Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas

Quick-LunchWhether you’re packing a meal for the kids, brown-bagging it to the office or looking for something tasty to make at home, lunch doesn’t have to be a big production to be delicious. Too often, you might skip lunch to save time or money, leaving you feeling sluggish and tired by mid-afternoon. Your body needs fuel for the latter half of the day, and a wholesome lunch is essential. With some planning, you can enjoy varied, healthful and delicious lunches that won’t take a big bite out of your budget or your busy day.

If you think of the typical brown bag lunch as a soggy sandwich and a limp salad, think again. New ideas in portability and temperature control keep foods separate until you assemble your fresh sandwich or salad at your desk. Crisp lettuce, juicy tomato slices and crunchy bacon are perfect on a couple of thick-cut slices of bread, and with the Lunch Cube, you can enjoy a fresher BLT. Each cube has a larger compartment for bread and three smaller sections for toppings and sides. Store the container in the refrigerator or in an insulated tote until it’s time for lunch; then, relish a sandwich as fresh as one you’d make at home.

When making sandwiches, get creative with your fillings, spreads and breads to keep them from becoming ho-hum. Mustard and mayonnaise always work, but if you’re ready for a healthy change, try spreading your bread with hummus or Greek tzatziki. Sweet flavors go well with some sandwich fillings, too; a few slices of last night’s roast pork, for example, take on new depth with a thin layer of tangy mango chutney or cranberry relish. Pita bread, focaccia rounds or sandwich wraps also give your lunches more range without costing you extra effort.Sandwiches offer great convenience, but they aren’t the only option for lunch.

Salads are another delicious choice, and they can be as light or as hearty as you like. A fully loaded chef’s salad with eggs and sliced cold cuts is substantial; a green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing is refreshing. Keeping ingredients separate until just before eating is key to making a great lunch salad. Pack everything the night before and store it in the tote you’ll be taking to work or school for an easy, rush-free morning. An insulated lunch totewith divided compartments is a perfect travel companion.

The best salads have a range of textures and tastes, so think about how flavors will play off one another in the finished salad. If you use a creamy dressing, choose crunchy toppings that will stand up to it. A salad with salty cheese benefits from a few sweet bites such as slivers of pear or dried berries. Did you recently enjoy a taco night? Save some of the meat for a lunch salad the next day. These tortilla bowl bakers give it an authentic touch.Great lunches start with creativity. By using what you already have in your kitchen in novel ways and storing everything properly so that it remains fresh by noon, you can be the envy of your lunchroom.

Image Credit: homemadesimple.com

Back-to-School Must-Haves For Your Tween

tween-bedroomIt’s almost time to get the kids back to school, and while you’ll find tons of specials on items for the grammar-school set and college students, don’t forget about the tweens! Even during their pre-teen years, kids have a well-developed fashion sense, so send them off to junior high in style without breaking your budget when you shop these middle school must-haves.

School supplies are always at the top of every back-to-school list. For middle school students who can expect an accelerated pace and a bigger course load than what they had in elementary school, the essentials can get expensive. With office supply sets, you can satisfy a tween’s sense of style while covering back-to-school needs on a budget. Refillable binders in bright colors, sleek roller-ball pens and pads for everything from jotting notes in class to tracking homework assignments get a junior high school student ready for the start of the school year. Looking cool counts for more in middle school than it did in the earlier grades, so it’s important for tweens to have stylish school accessories.

Technology has become a fixture in kids’ lives, and as tweens become more socially active, their phones are indispensable. For parents, phones are just as important; a pre-teen with a charged phone is never out of reach. Mobile devices do no good if they aren’t charged, though, so having a battery recharge pack keeps tweens in touch with parents and each other. Now that kids and teens use their phones as calendars, calculators, appointment books and more, it’s vital to keep the devices charged while on the go.

For many kids, middle school offers a first taste of a second language. Others develop an interest in Japanese, Spanish or other languages to communicate with a wider circle of friends or enjoy television shows without subtitles. With Language Learning Books, pre-teens and teens learn fun visual prompts for pronunciation while picking up the basics of a new language. Make language lessons easier with a little help from these easy-to-use softcover books in Italian, Spanish, Chinese and more.

Young kids love colorful lunch boxes with their favorite cartoon characters, but tweens have a more sophisticated sense of style. They still need to eat a proper lunch, though, so send them to school with an insulated lunch totes filled with something fresh and wholesome from home. A divided, insulated tote keeps food fresher than brown-bagging because it stores hot and cold foods separately. Tweens who have developed more particular eating habits will appreciate being able to pack their own sandwiches, salads and fruits. It’s also a more economical option for you than buying packaged lunch products that can’t match the nutritional value of homemade foods. Fun designs and colors still have tween appeal without looking too youthful for a pre-teen with a sharp eye for fashion.

Cool school supplies get kids excited about the coming school year, and that goes for pre-teens too. Give your tween extra reasons to look forward to fall with a great collection of back-to-school essentials!


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