Since we don’t have seasons marked by dramatic weather changes here in the tropics,  we look for our own seasonal milestones and back to school time is definitely one of them!  Marked by a frenzy of equipping our keiki with all the newest gadgets and gizmos to ease them back from lazy summer days,  why not consider a new twist on lunches too? 

The old adage about teaching a man to fish so he can eat holds truth in your kitchen as well.   Let’s give the kids a lunch they can be excited about!  Inspired by the Lunchables, lets rename these Munchables and tidy up the ingredients in the Lunchable, inviting the same DIY idea that Lunchables conceptualized but cleaning up the ingredients. Most items are just lurking in your fridge regularly and are easier to put together than the old lunch standby,  the sandwich.   A Bento or compartmentalized lunch box should work great for this!  Be sure to include a paper napkin.

A couple themes here:

Fresh MeX
Diced tomato, half of an Avo (dust with salt and cumin, squeeze of lime to prevent browning), lime wedge, black or scoop of refried beans, shredded cheese, cilantro and a toasted corn or white flour tortilla. Meat can be substituted for beans if your keiki needs some meat but ensure that the cooler/ lunch box stays cool enough to enter the danger zone is above 40 degrees for over two hours)

Nori bites 
Leftover rice, avocado, shredded carrots, cucumber strips, furikake seasoning, crushed shrimp chips or gomasaio, nori. Kids can pile the ingredients into a little nori wrapper and make their own Japanese themed nori bites,  a side of shoyu with a dash of chili oil an some grated garlic and ginger for dipping would be a great accompaniment. 

As you can see, there are myriad combinations for a DIY Munchable – much like a little mini lunch smorgasbord,  kids love the opportunity to put together their own creation to enjoy at lunchtime!

Maja Liotta is a private chef,  cooking instructor and mother to three awesome kids.  She resides on the north shore and when not creating food and memories for her clients, she’s chasing waves at her favorite beach, Ho’okipa and homeschooling her two younger children, Makai and Nora.