Summer went by so fast this year and I can’t believe the kids are already back in school. It’s now time to tackle the homework, plan family dinners and make all the school lunches.
With two boys in elementary school and a girl in middle school, I have my hands full each morning packing lunches that I hope will be eaten. I’ve learned a trick or two over the years, and I figured out the best way to get them to eat what I send in the lunch box is to just ask them what they want. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to send them to school with three brownies, a donut and a box of Cracker Jack just because they asked for it, but I do take their requests seriously.
Each child is different and they all have different tastes when it comes to what they want for lunch, and that changes from day to day. Today, I’ve teamed up with Borden® Cheese to share two of our go-to lunch ideas that are a hit every time. The best part? They are not only easy to make, but healthy for the kids as well!
Let’s start with the boys. One of their favorite things to ask for when we are grocery shopping is Lunchables. Funny thing is that those over-priced, not-so-tasty, pre-made bento box wannabe meals are my FAVORITE thing to say NO to every single time. I don’t even think the boys truly like them because I figured out it’s just the cheese and crackers that they are after.
It’s cheese you want, boys? I got that!
Good thing their mom is crafty in the kitchen because I make one heck of a school lunch that is better (and more nutritious!) than those silly Lunchables could ever be. Yep, using their bento boxes, I make my own version with delicious and nutritious Borden® Cheese, crackers, fresh fruit and cheese roll-ups. Borden® Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, so it makes a fantastic addition to this easy lunch to help my kids stay focused and fueled all day long. It’s all so easy to put together and the boys love it!
I start up by cutting a Borden® Cheese Sharp Cheddar block of cheese into slices for cheese and crackers.
Bento boxes are perfect for this type of lunch because it keeps everything separate. Cheese slices go in one compartment and then I add some Ritz crackers, fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and baby fish crackers to the three other compartments.
The last thing I add to this fabulous lunch is a super simple cheese roll up. My boys don’t like “fancy sandwiches” so all I do is take two slices of Borden® Natural Cheddar & Monterey Jack Cheese and roll it up in a flour tortilla. Yep, that easy and they love it.
That entire lunch takes me less than 5 minutes! On the days that I want to switch it up to keep them guessing, I replace the cheese roll-up with a turkey sandwich and swap out the cheese and crackers with a Borden String Cheese or a new Borden Cheese Snack Bar (available in Mild Cheddar, Colby Jack, Pepper Jack and Gouda) that is less than 100 calories and packs 5g of protein per bar.
After that, I’m on to my daughter’s lunch which, truth be told, she does make herself many days.
One of her favorite things to take for lunch is a Salad in a Jar! The best thing about Salad in a Jar, besides being a healthy option for lunch, is that they can be pre-made for the entire week!! Yep, we can make all 5 salads with everything in the jar (besides the croutons!) on Sunday night and they will still be good by Friday. The best grab ‘n go lunch ever!!
While we do Chicken Spinach Strawberry Salad in a Jar, her favorite one is a Chef Salad. It’s packed with lettuce, veggies, chicken, ham, egg, cheese and Ranch dressing! Yep, the dressing is in the jar!! These salads will stay good from 3-5 days but there are things you HAVE TO DO in order to be successful with a Salad in a Jar.
RULES OF SALAD IN A JAR
- Use a glass mason jar.
- Order is everything. You must layer your salad in a specific order – dressing at the bottom (this is non-negotiable!), followed by veggies and other heavy foods and finish with the lettuce.
- Lettuce shouldn’t actually touch the dressing in the jar.
- It’s not recommended to add the croutons to the jar as they will get soggy.
- Heaviest foods at the bottom.
- You want to pack the jar contents in tight so that there isn’t room for the salad to move around and potentially have the dressing get to the lettuce.
Here’s how we make my daughter’s Chef Salad in a Jar for school:
Ingredients in order of layering them in the jar:
- Lite Ranch Dressing – 2 TBSP of dressing in a pint jar.
- Diced Cucumbers
- Diced Carrots
- Hard Boiled Egg
- Borden® Cheddar & Monterey Jack Shredded Cheese
Start with a mason jar. I use the small ones for her lunch but I have used larger jars for a family salad for dinner. All you have to do is layer as much or as little of each ingredient in the mason jar in the order above. It’s very important that you start with the dressing and end with the lettuce.
Put your 2 TBSP (less or more if you’d like) of dressing at the bottom and top with the veggies.
After the veggies, it’s time to add the meats and cheese. We always put a little extra Borden® Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese in the jars because my daughter likes her salads cheesy!
Now, all you have left is lettuce! When you add the lettuce make sure you push the lettuce down into the jar as much as possible to fit as much lettuce as possible. You don’t want a lot of wiggle room in the jars so that the dressing doesn’t have the possibility of getting to the lettuce if jostled around. Pack as much lettuce as you can in that jar!
I send the croutons in a separate container to keep them from getting soggy from the lettuce and add a side of fruit and that’s a perfect lunch!
Store your jars in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and don’t forget to send an icepack in the lunch bag to keep the salad cool until lunchtime.
Here’s what the Salad in a Jar looks like on a plate ready to eat!
These Salads in a Jar and Bento Box Brilliance lunches are so easy to make and my kids love them. If you are looking to switch things up this year for your school lunches, give them a try!
For generations, creamy, delicious Borden® Cheese has been crafted with high-quality, wholesome ingredients and the same genuine love and care you find on American, family-owned dairy farms. Borden® Cheese is brought to you by a cooperative of more than 8,000 family-owned daily farms across the United States. Borden® Cheese has a wide range of offerings to satisfy every taste, including Mild Cheddar, Mozzarella, Mexican, Swiss, Sharp Cheddar, American, Colby Jack and more, which are available as singles, shreds, chunks, slices, strings and snacks. For more information about Borden® Cheese and where to purchase, visit BordenCheese.com.
*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Borden® Cheese. As always, all thoughts, opinions and statements are my own.