Hi, I'm Nancy Newcomer - mom, cook & food blogger with www.NancyNewcomer.com.I'm here today for About.com to share my Tips for Making Kid & Mom Friendly Lunches that are easy, healthy, and appeal to the entire family. I don't know about you, but I'm all about saving time in the kitchen and keeping things as simple as possible when it comes to lunch.One way to make lunchtime easy is to serve Leftovers. Leftovers from dinner the night before can help you in more ways than one. Of course you can always heat up that leftover spaghetti in the microwave, but really with a little creativity, you can morph those dinners into an entirely different meal. For instance, Wraps & Pita Bread make leftovers more interesting. If you had chicken or roasted vegetables the night before, these are perfect for a wrap or pita.Chop up the chicken, add the veggies. No leftover veggies? Chop up some lettuce and shred some carrots. Or how about some sun-dried tomatoes? Want to dress it up even further? Try Pesto, Hummus, or Cream Cheese. Guacamole or sliced avocados are even better. Olives are another fun choice. Stock your fridge and pantry ahead of time with some of these extras and it'll make all the difference.Pasta Salad. I'm a big fan of pasta salad - you can make this the night before and it's ready for lunch the next day. Kids love it too, especially when you get creative with the fun pasta shapes. You may use regular pasta, or if you have a gluten sensitivity, there are many varieties of gluten free pasta. You can add a variety fresh veggies & herbs, or, for a time saver, keep canned artichokes, olives, and garbanzos on hand.For a Greek Pasta Salad, use feta, cucumber, tomatoes and Greek olives. How about Tamari or Soy Sauce with Sesame oil, snow peas, & scallions for an Asian pasta salad? With a few choice items in your pantry you can whip this up in no time.Sandwiches. Is this a cop out? Not really. Everyone loves a good sandwich and it's really about high quality, fresh ingredients. Invest in nitrate free lunch meats. They really do taste better and are better for you. Bring up the flavor level of a good ol' turkey sandwich by adding fresh basil leaves and thinly sliced cucumbers.How about something different like an herb infused goat cheese? I'm also a fan of the classic P, B, & J. But if you want to mix it up, how about trying almond or cashew butter? I also love the fruit spreads that are sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar.Don't forget to do the fun "mom trick" - cut the sandwich into triangles or find a favorite cookie cutter to use.I'm Nancy Newcomer - to learn more, visit online at About.com. Thanks for watching and Happy Cooking!
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