Nuts about protein
Protein helps keep kids’ blood sugar steady
and stimulates brain activity—both important
for helping them stay focused in class.
Peanut butter comes to mind as a lunch
protein staple, so I ask Costco buyer Shauna
Lopez about two Kirkland Signature™ varieties.
“We carry an organic peanut butter and a
natural peanut butter,” she says, adding that
both are made with Valencia peanuts.
“Valencias are a naturally sweeter peanut, so
we don’t have to add any sugar. And we leave
the skins on because they also contribute to
As a result, both contain only two ingre-
dients: peanuts and salt. No sugar, corn syrup
or hydrogenated oils.
If your kids prefer their nuts by the handful, Kirkland Signature Snacking Nut Mix is a
convenient lunch option, says assistant buyer
Each box contains 10 tubes each of peanuts, almonds and cashews.
“Our selection has an equal balance of
peanuts, almonds and cashews, whereas other
items on the market are more heavily
weighted to the lower-cost commodities like
peanuts,” Chris says.
“In addition, our Kirkland Signature
Snacking Nut Mixes are either roasted or
steam pasteurized to ensure an enjoyable and
“Go nuts and enjoy!”
A teacher dishes on the main dish
Another great protein option might
already be in your fridge: last night’s dinner.
Morford says she approaches lunch the
same way she approaches dinner, by first
thinking of a main course. Often the same food
works for both meals—even if it’s served cold.
“The biggest thing that surprises me is
how willingly kids will eat food that is cold,
like hamburgers,” says Julie Holmes, a preschool teacher. “They have no problem eating
it cold, with or without a bun, whereas we
adults would probably cringe a little bit.
“Oh, and chicken nuggets—cold or hot,
they are a very, very popular lunch, even with
If your kids prefer cold meat in a sand-
wich or a wrap, turkey is a nice option. And
Kirkland Signature Oven Roasted Turkey
Breast is an even nicer one.
Curtis Adamson, Costco buyer, points
out that lunchmeat typically is formed from
various cuts of meat that are combined and
bonded into a single log, then sliced into uniform shapes. “Because we’re taking one single
turkey breast, roasting it and slicing it, you
have a much better texture and bite with our
item versus any [other] item that’s out there,”
He also notes that other retailers use fill-
Waffle-Iron Grilled Cheese
I’VE FOUND OUR old-fashioned waffle iron
makes a tasty grilled sandwich that holds up in
a lunch box, even if it’s no longer hot at noontime. The apple adds tartness and crunch, but
can easily be left out. If you don’t have a waffle
iron or a panini press, cook this on the stove top
as you would an ordinary grilled cheese. Since
it’s made in a waffle iron, it only follows that the
sandwich doubles as an out-the-door breakfast.
1/3 cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese
2 slices whole-wheat or rye bread
3 thin slices tart apple such as Granny
Oil for the waffle iron
Preheat the waffle iron. While the waffle iron
heats up, assemble the sandwich. Sprinkle half
of the cheese over one bread slice. Lay the
apple slices over the cheese. (There should be
enough apple to cover the bread without over-
Top with the remaining cheese and the remaining bread slice.
Brush the waffle iron with oil. Put the sandwich
in the waffle iron and close tightly. Cook until
the bread is browned and the cheese is melted,
2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the waffle iron and let cool for 5
minutes. Cut in half and wrap well or store in a
container. Makes 1 sandwich.
Make-ahead notes: This sandwich is best made
in the morning, before school.
Recipe courtesy of Best Lunch Box Ever by
Katie Sullivan Morford
ers or a variety of other ingredients in their
sliced turkey. “Our oven-roasted turkey breast
is turkey breast, water and 2 percent or less of
salt, rice flour, sugar, lemon juice concentrate
and vegetable oil. That’s it.”
The USDA recommends that vegetables
and fruit make up half of each meal. Veggies
are particularly challenging for my kids.
“I think parents can be quick to give up
when they pack something and the kids
haven’t touched it,” says Morford. “Sometimes
it just takes a while for them to get on board
with new, healthy foods.
“I started putting fennel and radishes in
my children’s lunches, and for a very long
time they wouldn’t touch those things. But
now they love them. It can just take a little
patience and perseverance.”
And some dip.
“Kids love to dip,” says Holmes. “Carrots
and celery by themselves don’t get eaten, but
if the kids have hummus or something to dip
them in, they will eat them up.”
Holmes says kids also will eat vegetables
if they helped grow them.
“Kids will eat anything they grow them-
selves,” she says. “When we grew potatoes,
several parents said, ‘No, they’re not going to
eat them,’ and the kids were all about eating
The same thing happens if the kids help
make their lunches, Holmes says.
“They seem more excited if they helped
pack their lunch,” she says. “Even if it is the
same thing they had the day before, if they
pack their lunch, they are very proud and
excited and are more likely to eat it.”
I like that last tip the best. No question,
I’m going to give it a try this school year. C
“Parents can be
quick to give up
when they pack
the kids haven’t
— Katie Sullivan Morford