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Brown Bag Lunch

Bread Alternatives

Instead of bread for sandwiches, try hard rolls, biscuits, buns, pita bread, tortillas, bagels, English muffins or pastry shells.

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Brown Bag Ice Cream

Ice cream in a brown bag? Certainly! Just fill a short thermos with your favorite frozen flavor and store in the freezer. Packed with lunch in the morning, by noon it'll still be thick, creamy and…

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Festive Touch

I tuck in festive napkins to match an upcoming holiday or for birthdays—my daughters just love it. —Sheryl Goodnough, Eliot, Maine

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Fresh Veggies

Pack tossed green salad or raw vegetables in a plastic bag with a dampened paper towel. This helps keep veggies fresh. —Marilyn Bjorkman, San Diego, California

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From the Heart

For a little something from the heart, slip a note into your child's lunch that simply says, "I love you" or "I'll be praying for you during your math test today." —Elaine Sabacky,…

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Frozen Peanut Butter and Jelly

I use slices of frozen bread when making my daughter’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for her school lunches. The peanut butter spreads easily and there’s no tearing or crumbling of the bread.…

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Frozen Sandwiches

My husband and I want our children to make their own school lunches, but with five of us trying to get out of the house by 7:30 a.m., it doesn’t always work. So I use an entire loaf of bread to…

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Hard Roll Sandwich

Cut off the top of a hard roll and "hollow" it out (like a jack-o'-lantern). Fill it with tuna or egg salad, deviled ham or whatever you like. Add onion, lettuce and tomato, then put the "top"…

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Homemade Lunchables

Create your own "lunchables" for a delicious change of pace. Buy deli meats (salami, ham, turkey, etc.) and sliced cheeses. Cut the meat and cheese into squares and pack along with assorted…

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Keeping Hog Dogs Hot

Just-cooked hot dogs stay hot when you pack them upright in a wide-mouth thermos filled with hot water. —Terri Klune, Hurdsfield, North Dakota

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Keeping Lunches Cold

Keep your lunch cold during the morning by packing a frozen juice box.

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Lunch Box Cake

When I was in grade school, my mother often packed a piece of sheet cake in my lunch. When I mentioned that the icing always stuck to the plastic wrap, mother began cutting the cake in half…

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Lunch Box Odors

To eliminate "lunch box odor" caused by a mixture of foods, I place a teaspoon of baking soda in the bottom of the box and cover it with a paper towel before placing the food in the box. The soda…

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Lunch Box Photo

When our daughter, Mollie, started preschool, I wanted her to know her dad and I were thinking of her. I attached a photo of the three of us to the inside of her lunch box, wrote "We love you"…

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Lunch Box Snacks

Since I have two preschoolers and infant twins who take a lot of time, I came up with a way to expedite the lunch-making process. At the beginning of the week, I portion raisins, cookies,…

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Lunch Bug

With two children in elementary school, I pack 10 lunches a week. Having the "same old, same old" gets boring for them to eat and for me to make. So every now and then, I pack the fixings for them…

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Lunch Cake

To keep frosting from sticking to plastic wrap, split a slice of cake or cupcake horizontally in half and spread the frosting in the middle. Firmly press the two halves back together and…

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Napkin Notes

When our three kids were in elementary school, I rarely let a day go by without including a little extra something in their lunch bags. At the very least, it was an "I love you" note written on…

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No Mess Lunch

Pack a moistened washcloth in a plastic bag—it's great for cleaning fingers before and after eating! —Marilyn Stroud, Larsen, Wisconsin

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No More Soggy PB&J

When making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a brown-bag lunch, use slices of frozen bread and spread a layer of peanut butter on each slice. Top one slice with jelly, then assemble the…

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Olives Are Her Favorite

My daughter, Rebecca, loves olives. So each day I put one in a tiny plastic bag that I buy in bulk at a craft store and hide it in her lunch box. When she finds it, she knows it's my "coded"…

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Peanut Butter "Mix-Ins"

Use peanut butter mix-ins. Try finely chopped apple and shredded mild cheese…applesauce, raisins and a dash of cinnamon…drained crushed pineapple and shredded coconut.

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Roll-Up Sandwich

My 9-year-old loves it when I pack a "surprise" roll-up sandwich in her lunch. Just trim the crust off a slice of bread and roll the bread flat. Add meat, cheese or a favorite spread, roll up and…

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Sandwich Leftovers

Waste not, want not. After making all those brown-bag sandwiches, be sure to use leftover crusts and "hollowed-out" bread in your next meat loaf or casserole…or to feed the birds!

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Sandwich Saturday

Making daily bagged lunches for my family was such a chore that I began a practice I call Sandwich Saturday. Once a month, the four of us get together to create several dozen sandwiches in…

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Sandwich Surprise

I like to keep brown-bag lunches interesting. So, for a surprise and a little fun, I sometimes have "gummy worms" hanging out the sides of the sandwich! My family loves it! —Deb Darr, Falls…

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Sandwiches with Character

Add "character" to brown-bag sandwiches by punching out various shapes (hearts, animals, etc.) in bread with cookie cutters. Seasonal cookie cutters (Christmas trees, Easter bunnies) make holiday…

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Seasonal Sandwich Shapes

To perk up my three sons' lunches, I use large cookie cutters in seasonal shapes to make their sandwiches and pack them in decorated resealable plastic bags. My 4-year-old especially enjoys…

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Soggy Sandwich Solution

Spread mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, etc. between slices of meat or cheese instead of directly on the bread. No more soggy sandwiches! —Sue McKinley, Lyons, Georgia

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Talking Banana

If my children were tired or sad as they got ready for school, I'd draw a smiling face on the banana I put in their lunch bags. Sometimes I'd add a few words of encouragement, as if the banana…

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Thermos Ice Cubes

Put "flavored" ice cubes (made from lemonade, fruit juice, etc.) in a thermos when filling it with the same beverage. This keeps the drink cold without diluting it. —Julia Griffin, Walsh,…

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