A friend who works lunch duty at an elementary school recently asked me if I had seen mini-cucumbers in the produce section at the grocery. She has been noticing them appear in kids’ lunch boxes. Always up for trying something new, I added them to my shopping list.
They’re tiny, portable, cute, flavorful, crunchy and refreshing! They range from the typical small-size gherkin up to restaurant-size pickles.
I prefer mine quartered and lightly salted, though you could easily just chomp into them whole. They taste like fresh cucumbers (obviously), but have the feeling of eating a pickle.
The packaging varies. Here are the bags from a couple of the varieties that I’ve purchased. (One company is even non-GMO, which I opt for when available.)
For Weight Watchers followers… good news! Fresh cucumbers are 0P+.
Previously, I’ve confessed my fondness for wraps. They are quick, versatile and (with the type I buy) low in Points Plus. I’ll throw almost anything into my wraps.
Today, it was leftover chicken (3 ounces for 3P+) from the whole chicken I baked yesterday, along with some mixed greens, cherry tomatoes and spicy mustard (all 0P+). With carrots, a mini-cucumber and a side of my favorite veggie dip (30g for 1P+), it was a satisfying lunch… high in protein, low in carbs and enough fruits and veggies to make me feel full.
This lighter lunch left room later in the day for the obligatory post-Easter Peeps. In case you’re wondering, 5 Peeps for 4P+….
Yes, I did just carry a bag of clementines into the donut shop. I had coffee, a donut and two clementines. No sideways glances from anyone.
For the record, if the donut shop offered fresh fruit, I wouldn’t have carried my own in.
When my boys were younger, I’d often pack their lunches “in fours.” Four of the following: protein, fruit, veggie, dairy, carbohydrate or treat.
To do this, I found square, air-tight containers and square silicon baking cups. It was a way to send lunch without the usual sandwich at the center. The boys’ appetites eventually outgrew the containers and I packed them away… until now.
Recently, I’ve re-discovered how fun packing “in fours” can be. Our daughter eats lunch away from home from time to time, so I broke out the containers once again. Not only are they good for her, but they’re good for me too! Depending on the day, it could make a large snack to hold me over while on the go. Or it could be a light lunch in-between appointments, to keep my in control until snack time.
My favorites to pack:
- Hard-boiled egg (2P+)
- Toasted almonds (15 pieces for 3P+)
- Carrot sticks (0P+)
- Cubed cheese or cheese rounds (P+ vary)
- Mini-pretzels (11 for 1P+)
- Mini-marshmallows (20 for 1P+)
- Toasted oat cereal (1/4 cup for 1P+)
- Turkey pepperoni slices (17 slices for 2P+)
- Sliced, salted cucumbers (0P+)
- Dark chocolate chips (1 TBS for 2P+)
- Grapes (0P+)
- Popcorn (stovetop popped, 1/2 cup for 1P+)
- Sliced apples – if eaten quickly, before they brown (0P+)
- Crackers (P+ vary)
What items would YOU pack? I’d love to hear some fresh ideas!