It’s that time again, when the family is heading back to school or work. With breakfasts to make and lunches to pack, here is a selection of portable recipes, tips and other smart ways to help make heading back to school – or the office – as stress-free and delicious as can be.
Packing lunches, snacks and portable breakfasts that will be enjoyed at school or work can be a challenge. Here are 5 pack-and-go tips, plus top picks for recipes and food ideas, to help your family kick-start the back to school routine:
- Mornings can be rushed, so make anything you can the night before. This includes baking a batch of these wonderfully spiced sunflower seed and pineapple-studded Morning Glory Muffins. Also, this Honey Spiked Turkey Sandwich Loaf is tailor-suited to making at dinnertime then refrigerating and slicing for lunch the next day.
- Sandwich components can be packed separately then assembled when ready to eat. For example, if that sliced tomato, cucumber or lettuce is making your sandwich soggy, simply add it at lunchtime, as with Greek Sandwich Wraps. Also, spreading butter on your bread helps create a barrier between it and sandwich fillings – especially effective when it comes to tuna salad or egg salad, such as Roasted Garlic & Pepper Egg Salad Sandwich.
- Keep a supply with healthy foods ready to take and go in the refrigerator (or cupboard, where applicable). Some ideas to get you started include hard-cooked eggs, cubed or sliced cheese, yogurt, fresh or dried fruit, along with fruit cups and applesauce, also sliced vegetables and whole-grain bread or crackers.
- Leftovers from dinner can become the best lunches the day after, which is especially true of stews and chili, such as Beef and Chili Potato Casserole, and chowder, including Chicken and Corn Chowder.
- Along the same lines, make a double-batch of rice or quinoa at dinner, then refrigerate and use extras as a base for lunch the next day. Try Chipotle Sweet Potato Chickpea Power Bowl.
As a reminder, always keep food safety top of mind. Here’s how:
- Wash your hands first, and be sure to wash insulated lunch bags, boxes and other reusable containers after each use.
- Rinse fresh produce like fruits and raw vegetables then pack in clean reusable containers or resealable bags.
- Work with a clean surface. Use warm soapy water to clean utensils, knives, counters and cutting boards. To avoid any cross-contamination, use one cutting board for fresh produce and bread and keep a separate for use with any meats or seafood.
- Keep all chilled items refrigerated until it’s time to go, or time to eat. If no refrigerator is available at school or work, be sure to use an insulated lunch box or bag, along with a frozen ice pack, frozen gel pack or add a frozen juice box or water bottle to keep foods cold. For hot foods, reheat when ready to eat, or heat through then keep in a well-insulated bottle kept in a separate insulated bag.
- Never leave any perishable foods at room temperature for more than two hours. If in doubt, throw it out…but always strive to keep food and packaging waste to a minimum.