Packing an allergy free, delicious, and appealing lunch is more of a pain than I anticipated! It’s especially difficult when you only have a few foods to work with. Then narrow that down by things that pack and keep well and can be eaten quickly.  Variety pretty much doesn’t really exist at that point.

Salad is the best, most filling lunch item for Maya right now so I’ve been attempting to craft lovely, extremely simple, tasty salads. Um, that’s more difficult that it looks!

Issue One: Packaging the salad dressing.

I have yet to find a good container made for something about that size that won’t leak. We tried a few different things before we got to the point you see today.

  1. A shot glass double-wrapped in saran wrap sealed with a rubber band. Oddly enough, this worked best but I didn’t really feel comfortable sending my elementary student to school with a shot glass….
  2. I tried a one cup Ziploc container which worked…sort of. The only real problem that it was ginormous for a tablespoon or two of dressing. It coated the inside of the container and didn’t give up much dressing.
  3. Cabbage. Yep, that wonderful, fantastic, crunchy, slightly sweet, coleslaw sauce wielding hearty green.

Cabbage is the answer to our current salad dressing problem! It works beautifully because it holds up to having the salad dressing mixed into it all morning and stays lovely and crunchy. It also tastes good which is always a bonus. Maya adores it so it’s a total win!

Issue Two: Keeping lunchbox contents cool

This was actually relatively simple after walking through the entirety of a Wal-Mart super center searching for something, anything to fit in the lunch box and not take up too much room.

I kid you not, that’s the name of these glorious gadgets and I love them. All you have to do is tuck them in the sides of the lunch box and viola, a perfectly cooled lunch :)

You can find them in the Hunting/Camping area of Wal-Mart for $1 a piece, at least that’s where I got these. Both Maya and Jesse have a set.

I think that we’ve finally found lunchbox success thus the salad you see today. Doesn’t it look delicious? So fresh and so green, I love it!

If you’d like to make one for yourself all you need is:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (green and red here)
  • 1 1/2 inches cucumber, sliced and prettied
  • salad dressing of your choice (Maya chose EVOO, salt, and pepper)
  • a sprig or two of cilantro torn or chopped into pieces (feel free to sub an herb or herbs to your liking)
That’s it! Just mix it all together, pop it into a container and you’re good to go.

At this point Maya’s lunches consist of two E028 Splashes, one salad, and a cup of cantaloupe either cubed or balled.  Cantaloupe is the cheapest, best keeping fruit she has right now. I tried freezing cubed cantaloupe last night and stuck some in her lunch container today so I’ll have to report back to you as to whether or not it worked.

So tell me, how are school lunches going in your households? What do you pack? Inquiring minds desperately want….cough….need to know ;)