Mom’s lunch is usually leftovers from dinner, my husband never tires of turkey sandwiches, but the kids can be a little trickier.  I have to say, I use my panini press a lot, I mean a lot, almost every day.  I know too many small kitchen appliances can be too much clutter, but a panini press I couldn’t go without.  I also count on my freezer for lunches…in a good way, more on that below.  I can usually fill up the kids with these quick and easy and at least semi healthy lunch staples:


  1. QUESADILLA’S – In the Panini Press!!  I always have some soft tortilla’s in the fridge and I always have cheese.  From there I add in whatever I have, leftover chicken, (leftover chicken or taco meat can be frozen and used later for quesadilla’s!) black beans, avocado slices, a few cut up veggies and I can make it extra healthy by always keeping my 5 Minute Veggie Salsa on hand.  We like to dip them in plain yogurt mixed with salsa.           
  2. PIZZA THINGS – This is what my mom called them when I was a kid, basically pizza toppings on anything, english muffins, bagels, bread, tortillas, naan bread, pitas, etc.  This is where my freezer comes in: whenever I make spaghetti or bolognese, I freeze some of the leftover sauce in small containers or little jars, perfect for thawing for pizza sauce for lunch.  Also stored in my freezer, I buy a big bag of decent quality pepperoni from the deli (I think this has to be better than the hormel version that isn’t even refrigerated).  Any white cheese, maybe a veggie topping or two, bake it in the oven at 425 or broil to get the top extra crispy, put it right on the oven rack, no need to dirty a pan.
  3. PANINI SANDWICHES – My kids are much more likely to eat a sandwich when it is all glued together with melted cheese.  The panini press is how we make grilled cheese, faster and easier to clean.  So start with a grilled cheese and add extras if you want: avocado, deli meat, leftover bacon (leftover cooked bacon can also be frozen and makes a great panini ingredient to pull out a little at a time), tomato slices, just add cheese!
  4. PEANUT BUTTER BANANA SANDWICH – or PB&J, they are classics for a reason.
  5. VEGGIE BAGEL – My kids love these, hummus and avocaodo with cheese are a must, but sometimes you can sneak in some spinach, cucumber or tomato.  (Mom loves these too)

BONUS – MAC & CHEESE – This does not need to be fancy OR from a box!  Just boil up some pasta and shred some cheese on it!  You can also add the leftover spaghetti sauce from #2.


The Sungrown Kid Series Episode 3–Lunch
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