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Katie Bugbee @KatieBugbee

Mom of three, sharing her advice and stories on parenting and care-wrangling.

4 Easy Lunch Box Recipe Ideas

Send kids off to school with these fun and healthy lunches that are sure to put smiles on their faces.

You've got the adorable lunch box. Now, what do you put in it? Day after day. Week after week. Here are four quick, healthy -- and yummy lunch recipes your kids will enjoy seeing in the middle of their school day.

Need more ideas? Check out the rest of this series, with 4 Quick Breakfasts for Kids On-the-Go and 3 Easy and Healthy After-school Snacks.

  1. Power Protein Dragon Roll-ups (see image above)
    Aka: Deli meats for animal lovers.

    Ingredients:

    • Turkey, ham or other deli meat
    • Sliced cheese of your choice
    • Cucumbers, cut in long "finger shapes"
    • Sliced bell peppers, cut in 2-inch narrow strips
    • Cream cheese
    • Raisins
    • Hummus (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Take two slices of deli meat and layer on top of each other (we found ham to be the sturdiest for the outside). Layer cheese on top. Roll up as though you're rolling up a wrap. Secure with a dollop of cream cheese.
    2. Take two pieces of cucumbers and one red pepper, dip in cream cheese (or hummus) and stick them out of one end of the roll-up. The pepper goes in between the cucumbers. This will give the illusion of two fangs and a tongue.
    3. Place two small dabs of cream cheese on the top of the roll up and stick a raisin in each cream cheese circle to make eyes.

    How to Transport:
    Wrap in plastic wrap. Secure things in place with toothpicks, if necessary.

    Perfect Pairings:
    Put a small amount of hummus in a container and place leftover red bell peppers and cucumbers. Add carrots and pretzels for your child to dip.

  2. Taco Station
    Aka: Re-packaged leftovers

    Ingredients:

    • Whole wheat quesadilla wraps, fajita size
    • Pre-cooked turkey meat sautéed with black beans and taco seasoning
    • Shredded cheese
    • Shredded lettuce
    • Chopped tomatoes or salsa
    • Chopped avocados

    Directions:

    1. Put each of these ingredients in their own mini Tupperware. Wrap tortillas in plastic wrap.
    2. Let your child make his own masterpieces come lunchtime!

    How to Transport:
    We used a Bento Box lunch box to make this cute and easy.

    Perfect Pairings:
    Add a banana or an apple for something sweet.

  3. Banana Sushi Rolls
    Aka: Banana poppers

    Ingredients:

    • Whole wheat roll-ups, burrito size
    • 1 banana
    • Sunflower butter (many schools don't allow peanut butter due to allergies, so this is a great substitute!)
    • Flax seed (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Lay out the roll up and spread sunflower butter on one side, primarily in the middle, but around the outer edges as well. Sprinkle flax seed on top, if desired.
    2. Take a peeled banana and place it in the middle of the wrap. Roll it up as tightly as possible.
    3. Slice the rolled-banana into 1-inch wide (or a little smaller) bite-sized rolls. See how it looks like sushi? Now you're ready to serve!

    How to Transport:
    We used a Bento Box lunch box to make this cute and easy.

    Perfect Pairings:
    Trail mix made from Goldfish crackers, raisins and pretzels.

  4. "Cookie Sandwiches" and Fruit Kebabs
    Aka: Sandwiches in cute shapes and fruit on a stick

    Ingredients:

    • Whole wheat bread
    • Fruit jam
    • Sun butter and/or cream cheese
    • Cookie cutters
    • Chopped fresh fruit
    • Kebab sticks, cut in half

    Directions:

    • Make a sandwich with two pieces of bread (we suggest either sun butter and jam or cream cheese and jam).
    • Take some of your favorite cookie cutters and press into the sandwich. Try to get two "cookie sandwiches" from each larger sandwich.
    • Place fruit on the skewers

    How to Transport:
    We wrapped the fruit skewers in plastic wrap (but first made sure the stick was long enough to fit diagonally in our lunch box).

    Perfect Pairings:
    Cheese and crackers. You can cut the cheese with the cookie cutters as well.

Lunch Boxes We Love:

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=bITgvM-BbPE