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Ask A Boston Expert: School Lunches To Prepare In 10 Minutes Or Less

Sally Sampson, the founder and president of ChopChopKids, knows all about preparing healthy meals for children. Her non-profit family cooking magazine ChopChopKids is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is the author or co-author of a whopping 23 cookbooks and is a frequent contributor to food blogs and other publications. She has some tips on how parents can help their kids whip up quick and easy bag lunches for school.

Chop Chop Kids
(Photo Credit: ChopChopKids)

Sally Sampson Of ChopChopKids
32 Calvin Road
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 924-3993

Quick lunch prep on weekdays often means having certain prepped foods on hand and cooking over the weekend. Getting ready for the week ahead goes a long way in saving time in the morning. Think about what your plans are for the week and do things like cooking soups, cutting vegetables and washing berries well ahead of time.

Sally Sampson says, "Teach your kids to make their own lunches! Not only does this help take the burden of lunch making off you, but teaches kids important life skills: how to cook and how to be self-sufficient. You may need an extra few minutes the first time you have them pack their lunch, but mornings will be much easier after!" Let kids make the following two bag lunches.

Everything Tuna. (Photo Credit: ChopChopKids)

Everything Tuna

Get the full recipe here.

Everything Tuna is a ChopChop recipe that takes tuna salad and makes it a bit more exciting. With unusual and healthy ingredients like yogurt, it will fill kids up while giving them the nutrients they need. Sampson says to put in a sandwich or wrap. Alternatively, scoop it up with some crackers. It will make a more flavorful and healthy alternative to standard tuna and mayo salad.

Peanut Butter And Berries Roll

An easy recipe that even the kids can make is a peanut butter and berries roll-up. Just smear some peanut butter on a soft tortilla, top it with berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, and roll it up like a burrito. Pack it with one of Sampson's snack tips below for a full meal. The flavor is similar to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but without all that extra stuff in the jelly.

Sampson says prepping meals ahead of time also makes it easier to pack a bag lunch in under ten minutes. She suggests the following recipes:

Toasted Barley And Black Bean Salad
Toasted Barley And Black Bean Salad. (Image Credit: ChopChopKids)

Toasted Barley And Black Bean Salad

Get the full recipe here.

This recipe is packed with grains and protein. However, it has to be prepped ahead of time, as barley takes a long time to cook. Make sure to buy hulled barley, as it will cook faster. In the morning, just scoop the finished salad into a plastic container and pack it in a bag with a spoon. Crackers or tortilla chips are perfect for scooping this salad for kids who love to dip.

Baked Vegetable Fritata

Get the full recipe here.

Fritata is an egg dish that will offer up loads of healthy protein. This recipe pairs it with healthy vegetables. Cook the fritata the night before and refrigerate. In the morning, wrap it and pack it with a piece of fresh fruit for lunch.

Butternut Squash And Apple Soup
Butternut Squash And Apple Soup. (Photo Credit: ChopChopKids)

Butternut Squash And Apple Soup

Get the full recipe here.

When the temperature drops outside, soup makes a great lunch choice. Prep this sweet recipe the night before and heat some up for a few minutes in the morning. Pour the hot soup into a thermos and pack it for lunch. Pack this with soup crackers or a nice bread for a more filing lunch.

Quick Snack Ideas:
  • Make a large batch of trail mix and seal it in an airtight container. Scoop some into a baggie for kids to eat with lunch or for school snack.
  • Put some hummus in the bottom of a container and stand up some cut vegetables in the dip before sealing the container.
  • Pre-pack sides like cut fruit and crackers, so getting out the door in the morning takes much less time.

Related: Time-Saving Tips For Healthy School Lunches

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at

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