Top Chefs Offer Tips for Packing Fun School Lunches

October 8, 2017 4:04 pm Last Updated: October 10, 2017 7:20 pm

It’s only October, but if packing the kids’ lunchboxes has already become a daily chore, take a few clever tips from these chefs.

Alex Guarnaschelli

Alex Guarnaschelli. (Courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli)

Let your kids make lunch with you so they can experience new things and grow a love for cooking. It’s a good way to bond and experiment.

Always include a treat in your kid’s lunch as a form of encouragement in the middle of a long school day.

Make sure there’s color in their lunchbox so it makes your kid less likely to notice that they’re eating something healthy. Instead of a fruit cup, make skewers with their favorite fruits!

 Donatella Arpaia

Donatella Arpaia. (Courtesy of Donatella Arpaia)

For fun lunches, skip the standard sandwich and use bento-style containers to include their favorite vegetables and snacks.

If your kids are skeptical about veggies, get them involved and interested by setting up a station for them to chop their own veggies for lunch.

To make sure you stick to healthy lunches, create a weekly menu so you can prepare in advance and make sure the meals are balanced.

Keep after-school snacks light yet satisfying. Fruit and cheese is easy, and your kids won’t be full once dinner is ready! Check out their recipes below:

Turkey Sandwich With Green Apple

Makes 3 sandwiches

For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

For the Sandwiches

  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 pound sliced turkey meat, preferably light and dark meat, mixed
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, quartered, and cut into slices
  • 1 green apple, washed, cored, halved, and cut into thin slices
  • 6 slices sourdough bread, toasted

Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and mayonnaise. Whisk to blend. Toss together some of the dressing with the avocado. Refrigerate.

Assemble the sandwich: Layer some of the iceberg on 3 of the bread slices. Top with some layers of turkey. Layer a few slices of avocado and apple on each. Top with more lettuce. Top with dressing. Cut the sandwiches in half. Wrap tightly.

Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli

ABC Sandwiches

ABC Sandwiches. (Courtesy of Donatella Arpaia)

Makes 1 serving for each sandwich

  • 3 Kings Hawaiian or other sweet dinner rolls
  • 1/2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 slices of turkey (honey glazed, smoked or regular)
  • 2 thin slices of Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 thick slices of bologna
  • 2 or 3 slices American cheese
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (optional)
  • 1 lettuce leaf, shredded (iceberg lettuce or red leaf lettuce)
  • 2 slices beefsteak tomatoes

Turkey, Swiss, and Granny Apple Sandwich:

Spread 2 teaspoons honey mustard on one side of Kings Hawaiian roll. Top with 3 slices of turkey. Place 1 thin slice of Swiss cheese over turkey. Place a few thin slices of apple over cheese. Cover apples with second slice of Swiss cheese. Top with other side of roll.

Fried Bologna and Cheese Sandwich:

Melt the butter in a sauté pan. Add the bologna and cook until bologna turns brown. Turn the bologna slices over and cook for another minute. Top the bologna slices with 1 slice of American cheese and let cheese melt. Remove from heat. Place bologna slices with cheese on top of sweet roll. Spread the other side of Kings Hawaiian roll with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or mustard and put roll together.

Grilled Cheese, Tomato and Mayonnaise Sandwich:

Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise inside a King’s Hawaiian sweet roll. Place a lettuce leaf on one side of the roll. Place 1 or 2 slices of American cheese on top of lettuce leaf. Top cheese with a slice of tomato. Top tomato with other side of the roll.

Recipe courtesy of Donatella Arpaia