As the summer draws to a close, parents and non-parents alike are eager for meal options that are easy, healthy, and appetizing. These ideas are minimal in time commitment and ingredients but sure to satisfy when your midday repast rolls around. Try out these portable lunches in your kitchen at The Canyons™ — use those spacious countertops to make prep a breeze!
Charcuterie boards are trendy appetizer items at many bars and restaurants, but they also work well as a lunch entree. While “charcuterie” may technically refer only to meat items, most boards include cheese, crackers, dried fruit or jam, salted or candied nuts, and much more. Infinitely customizable for a kid or adult palate, charcuterie boards offer a mix of proteins that will keep you going all afternoon. For kids, try pepperoni slices, crackers, and cheddar or Monterey jack cheese cubes — for adults, use contrasting cheeses (like a sharp cheddar and a creamy goat cheese) and pair them with some toasted walnuts, grapes, and crispy crackers.
Fun with Bento Boxes
A bento is a single-serving meal packaged within a box with multiple subsections to house different meal components. Hailing from Japan, the bento box usually contains a carb or starch (like rice or noodles), a protein, and an assortment of vegetables (fresh, cooked, or pickled). For kiddos, make veggies more palatable by cutting them into fun shapes like hearts or stars with cookie cutters. You can prep for an entire school or work week by preparing big batches of each component ahead of time — all that’s left is to fill the bento’s compartments!
Not everyone in your family might want the same items for lunch, and that’s okay! Picky eaters will rejoice at customizable lunch options like burrito bowls or taco salads. Experiment with combinations like rice, black beans, guacamole, and shredded rotisserie chicken for easy prep. Use veggies which stand up well to refrigerated storage after being cut, like cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and more. Eat the bowl on its own or bring along some flour or corn tortillas and make it a wrap!
Everything in a Jar
A large-mouth jar is a handy vehicle for a huge assortment of lunch items, like vegetable and grain salads, overnight oats, cold noodle dishes, and pasta salads. To make your perfect jar salad, assemble ingredients in layers from bottom to top, starting with grains or rice and ending with more delicate vegetables like lettuces and herbs on top. Grains and dressings can be prepped ahead of time and individually portioned as needed. Try a grain bowl with farro or millet for complex carbohydrates, then add grilled chicken, cucumber, and lettuce, before topping it all with a zesty balsamic vinaigrette.
Whether packing school lunchboxes or making a quick meal to take to the office, no one wants to spend extensive time prepping every day. These options save time and effort so you can dedicate it towards what really matters: enjoying summer’s end to its fullest from the cool comfort of your home at The Canyons™.