Make us your home page
Instagram

From the food editor: Ideas for filling the back-to-school lunch box

Quiche with Red Peppers and Spinach.

MICHELLE STARK | Times

Quiche with Red Peppers and Spinach.

Most school-aged kids in the Tampa Bay area head back to the classroom today, and that means parents are thinking about how to feed the little ones throughout the day. Our cover story this week focuses on those who turn to packed lunches.

In this story, Grayson Kamm, communications director for the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, offers a look into the science behind why foods perish and what to do to prevent that from happening in your child's lunch box.

Here, we have some ideas for what to actually pack in that lunch. Some foods are naturally less inclined to spoil, so for optimal food safety consider leaning on items like fresh whole fruit and vegetables (instead of precut chunks), hard cheeses like cubes of cheddar, and whole wheat crackers or bread with peanut butter.

For the main meal, try one of these ideas, both perishable and not, that could appeal to elementary school students and adults alike:

Skewers: For easier eating and packing, utilize bamboo sticks. Use them to thread round vegetables like grape tomatoes and cubes of cheese for a kid-friendly caprese; or pieces of chicken, pineapple chunks and green peppers for a sandwich alternative. Always include a dipping sauce.

Cold salads: This is an easy way to create a hearty yet compact meal that can go into one container. Your base can be anything from regular spaghetti to couscous, quinoa or brown rice. Pump it up with diced vegetables, chopped nuts, crumbled cheese like feta or goat and plenty of seasoning.

Breakfast for lunch: Change things up by serving traditional breakfast fare for lunch. Sometimes school lunch times are earlier enough to qualify as a first meal anyway. For the eggs, serve them hard-boiled, and generously season with salt and pepper. Make sand dollar-sized pancakes the night before, then let them cool and pack with some peanut butter or jelly in separate containers. (Avoid maple syrup for the inevitable sticky fingers it will cause.) Serve with a simple yogurt parfait: vanilla yogurt plus grapes or blueberries.

Savory baked goods: For a different way to get at lunchtime basics, try making muffins or scones that are packed with ingredients that would go into a sandwich but are more fun to eat: pulled pork corn muffins, diced ham and cheddar cheese scones, zucchini muffins.

Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

From the food editor: Ideas for filling the back-to-school lunch box 08/08/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 9, 2016 12:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Interview: Steve Martin, Martin Short bringing 'best version' of their show back to St. Petersburg

    Stage

    Hot celebrity-spotting tip: Stop by the Salvador Dalí Museum on Jan. 19. You might catch a glimpse of Steve Martin.

    Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short will bring “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life” to the Mahaffey Theater on Jan. 19.
  2. Seminole Heights restaurants face struggles amid killings, post-Irma

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The neighborhood's hip circle of popular, well-regarded restaurants is feeling the squeeze in the wake of a recent killing spree. And the timing is rough.

    Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe has been taking precautions in light of the Seminole Heights killings: keeping the lights on all night and having employees walk to their cars in groups.
  3. Josbite goes all out, gets results with annual musical, 'The Threepenny Opera'

    Stage

    TAMPA — As the house lights dimmed for the second act, burglars and pickpockets, prostitutes and scam artists weaved between the little tables of the Jaeb Theater, warning customers they'd best wind down their talking and silence their phones. This was done with a wink but the point was made. This is elitism …

    Miscreants in Jobsite Theater's The Threepenny Opera, which runs through Nov. 12, include (from left) Amy E. Gray, Jonathan Harrison, Giselle Muise, Chris Jackson, Fo'i Meleah, and Derrick Phillips. Courtesy of Jobsite Theater.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 24

    Events

    On Your Feet: The Broadway musical follows the true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan's journey as Cuban immigrants coming to America to becoming pop-crossover sensation Miami Sound Machine. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45 and up. (813) …

    Alma Cuervo (far left), an Academy of the Holy Names graduate, stars in the upcoming production of "On Your Feet" at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday (Oct. 24). Also pictured, Claudia Yanez (as Rebecca), Christie Prades (as Gloria) and Nancy Ticotin (as Gloria Fajardo). Photo by Matthew Murphy
  5. Hip-hop artist looks to deliver music, monologues with one-woman show

    Stage

    Tampa hip-hop artist and actress Dynasty takes her career into a new direction Saturday at Stageworks Theatre with her first one-woman show: A Star in Life's Clothing : Life. Love. Language. Lyrics.

    Hip-hop artist and actress Dynasty will present a one-woman show Saturday (Oct. 28) at Stageworks Theatre. Photo courtesy of @JoeyClayStudio.