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Lunch Box Finger Foods

I love when food is fun! Growing up, I was lucky to have a mom who gave me free reign when it came to getting as creative as I could while packing my own school lunches. That’s when I learned the value of fabulous finger foods. Although generally thought of as being kid-friendly, finger foods are just as much fun for grown-ups. Finger foods can be miniature versions of many popular dishes from appetizers and sandwiches to pizzas, gourmet foods and desserts. But when it comes to packing lunches and snacks, the cleaner and neater the better — requiring as few napkins as possible! Here are my ideas for some no-fork, no-spoon, no-cooking–required finger foods. Combine several for a full lunch or pack one or two for snacks. Some of these can be served cold (pack with an ice pack) or warmed in the morning and placed in a thermos until lunchtime.
  • Small squares or triangles of sandwiches. Try ham, turkey, tuna, hummus or egg salad sandwiches.
  • Marinated, baked tofu, cubed into bite-size pieces
  • Mini whole grain bagels, plain or cut in half and stuffed with cream cheese, turkey or ham, peanut or other nut butter, and/or natural fruit-sweetened jam.
  • Fancy up your lunch with Mini Brie and Arugula Sandwiches with Apple Mustard.
  • Small slices of cold pizza; make these simple Whole Grain Mini Pizzas.
  • Small slices or squares of cold quiche. Try Mini Ham and Cheese Quiches, Spinach, Mushroom and Swiss Crustless Quiche Squares, or Tofu and Broccoli Quiche.
  • Small chicken, turkey or tofu sausages – served cold or heated, wrapped in foil and placed in a thermos.
  • Cooked, cold samosas or vegetable potstickers.
  • Ready-to-eat spring rolls.
  • Vegetarian sushi (the brown rice sushi is delicious).
  • Vegetable pâté on crackers or slices of French baguette, like in this Black-Eyed Pea Pâté with Pickled Onions on Flatbread Crackers or in this Mushroom Pâté
  • Deviled eggs.
  • Natural beef or turkey jerky.
  • Mixed nuts, trail mix or air-popped popcorn.
  • Fruits like apples, peaches, plums, grapes and berries (slice if needed).
  • Steamed, cooled broccoli florets (good dipped into dressing or hummus).
  • Cut up veggies such as carrots, celery, cucumbers and peppers – be sure to pack a favorite healthy dip such as nut butters, hummus, bean dip or cream cheese mixed with mashed fruit.
  • Deconstruct a sandwich into kabobs by combining cherry tomatoes, cubed cheese, toasted bread cubes, pickles and rolled-up deli meat on skewers.
  • Smoked salmon (great with cream cheese and sliced red onions on crackers).
  • Miniature whole grain sweet or savory muffins – you can make any favorite muffin into mini muffins with a mini-muffin pan. Try Savory Cheese, Cranberry and Herb Mini Muffins or Yogurt Honey Health Muffins.
  • Whole grain graham crackers spread with nut butter and fruit sweetened jam or banana slices.
  • Cookies made from healthy grains such as Oh-So-Good Oatmeal Raisin cookies.
  • Natural fruit strips – these are a healthier version of fruit leathers, made from real fruit with no added sugar and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
For more great ideas, check out our Back to School Primer. Got your own favorite finger foods perfect for lunch or snacks? Let me know!

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Gyan Prakash Shaw says …

Simply & Elegantly presented. We hv been exposed to similar write ups , in various nedia, over time, but this is a flash of brilliance - concise,useful. I'm from India, & found it extremely practical(some) & as per my desire

Sarah says …

I've had to think about this a lot lately. My new schedule means I'm eating lunch during my commute and I'm a vegan who likes to eat raw foods. Thus far my list includes deep orange (pumpkin/butternut) or green smoothies, vegetable or carrot juice, flax crackers (possibly using the juice pulp left over), zucchini and sweet potato dehydrated chips, and various forms of oat/buckwheat bars that can include a nut butter, maybe a fruit, and a sweet-friendly veggie like zucchini, carrots, squash, jicima I'm still digging around the internet, so thanks for this post!

Michelle says …

Be careful of the kebabs. Some skewers could fall under zero tolerance guidelines at schools. Don't send metal skewers to school!

Kim Queen says …

I think the little british tea sandwiches make the children not only feel good but "act good" so yes make lunch special for them...

Shelly says …

I usually love your articles and recipes but this article is way off in our area for schools. First, no refrigeration for our kids' lunches and even though I put a cold pack in their lunch am too afraid to pack cream cheese or lunch meat. These lunch ideaas seem more like lunch ideas for the rich and famous.

Miko says …

My Mom was inspired. She wrapped lunch meat around cheese (sliced or string), used olives and cherry tomatoes, and made animals! I still like my lunch "meat" wrapped aroung cheeses. I am vegetarian now. I eat it with olives and cherry toms. I also really like almost anything on the flat bagels or sandwich flats.

Jette Stuart says …

So glad to be in Vancouver now to enjoy this wonderful store!

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Healthy Eating says …

Great list Alana! Can't wait to try them out :)