Book Review: Lunch Boxes and Snacks

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Posted by Petra Hildebrandt

When I was looking for more simple yet delicious lunchbox ideas to pack into bentos in the future, I discovered this neat little hardcover book by Annabel Karmel, who is a food author specializing in cooking with and for children.

Lunch Boxes and Snacks: Over 120 healthy recipes from delicious sandwiches and salads to hot soups and sweet treats

The book is dedicated to
all those parents who can't face making yet another peanut butter sandwich, myself included.

She had me grinning there, I admit :-)

In most parts of the world the new school year is starting or already in full swing, and many parents are desperate for quick and simple foods their children will eat, not only for lunches but also for dinner, and this 128-page book comes in handy for both purposes. It is on sale for (used) less than two dollars, I bought mine in Europe for about 5 Euros, and these are wisely invested bucks by any means.

The six sections of the book are
  • the creative lunch box
  • special sandwiches
  • savory specialties
  • crunchy salads
  • super soups
  • sweet sensations
Karmel offers a wide range of foods, from classics such as BLT or coronation chicken, to more funky items like ramen noodle salad, or spinach salad with mango and strawberries. You'll find simple tomato soup and alphabet minestrone, homemade real-fruit popsicles, trail mix bars, muffins, cookies, Chinese rice salad or chicken chunks on a stick. The blend of well-known favorites with a new and fresh approach, and simplified fusion cooking, is very convincing.

What is even more appealing is the simplicity - you can cook all those dishes in short time and even with your kids, because the preparations are simple, and easily adaptable to your needs and tastes. Any of the handful of recipes I have tried so far (the ramen noodle salad named "mummy's ramen noodles" was an instant fave at a picknick recently) lent itself to easy adaptation and was as tasty as rapidly prepared.

I will make many more of the recipes in this book, without doubt, although most of them will probaby not end up in a lunch box. And if you are looking for great sandwich ideas, the sandwich chapter will bring new zing to your palate.

The initial chapter about packing lunches and how to bring your kids to eat new foods (directly related to Dharms article on raising picky eaters) is full of great tips and insights - can you imagine, that 84 % of all lunches contain potato chips and other salty snacks, and 94% feature sandwiches? It is high time to bring more variety to the palate by packing luscious lunches, and this little book is a great helper for that goal.

There's one thing I don't like about the book, though: it relies heavily on carbohydrates and grains, and if you need to watch your carb intake, or if you react to grains as I do, most of the offered ideas are not for you, unfortunately.

Still, I love the variety of new and traditional food ideas offered in the more than 120 recipes in Lunch Boxes and Snacks. Back to school? You and your children will at least be enjoying your meals.

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This Post was written by Petra from FoodFreak in Hamburg


Petra - this is a great tip! I really need to get my hands on the book. What had me sold was the paragraph on simplicity and short itme cooking. These are vital poits for me when preparing the lunch box. I am sure for other parents too.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
September 2, 2008 at 8:45:00 AM GMT+2  

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