I am pretty confident that almost everyone (at least in America) has had at least one lunchable in their lifetime.
If you aren't familiar with them, they are small plastic container with four compartments. The interior ranged from crackers with cheese and meat, the ever popular "make your own pizza" variety, nachos, and I *think* there may have even been a hot dog one? Gross.
I only liked one type of lunchable growing up. Turkey with cheddar, crackers, and a peanut butter cup. That was my jam when my mom would surprise us with one, as these were not the norm in my house. Which is humorous if you think about it, because I wasn't allowed lunchables very often, but I did get all the regular cheese and crackers I wanted. My dad is a snacker like me, so we always had crackers and "snacking" cheese in the fridge.
But with lunchables, I would get a piece of candy, even if I was really only into it for the cheese and crackers (I even used to give my Capri Sun to my brother, the strange child I was).
A couple years ago, I had just gotten home from a long work day, and I was exhausted. The last thing I wanted to do was make dinner. So I decided to make a small charcuterie platter for Jake and I. Slices of cheese, grapes, carrot sticks, a few lentil crackers, and some leftover Greek yogurt dip. As we were munching away, I reflected on how quickly I was able to throw this together, and Jake and I were completely full.
Boom, the creation of adult lunchables in our house! I have been making these for a few years now, they are super easy to put together, and you can literally make any combination. This is one of the items I put together for our road trip in May, because they don't get mushy and they are portable. Perfect car snack! It also ensures that we had access to enough fresh vegetables, and nutritious snacks instead of relying on random highway gas stations.
No one really likes food at a gas station in the middle of nowhere.
I wasn't even sure if I was going to share this, but after speaking with a few people, they hadn't thought of it/heard of doing it, so I wanted to share!
Obviously, there are about a million different combinations, and really you can do this to your own tastes but here are some ingredients suggestions below. I chose all of these because they have a lot of nutritional value, and are quite filling.
- Cheeses: 1 ounce of soft goat cheese, good cheddar, good quality hard Parmesan, fresh mozzarella slices
- Good low sodium or "clean" deli turkey/chicken breast (We buy the True Story brand)
- Assorted veggies that hold up well: Raw zucchini, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, red pepper slices
- Fruits that hold up well: Blueberries, blackberries, cuties (peeled or unpeeled), strawberries (if they aren't close to mushy).
- Crackers (we buy lentil crackers and Simple Mills Almond Flour)
- Cottage cheese
- Peanut butter & Apples
I always try to aim for the same sort of content: A lean protein (turkey), serving size of cheese, lots of snackable vegetables, a berry of some sort, and sometimes something fun, like a great piece of chocolate or something.
Here is an example of the snack heavy ones that I do. I will keep these around for when we are feeling peckish, but do not exactly want a full meal.
I know that this seems extremely simple, but honestly, eating clean can be extremely hard. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of prep, but these adult lunchables are seriously easy, take minutes to throw together, and can be easily customized to different tastes. It also keeps portion control in check, so you aren't tempted to eat three times the recommended portion of crackers (been there!).
Now if you were like everyone else growing up, and adored the pizza lunchables (gross cardboard crust anyone?), I do have an alternative to an adult, delicious, non-cardboard version of the famous lunch.
My favorite pita shaped into small portions, fresh tomato slices (or a scoop of your favorite jarred sauce), fresh mozzarella, some greens or a nice cured prosciutto.
Now you can build your own pizza at your desk and stay classy.
Sort of. You may have pizza hands, but it will be worth it.
Obviously mine are a little sparse, but I made veggie ones so I could get more greens in, and I wanted two pitas so I went light on the toppings. Choices people, choices!
What was your favorite lunchable? If it was pizza, you can go over to my boyfriend's side of the room, because you can't sit with me. Gelatinous turkey and plastic cheese kinda gal over here.
Seriously, what did we eat as kids?