TMKW: Avoid the school lunch slump with these quick yet creative, easy ideas

Send your kids back to school with some unforgettable (and quick and easy-to-make) lunches. Photo courtesy of KooKoo Bear Kids

Are you packing multiple lunches, or need a fast lunch for your preschooler or homeschooler? Here are a few quick and easy lunch ideas to keep you out of the school lunch slump.

Fill a baggie with a good handful of your favorite roasted nuts and dried fruit. Our favorite is cashews, macadamias and dried apple rings. Its an easy way to add protein and fiber to your lunch.

English Muffin Pizzas: Slice English Muffins and gently toast. Spread with tomato sauce, shredded cheese, lunch meat, any veggies you want and finish with more cheese and a sprinkle of oregano. Broil or bake at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted. Delicious warm or cold.

Quesadillas: Layer sliced or shredded cheese and lunch meat between two corn or flour tortillas with the meat between the cheese. On the stovetop, heat a cast iron pan and cook the quesadilla until the cheese melts, flipping once. In the oven, place quesadillas on a cookie sheet and bake or broil until the cheese melts, flipping if needed. Cut into quarters and dip in salsa if desired.

Salad: You could make a different salad every day of the school year, there are so many varieties! Try different pasta, lettuce, bean, grain and fruit salads in your lunch.

Ham and Pickle Bites: Slice a dill pickle into quarters. Spread softened cream cheese on four slices of ham. Roll the pickle quarters in the ham slices and secure with toothpicks. Slice into bite sized pieces if desired.

Antipasti Cups: Layer pieces of ham and salami or pepperoni in a muffin tin and bake until it remains in a cup shape. In a bowl, mix together your choice of mozzarella, parmesan, chopped tomatoes, chopped sweet peppers, chopped olives, scallions and fresh basil. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well and spoon into the ham cups.

Eggs: Hard boiled, deviled, omelets, quiche. Its all good when youre tired of sandwiches. Try this great recipe for Scotch Eggs:

Peel 6 hardboiled eggs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Crack one raw egg in a small bowl and whisk. Divide one pound of ground sausage into six equal portions and keep in the refrigerator. Gently crush 1 cup of cornflakes. Flatten each portion of sausage in your hand and squish around each egg until they are covered with sausage. Dip in the egg and roll in the cornflakes. Place the coated eggs on the cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes. Turn the eggs several times during baking so that all sides are evenly cooked. Cool, slice and wrap in Saran Wrap. Eat warm or cold. Some people like to drizzle them with mustard.

Apple Salad Spread: Grate an apple and mix with shredded cheddar, sliced scallions, a drizzle of lemon juice, a spoonful of mayo and a pinch of salt and pepper. Eat on a sandwich or in tortilla or lettuce wraps.

Apple Peanut Butter Sandwiches: Slice an apple crosswise, and spread peanut butter between two slices to make a sandwich.

Lots of leftovers are good cold. Fried chicken is a good example. I think spaghetti and pizza are delicious cold, but my husband thinks Im nuts.

Keep these ideas in the back of your mind, and use them when youre tempted to reach for the Snackables. Delicious and healthy lunches arent hard to make. Just be creative!

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