Fancified Lunchables

Staff Writer
Fancified Lunchables

Photo by Katherine Baker

Lunchables: an undeniably fun to-go box with everything you need to play lunch time chef. Who doesn’t love customizing their own mini pizza or cracker sandwiches? But Lunchables have have their flaws.

The ingredients list. Have you ever seen something so long with so many WTF chemicals? Yikes. Besides, those mini pizzas have little to offer besides boatloads of sodium and saturated fat. And then there’s the lack of variety. Now that we’re all grown up “foodies,” our palates are, ahem, more sophisticated (right?) So while the idea of Lunchables is inarguably brilliant, it’s time for a serious makeover.

Here are a few DIY Lunchable-inspired ideas so you can mix up your brown-bag routine and once again be the envy of all your study buddies.

Margherita or Traditional Mini Pizza

Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

[Easy]

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 0 min
Total Time: 5 min

Servings: 1

Ingredients:
1-2 Sandwich Thins
4 tablespoons marinara or pizza sauce
Shredded cheese or sliced mozzarella
4 cherry tomatoes (optional)
Fresh basil (optional)
Side salad or piece of fruit

Kick it up! Substitute pesto for marinara sauce, goat cheese for the shredded cheese or mozzarella, and arugula for the basil. 

Directions:
1. Place marinara sauce in a small tupperware container.
2. Half cherry tomatoes. Rip basil. Pack in ziplock bag.
3. Place cheese/sliced mozzarella in zip lock bag.
4. Pack side salad or fruit.
5. Pack a plastic spoon or knife for assembly.
5. When it’s lunchtime, open sandwich thin. Spread tomato sauce on the sandwich thin. Top with cheese, tomatoes, and basil. If you have access to a microwave or toaster oven, heat if desired.

(Classier) Cracker Stackers
Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

[Easy]

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 0 min
Total Time: 5 min

Servings: 1

Ingredients:
8-12 whole wheat crackers
Cheese of your choice (we recommend brie, Manchego, aged cheddar, etc)
Lunchmeat of your choice (we suggest prosciutto or sliced sausage for meat-eaters and flavored tempeh for vegetarians)
Pear
Grapes
2 tablespoons nuts and/or dried fruit
1-2 tablespoon apricot (or other flavored) jelly

Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

Directions:
1. Put crackers in a ziplock bag.
2. Slice cheese and meat, place each in a separate small plastic bag.
3. Rinse fruit. Slice apples and pears and place in a small plastic bag. Add grapes.
4. Place nuts in a small tupperware container or plastic bag.
5. Place jelly in a small tupperware container.
6. Pack a plastic knife or spoon and napkins.

Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

7. At lunchtime, build your cracker sandwiches any way you like. We love brie and apricot jelly with a pear on top.

Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

Insider tip: East Village Cheese shop on Third Avenue between East 9th and 10th Streets has great, inexpensive containers of assorted cheese chunks and dried fruit for under $3, and probably the best deals on brie in the city.

Nacho Average Nacho
Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

[Easy]

Prep Time: 6 min
Cook Time: 1 min
Total Time: 7 min

Servings: 1

Ingredients:
10-15 large tortilla chips  (we recommend Trader Joe’s Multigrain with Flax) or 1 large pita
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons salsa
1/4 cup hummus or guacamole
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 tablespoon milk
Baby carrots
Sliced cucumber or jicama

Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

Directions:
1. Place tortilla chips in a plastic baggie. If using a large pita instead, cut into 8 triangles.
2. Place shredded cheese in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave on low heat for about 30 seconds, until melted. Add milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons salsa and hot sauce if desired. This is your queso dip. Place in small tupperware container.
3. Place guacamole or hummus into a small container. Do the same with the 1/4 cup salsa.
4. Slice a cucumber or jicama into sticks and place in a plastic baggie with as many baby carrots as your heart desires.
5. At lunchtime, dip everything in everything. Trust us, even the seemingly unusual combinations are going to be scrumptious.

Photo by Katherine Baker

Photo by Katherine Baker

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