Charcuterie – The New PB & J

A French term roughly translated as cured meat, charcuterie found popularity back in the 15th century largely due to its ability to be stored at room temperature. While lack of refrigeration is no longer a factor, charcuterie is all the rage these days. From casual at home snacking to formal black-tie events and every kind of restaurant in between, you’ll find yourself enjoying little bits of a lot of things rather than meal-sized portions. Even better, we don’t have to eat what we don’t like. Bingo! This type of eating is perfect for picky eaters – especially kids.

Packing the perfect lunch at 6 a.m. while trying to get your kids (and maybe even yourself) out the door can be challenging. What’s worse is finding the same perfectly packed lunch untouched at the end of the day because “effective immediately, your child no longer likes _________” (insert item here).

With picky eaters and food allergies, the traditional peanut butter and jelly might not make the grade anymore. Next time you’re packing school lunch, mix it up with charcuterie-inspired options. Even if two or three items come home, you can rest assured that your child had at least some nourishment during the day.

Choose one from each column for a well-balanced lunch:

GrapesCarrot SticksBeef JerkyString CheeseWhole Grain Crackers
Apple SlicesSnap PeasCubed Chicken BreastYogurtPretzels
Cubed MelonBroccoli FloretsEdamameCheese Slices or CubesPopcorn
Raisins or Dried CranberriesJicama SticksAlmondsYogurt or Sour Cream Based Ranch DipDry Cereal (low sugar)
BerriesEdamameTofuCottage CheeseWhole Grain Toaster Waffle
Sliced BananasSliced Bell PeppersHard Boiled Egg SlicesLow-Fat Cream CheesePita Chips

How to Pack

For a simple, disposable option – fill sandwich or snack size bags with dry ingredients and disposable two-ounce sauce cups with sauces and other ingredients that might leak or spill. Pack it all in a paper lunch bag and skip the dirty dishes.

Reusable lunch containers are the perfect size – just fill with disposable or reusable cupcake liners to create individual cups for each food. Or try two-ounce little containers that come with lids. Reusable containers are easy to find and won’t break the bank – especially if you want to trash any that have been lurking in the bottom of a backpack for two weeks.

For items that need to stay cold, a frozen bottle of water is a perfect option and makes for an icy cold drink at lunchtime.

Looking for more ideas to enhance your child’s lunch options? NOAH’s team of registered dietitians are available for creative suggestions. Schedule an appointment today!