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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Cool Lunches For The Kids

By Sherrie Norris

If you are one of the luckier parents with kids who will gladly eat a meal in the school cafeteria, then you are one of the lucky ones, indeed.

I know that’s not the case with a lot of kids, so moms and dads have to get creative to come up with the right kind of lunch for their kids. Yes, it is possible to create something nutritious and fun to eat at the same time.

Giving the kids a little say-so in the matter makes the effort less frustrating. Give them a few options and let them decide what they want to pack, hopefully the night before.. Let them choose from a selection of “good-for-you” snacks, such as freshly cut-up veggies like carrot sticks, celery sticks; then let them choose something from the fruit list. Those handi-snack packs are a big hit, with mixed fruit, Jell-O, pudding and more — and don’t forget the string cheese, squeezable yogurt, etc. Just make sure you throw in a plastic spoon, if needed.

It’s also fun to transform sandwiches into “fun food” by slicing them with an assortment of cookie cutters. And if that’s not enough to keep lunch from being “boring,” use a variety of bread-like products such as pitas, bagels, English muffins, buns and tortilla wraps, instead of plain white slices. The possibilities are endless, but it might take a little experimenting to see what works for your family.


It’s A Wrap

Flour tortillas

Sliced turkey, ham, roast beef or any sandwich meat

Cheese, if desired (shredded works best)

Shredded lettuce

Mayonnaise, mustard, cream cheese, salsa, or even ketchup

Spread tortilla with condiment of choice; top with meat, cheese, lettuce, etc. and roll up tightly. Wrap each one in plastic and refrigerate overnight. You might want to cut it in half before wrapping, especially for smaller hands.


Snack On A Straw

Cut fruit, meat, cheese, etc. into chunks.

Pierce with a metal skewer and thread onto a straw. (Don’t send to school on the skewer!)



Spread inside pocket of sandwich-size pita bread with small amount of marinara or pizza sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and microwave until cheese melts. Let it cool, then wrap in plastic. Chopped meats or veggies may be added before cheese.



1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

1 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tsp. prepared mustard

1 cup finely chopped ham

½ cup shredded cheese

Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles; press seams to seal. Combine mayonnaise and mustard; spread over rectangles, leaving ½-inch border. Sprinkle ham and cheese evenly over half of each rectangle; moisten edges with water. Fold dough over, and pinch edges to seal. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes until puffed and golden.


Peanut Butter Snack

Ritz crackers

Peanut Butter

Melted Chocolate

Spread peanut butter between crackers; dip in chocolate. Cool on waxed paper and wrap for packing.


Fun-Filled Bar Cookies

1 pkg. refrigerated cookie dough of choice

1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow crème

½ cup peanut butter

1 ½ cups corn check cereal

½ cup miniature M & M’s

Preheat oven to 350. Grease oblong baking pan. Remove dough from wrapper and press into pan. Bake for about 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Drop by the spoonful the marshmallow cream and peanut butter onto hot cookie base Bake 1 minute more. Carefully spread marshmallow cream and peanut butter over cookie base. Sprinkle cereal and chocolate pieces over mixture. Cool completely before cutting into bars.