I’m often at a dilemma as to what to pack in my kids’ lunch boxes during the school year. Sandwiches just aren’t cutting it with these two, and often we get into a rut, and pack the same things day after day…. If you could please share lunch suggestions, that would be great! – Ginny

Tatjana & friend Christian on their way to school

Great question! Kids love dipping their food into sauces and dips so give them small cups of hummus, bean dip, cottage cheese or salsa along with veggies they love for dipping. Celery and carrots hold up really nicely

Hummus with carrots and celery

and kids love them. Sometimes just changing the way you present their same old food works like putting their meat, cheeses, and veggies on a skewer. It’s fun and fun to eat and they’ll be the envy of the lunch room.

Rolling tortillas up that are filled with peanut butter and jelly are fun or you can use cream cheese with roasted meats, lettuce, veggies or their favorite shredded cheese. Fruit smoothies are another fun option for after school too. Just mix frozen fruit with apple juice and voila! Like these ideas? Join the PCA™ for many more healthy but scrumpdillyicious make-ahead meal ideas.


This is easily one of my favorite snacks, lunches, or appetizers; cleanse or no cleanse. It is high in nutrients, filling, and it’s easy to make and grab on the run.


Makes about 1 1/4 cups (one serving is 2 tablespoons).


1 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and 1/3 cup liquid reserved
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini (you can substitute raw cashew butter)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil


In a food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, sea salt, and cayenne (if using). Pulse to roughly chop, then process while adding the 1/3 cup reserved liquid from the chickpeas and flax seed oil.


I usually use it as a dip for crudités, pita chips, or spread it on rice cakes. I’ve used it in chicken salad, and it also makes a great spread on sandwiches when you want to kick them up a notch with flavor.


Try using ancho chili powder in place of the cumin and roasted garlic, or add in a couple chopped sun-dried tomatoes and garnish with toasted pine nuts.


This post was first published on October 12, 2012

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  • October 12, 2012
    5:51 am

    You know the timing of this post is amazing – I had a similar question that I posed to the Forum recently and Julie Anne and the rest of the members came up with some really great ideas.

    As a matter of fact, Raven’s lunchbox has some celery sticks in it as I write this, but the problem is I left her home made dip (Raven’s own recipe!) here!! OY VEY!!

    There is a really great thread in the Forum with other kids’ lunch suggestions that I frequently go to because my kids get into ruts with their lunches and I need to keep it interesting.

  • October 12, 2012
    9:22 am

    I want to know what Raven’s dip recipe is? I think it’s fabulous when our kids get creative with food!

    • October 12, 2012
      9:40 am

      Raven is a garlic fiend. So she created her own dip to accommodate her tastes: sour cream, a ton of garlic powder, a dash of celery salt, and a bit of jarred minced garlic so she can have garlic chunks. And she sleeps in her own bed, thankfully.

  • October 12, 2012
    9:52 am

    Adorable! I’m a garlic fiend as well, and I love celery seed – Raven and I could share dip any day.

  • October 13, 2012
    8:05 am

    I love hummus! Even spread on little pita breads, with veggies or as a spread on bread instead of butter with some leftover chicken. I’m with you on the garlic too! It has to have garlic in it to taste right. Baba ganoush is another favourite dip of mine. Just can’t get enough!

  • October 14, 2012
    9:41 am

    oooh Hummus… Holly’s favourite since she could eat grown up food (although she pronounced it “tummus”) Ava is an easy lunch pack… always an apple, a sandwich and a treat. Holly is a challenge. After her best friend Danry said he didn’t like sandwiches last year, sandwiches were off the list. It’s best when there are some kind of packable leftovers for her to take with an ice pack but sometimes it’s not the best thing to send mess wise so these suggestions will be perfect. She is a shrimp fan and although I had no intentions on packing it, she informed me she’d FREAK if she saw it in her lunch the next day. These suggestions she will NOT be freaking at! LOL