If you have a small person in your life, you probably are or have been tasked with packing them lunch—and this can be a challenging task (especially on days when it seems like packing your own lunch might be unlikely if not impossible). Some kids demand only sandwiches—some only PB&Js. Some want anything other than PB&Js. Some days you pack a very well-intentioned meal and it's spurned and you can't help but feel a little defeated. (It happens.)
Our co-founder Amanda Hesser has long chronicled the lunches she packs for her twins, Walker and Addie, turning leftovers, greens, beans, fruit, and myriad sauces from the back of the fridge into meals that look so darn good that we've been inspired to pack them not only for kids, but for ourselves, too. Here are 13 winners to inspire your lunch routine (and a rule that's clear from the photos: Lunch dessert is important.).
- Sandwiches of cream cheese, soppressata, peppery greens, pickled onions + chocolate olive oil cake
- Freekeh salad (freekeh, celery, lemon zest, parsley, garlic) + ham + Camembert + Greek yogurt
- Beans + greens (mizuna + chopped green beans) + oil-packed tuna + creamy, garlicky dressing + chocolate olive oil cake
- Beans with olive oil, thyme, garlic, rosemary + kale tossed with April Bloomfield's genius lemon-caper vinaigrette + aged cow's milk cheese + crackers + almond cookies
- A composed salad of roast chicken, arugula, and chopped radishes + cheese crackers + an apple
- Greens + mujaddara-ish (black lentils + stuck-pot rice + lime juice + salt + olive oil) + radishes + Salted Double Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies
- Rice and quinoa with yellow squash, chimichurri, pistachios, and avocado + plumcots (!) for dessert
- Bean salad (corn, yellow beans, green beans, red onion, olive oil, sherry vinegar) + German potato salad + goat cheese + Triscuits + caramels
- Sandwiches of cashew butter, ricotta, and honey + apples
- Couscous salad (oil-packed tuna, haricots verts, capers, olives, garlic, lemony vinaigrette) + carrot sticks + big pieces of chocolate chip cookie
- Chicken salad (roasted chicken, celery, Dijon, mayo, tarragon) + whole-grain bread for piling it onto + chocolate spice cookies
- Chickpeas with tuna, parsley, Meyer lemon, a pinch of hot smoked paprika, olive oil, and avocado + Satsumas + chocolate
- Prosciutto and butter sandwiches + Castelvetrano olives + apples
What are your kids' favorite lunches? (What are your own?) Share some ideas with us in the comments.