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.
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 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
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!