Whether you’re packing a lunch for your child to take to school or you’re packing food for yourself at the office it’s easy to fall into the routine of bringing the same thing. Here are a few creative lunch ideas that the whole family will love.

1. Balance is best. The most nutritious and filling lunches are ones with protein, vegetables and natural carbohydrate from foods like fruit and oats. Some of the classic convince lunch items are still great options. Apple sauce and mixed fruit cups are great ways to add a serving of natural carbohydrate to any lunch. Combine them with a string cheese or a deli meat roll-up and you have a perfect carbohydrate and protein blend.

2. Deli meat roll-up. Take a slice of your favorite cheese and wrap a piece of deli meat around it. You can also place spinach leaves and spicy mustard in the roll-up for an extra kick. I love munster cheese and spinach wrapped with a slice of turkey. Bring two or three of these roll-ups with a piece of fruit and you’ll have a protein packed lunch.

3. Vegetable based pasta salad. In July we had a recipe for Picnic Pasta Salad. The mix included broccoli, peppers, cheese, chicken, Italian sausage, artichoke hearts and more! This delicious blend of wholesome foods combined with Italian dressing is a great lunch selection. You can make it ahead of time, mix & match different vegetables to fit your taste and add variety.

4. Breakfast for lunch. A hard boiled egg with oatmeal is not only a power breakfast but it can be a power lunch as well. Enjoy a hard boiled egg with overnight oats & chia seeds (recipe on blog) and you’ll have energy to make it through a long afternoon.