By Esther Sung, Epicurious.com
For all caretakers--parents, extended family members, nannies, sitters--who need some culinary inspiration when it comes to what to feed the kids (and themselves), pick up a copy of Kate McMillan & Sarah Putman Clegg's The Lunch Box: Loaded with Fun, healthy meals that keep them smiling (Weldon Owen) as well as Susie Cover's The Supper Club: Kid-friendly meals the whole family will love (Weldon Owen). Both cookbooks will provide some much-needed help on a daily--and nightly--basis.
Related: 5 Tips for Packing a Healthy and Tasty School Lunch
The Lunch Box is a small book but it's brimming with ideas. The recipes certainly outshine the rather plain sandwiches and lunch options I grew up with, with regards to both taste and presentation. There are some conventional lunch ideas such as Tuna Salad Cutouts, Homemade Granola Bars, Hummus & Veggie Wrap, and Honey, Almond Butter & Banana Sandwich but you can jazz it up with Chicken & Rice Wrap with Peanut Dip, Teriyaki Rice Bowl, and a Creamy Waldorf Salad. Whoever's making lunches will appreciate that these recipes yield just enough for a pint-sized appetite, making it possible to create a single serving without a lot of fuss. Also very useful are the tips and visual guides on how to serve these recipes. And if anything, they can help make a potentially tedious, pressure-filled process into something more fun.
See also: The Best Back-to-School Gear
After school, play dates, extracurricular activities, there's always dinner. And as many adults already know, there can be a chasm when it comes to what the kids and what the grown-ups want to eat. And after a long day, who wants to cater to individual tastes? Thankfully, Susie Cover, founder of Susie's Supper Club, delivers delicious recipes that appeal to taste buds of all ages in The Supper Club. What was once a table divided can now be integrated, thanks to recipes such as Roast Beef with Caramelized Onions on Toasted Brioche, Meyer Lemon Gnocchi, Mini Twice-Baked Potatoes, and Apple Pie Bars. These flavorful dishes can be quickly assembled, the perfect answer to the almost-daily question: "What's for dinner?"
Recipes to try from The Lunch Box:
Recipes to try from The Supper Club:
In need of more meal ideas? Check out our back-to-school coverage.
More from Epicurious:
- Packing and Planning Lunch 101
- Kids' Lunch Ideas
Healthy Snack Taste Test
- Homemade Popsicles: Recipes and Tips
Photos: Courtesy of Amazon