Jeff Mauro's 5 Tips for Yummy Kids' Lunches
- Stock and Prep.You have to have good ingredients on hand to make a great lunch. I like to have a selection of fruits and veggies, whole grain breads, meats, cheeses, and several different kinds of condiments — mustard, mayo, oil and vinegar dressing — to keep things interesting. Splurge on some good stuff! That way you're motivated to use it before it expires. I cut up carrot sticks and pull grapes off the stem beforehand so they're ready to use when you need them. Try making up some of my Raspberry Mayo on the weekend to use on turkey or chicken sandwiches during the week.
- Build on Success. You don't need to make elaborate dishes with fancy kitchen equipment to make amazing lunches. If you know your kid loves bologna or grilled cheese, build on that success by adding in a different element or two to. Try Mortadella and Fig Focaccianini or Grilled Cheese with Apple and Ham for a flavorful twist on old faves.
- Involve the Kids. Get the kids involved in the process wherever it makes sense. If they can help pick out cheese in the deli, or help you pack up their lunch the night before, they're more likely to eat it!
- Explore Flavor and Texture. Have you met sandwich's best friend? It's soup, of course! Soups are a great way to introduce new flavors and textures, and what kid doesn't like to dip? Try a veggie-filled minestrone or a protein-packed black bean soup to expand your kid's palate. I created a Sandwich Cookie with Almond Butter Filling to get my son to try a new protein, and it was a huge hit. It's both lunch AND dessert!
- Pack in Pieces. Nobody likes a soggy sandwich! I love to pack every ingredient separately in containers to assemble at eating time. It makes your kid feel like a real cook, too, to put it together independently! Try doing that with my Greek Tacos, which are popular with kids.
Grilled Cheese with Apple and Ham
Mortadella and Fig Focaccianini
Sandwich Cookie with Almond Butter Filling