to complete a tropical themed lunch.


  • Small mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Butter knife


  • 3 T low fat cream cheese (plain, onion or herb variety), softened 2 T crushed pineapple
  • 2 ounces diced low fat ham
  • 1 bagel (plain, onion or other savory variety), split


  • Mix together cream cheese, pineapple and ham in a small mixing bowl.
  • Spread cheese mixture onto cut side of bagel half; top with remaining half, cut side down.
  • Wrap in cellophane and pack in an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack.

Turkey Salad Wrap

Wraps are a terrific change from the typical sandwich. The sweet grapes and crunchy almonds provide a nice variety in texture and flavor. This recipe makes one wrap.


  • Quart size zip top bag
  • Small lidded plastic container
  • Butter knife


  • ¼ C diced cooked lean turkey (or chicken)
  • 1 ½ C chopped romaine lettuce
  • ¼ C red grapes, halved
  • 2 T shredded carrot
  • 2 T dried cranberries
  • 1 T chopped almonds
  • 2 T light salad dressing (Ranch or Italian work well)
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla


  • Toss the turkey, lettuce, grapes, carrots, cranberries and almonds in a zip top bag. Place dressing in a small lidded container. Place tortilla in a large zip top bag or wrap in cellophane.
  • Pack it all in an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack. At school, kids can pour the dressing over the tossed salad; zip and toss. Pour dressed salad onto the center of the tortilla; fold into a wrap and enjoy!

Almond Butter Taquito with Apricot Preserves

Almond butter is a great source of protein and a pleasant change of pace from the old standbys. You should be able to find almond butter at your grocery store, near the peanut butter. This recipe makes one taquito.


  • Butter knife


  • 3 T almond butter
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 T apricot preserves


  • Spread almond butter evenly on one half of tortilla to within an inch of the tortilla edge. Spread apricot preserves over the other half of the tortilla.
  • Roll tortilla into a tube shape and wrap in cellophane.

Fun Lunchbox Ideas

Nourish their minds and hearts as well as their bodies with a little bit of home tucked into their lunchbox:

  • Little comedians love a good laugh. Cut a favorite comic strip or write a silly knock-knock joke on note and slip it in their brown bag.
  • On rainy days that prevent outside recess, clip a quick suduko, crossword or word search puzzle and place along with a pencil into their lunchbox to help pass the time cooped up inside.
  • A handwritten note from mom or dad can be a terrific bit of encouragement on a tough day at school.

Besides her two favorite jobs of wife and mom, Michelle Ann Anderson is also a freelance writer, enjoys public speaking, writing cookbooks and sharing her love of food with those around her. Her blog can be found by visiting

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