5 lunchbox ideas that don't involve sandwiches

ByKat Cosley KGO logo
Saturday, August 22, 2015
5 lunchbox ideas that don't involve sandwiches
We've come up with a week's work of inexpensive lunch ideas that are both quick and healthy for kids who are tired of eating the same old sandwiches.

HOUSTON -- We've come up with a week's work of inexpensive lunch ideas that are both quick and healthy, and none include sandwiches.

Busy mom Pranika Sinha starts prepping for the week on Sunday. She says giving her girls a choice in what's on the menu helps ensure that they will actually eat the food she prepares.

Since her girls aren't sandwich eaters, Sinha's go-to lunches include a mix of cold items, consisting of three fruits and veggies and one hot item, which takes about 5-6 minutes to prepare. She packs the cold items the night before and microwaves the hot items before adding it to the lunch box in the mornings.

Lunch #1

- Green grapes and blueberries

- Packaged yogurt smoothie

- Cheese

- Orzo

Put a pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, add 1/2 lb of orzo pasta. Boil until al dente (about 9-10 minutes). Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine 1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed) with 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil, juice of 1/2 large lemon, 1 teaspoon sea salt , 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Add in 1/4 cup of green onion, minced. Once orzo is finished cooking, drain and add to the large bowl and combine with other ingredients. Serve immediately and the leftovers are even better!

For a different variation on the orzo, click here.

Lunch #2

- Peas (Sinha's kids like their peas really cold, so they add them frozen in the morning)

- Sliced cucumber

- Chopped watermelon

- Slices of pepperoni

- Pearl couscous with mushrooms and onions

Use a 6 ounce box of pearl couscous and cook it according to package directions, substituting vegetable broth for the water and adding 1 tsp of olive oil. It takes a few minutes for the broth to boil and about 10 minutes for the couscous to cook, once added. In the meantime, chop 2/3 cup of baby bella mushrooms or your favorite variety, 1/2 cup onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Saute these for about 5 minutes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat with 1 tsp of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add the sauteed mixture to the couscous for about the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time.

Lunch #3

- Cheese

- Cantaloupe

- Sliced cucumber

- Frozen peas

- Penne pasta

For the penne, cook the pasta according to the package directions, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and top with parmesan cheese after heating it up for the lunch box.

Lunch #4

- Sliced apple

- Slices of pepperoni

- Quinoa with steamed broccoli and carrot slices

For the quinoa recipe, you can substitute vegetable broth for the water if you would like extra flavor and protein. For other quinoa ideas, click here and here.

Lunch #5

- Leftover rice and beans

- Whole strawberries

- Cherry tomatoes cut in half

- Sugar snap peas

For additional recipes and kid-friendly meals that Pranika has made, click here.

Jill Jarvis from Big Kid Small City also has some fun lunch box ideas.