Leftover dinner from the night before is the perfect starting point for a wholesome, balanced lunch for the little ones – here’s how to do it!
It’s that time of year again! The mornings are more brisk, the leaves are changing, and school is back in session. Instead of sandwiches and homemade fare every morning, an easy (and nutritious!) shortcut is to utilize leftovers from the night before. Giada, for example, makes pasta for dinner often and Jade will take leftovers along with her for lunch the next day, along with some extra food to keep it nutritious. We like to follow Giada’s basic equation for a balanced school lunch – you can switch it up based off of the food you have on hand, but we find this to be an easy cheat-sheet to make sure our kids are getting the nutrition they need!
2 Parts Leftovers
Leftovers can mean anything, but usually we have some sort of pasta on hand. If you’re planning ahead, these recipes make a perfect next-day lunch – even cold!
1 part veggies/fruit
The most kid-friendly veggie out there? The humble baby carrot! We also love snappy cherry tomatoes, grapes, berries and cut up melon to fulfill a picky child’s vitamin quota. You know your little one better than anyone – so pick their favorite fruit and veggies you know they’ll really eat!
You can even take a few pointers from our to help you brainstorm some produce!
1 part snack
Always send your kid along with a snack! While there may be decent vending machine options nowadays, not many children will willingly pick a granola bar over cheetos. Be sure to have an easy-to-eat snack ready for them, with enough calories to keep them totally energized from morning ’til lunchtime. For example, Jade loves olives and all things antipasti. Snack cheeses and salame are a great choice!
1 part dolci
We know we’re happier when we pack along a treat in our work lunches, so we should give our kids the same sweet surprise! Whip up a batch of Giada’s (they taste like cookies! so good!) and dole them out throughout the week, or if you’re anything like Giada & Jade, a piece of chocolate is the best treat ever. And if you’re really looking to get them excited when they open up the lunchbox, a giant will surely give them energy from lunch ’til pick-up time!
Article by Giada De Laurentiis