The Lunch Idea:
I don't do warm lunches very often, mostly because they can't be packed the night before and I usually don't want to take the time in the morning. But this one was super easy because it was just leftovers. We had macaroni and cheese and salad for dinner last night. As you have heard me say many times before, I always cook extra. If I'm boiling the water and opening the box, then why not make 4 boxes of mac & cheese instead of 2? It's just as easy, and then we have another meal already made. We also had a salad bar with our dinner, and so I had extra of the veggies already cut up. I made up the salad boxes last night, from the salad leftovers, and put those in the fridge. Then in the morning all I had to do was heat up the mac & cheese and put it in the thermos containers.
What's in the lunches:
- Warm macaroni and cheese
- 'deconstructed' salad - just lettuce, cucumber, carrots, and tomato. None of my kids like dressing.
Question and Tips:
- Really, they don't like dressing. They will gobble up the plain veggies (not always, but usually), but they want no dressing of any kind. I know, weird.
- When I re-heat mac & cheese sometimes I add a little more sauce just to make it creamier again. Just a couple slices of american cheese (I buy organic), with a few table spoons of milk, heat up in the microwave and stir until the melted cheese is mixed in. Then mix that sauce with your warmed up mac & cheese.
- To keep the food warm a little longer, start with a hot thermos. Fill the thermos with boiling water and let it sit while you are heating up the food. Then pour out the hot water and add your hot food to the hot container. I will still be nice and warm several hours later.
- My kids are much more likely to eat salad when I serve it all separate like this. If I gave them these same veggies all mixed together, chances are they wouldn't eat it. But let them pick and choose at separate bites and most of them will eat it.
Products I used:
- I packed these salads in our little LunchBots containers. These size are perfect for a small meal, or a side dish, or a snack box. We have two of the duos, one trio, and one uno. They all work great and it is just a matter of how you like your space divided up. If in doubt, I would say go with the single, because you can always add silicone cups to divide up the space when you want to.
- I use these silicone cups in almost all my lunches.
- For hot foods, we pack in thermos funtainers. They are perfect for pasta, soups, oatmeal, anything that you want to still be nice and warm at lunch time.