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Packing Hot Lunches For The First Cool Fall Days

Updated on August 4, 2016

After a long, hot summer, we all look forward to those first crisp fall days. And with it our menus change. Why not change the lunch you pack for your kids as well. Salads, wraps, and cold sandwiches are great late summer options, but when the temperatures start to drop, your little ones will appreciate a hot dish in their lunchbox.

Soup & A Hot Sandwich

A favorite school lunch for many is tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Who doesn’t love soup and a hot sandwich for lunch on a cool, crisp, fall day? If you thought those were outside your packed lunch capabilities, think again. All it takes is a small thermos, some aluminum foil and ideally an insulated lunchbox.

Make the soup the day before from scratch, or heat up some canned soup in the morning, right before school. Get it piping hot, and if possible, run some hot or even boiling water in the thermos first to get everything as warm as possible. Pour the soup in the thermos and sit it in the insulated lunch box. Don’t forget to pack a spoon! Lastly, make the hot sandwich. Grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese were always a favorite of mine, just as a Panini would be. Fix the sandwich as usual and then wrap it in several layers of aluminum foil. If you’re worried about the bread getting soggy, wrap it in a paper towel first, then the foil. Keep the sandwich in the insulated lunch box and everything should be staying toasty warm for hours. Mix and match the soup and sandwich combos for endless portable lunch possibilities.

Chili & Stew

Of course you’re not limited to just soup. A nice hardy stew or a bowl of chili with some corn chips or a side of fresh cornbread make a nice addition to any lunchbox. Make a batch of your favorite chili or stew and put it in your kids’ lunchboxes for the following days.

Another great option is to freeze it in smaller portions and take them out as needed to add to lunchboxes. This is also a great time for you to take lunch to work or keep a bowl at home to reheat at lunch time. As with the soup we talked about earlier, you can get a short thermos, run hot water in it, and then fill it with the piping hot chili or stew. That will keep the lunch warm until well past lunch time.

Leftovers Galore

Last but not least, don’t forget about leftovers. They make for great lunchbox additions. There are wide mouthed thermoses out there that can hold a variety of leftover food from pasta dishes, to things like fried rice, or anything you can think of that would work well put in a bowl.

If your child has access to a microwave, you can pack just about any leftover that can then be heated at school. Find a few microwave-safe plastic containers that work well and fit your child’s lunch box and you’re good to go.

What was your favorite hot lunch growing up?

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