Are you back to school yet? I feel like summer flew by for us. Before we knew it the fun was over and we were back to 7 am alarms and packing bento lunches on the daily! I’ll miss the relaxed summer mornings but I am so glad to be back on a schedule.
This year we have one going into first grade, a senior in high school and a junior in college. Saying that out loud sounds as crazy as it feels. We are busy to say the least and it has definitely become a bit of a struggle accommodating everyones lunch needs. My older two are big enough to pack their own lunches and we are teaching my seven year old to do the same. As much as I enjoy creating fun themed bento boxes, it’s good for her to take the time to do it each morning. Maybe I’ll start making my own instead?
Of course I have a few mom hacks up my sleeve to make it easy for them. We always have a snack bin in our refrigerator full of healthy snack choices– string cheese, yogurt, applesauce, nuts, veggies, bars ect. During the school year we stock it full of snacks as well as pre-portioned sides for easy lunch packing.
I keep a chart on my refrigerator door to give them a little guidance. It looks something like this:
Bento Lunch packing 101
- grab a lunchbox
- pick a protein + a starch
- fruit of choice
- cheese or yogurt
- at least one vegetable
- enjoy a sweet treat
- snag a bottled water or juice box
- don’t forget utensils and a napkin
- ice pack to keep it cool
- always wear a smile
It’s no surprise we like bento boxes around our house. Our collection has grown large enough to justify it’s own cupboard space. Not only are they pretty, they keep your lunches organized and make it fun to eat! The individual compartments make it nice for little fingers and exciting for picky eaters. You can see my top three picks here.
Early morning sandwich assembly lines are our jam. I pull out a variety of lunch meat, sliced cheese, pre-sliced toppings and condiments and let them go to town! Our latest creation is this Italian deli sandwich, my kids are nuts for it! We skip the classic hoagie roll and swap it out with whole wheat rye, but feel free to use whatever bread you like. There is no wrong way to make this sammy!
Growing up in Boston and visiting Portland, Maine each summer as a child, the Italian sandwich holds a special place in my heart. We grabbed one every Saturday for lunch before we hit the beach. I can still remember the smell of our favorite sub shop on the corner, and the cutest old couple who ran it. They would never share their secrets to the worlds best sub, but they did tell us the key to a good Italian sandwich is the meat. I’d have to agree. We like to lay it on thick, the meatier the better. Private Selection always has a great variety, and the price is even sweeter.
Make sure to thinly slice your lettuce, onion and tomato for optimal layering.
Finally, the secret is in the sauce. I never use mayo, mustard or relish. Gasp I know. The oil and vinegar is all it needs. The longer it sets the better. Sprinkle with a little oregano, salt and pepper and ta-da… the most epic Italian sandwich is yours to enjoy!
Italian Deli Sandwich
- 4 slices whole wheat rye bread or bread of choice
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced Simple Truth Organic Black Forest ham
- 1/4 pound Private Selection Old World Milano salami
- 1/4 pound Private Selection Old World pepperoni
- 1/4 pound Simple Truth Organic provolone cheese
- 2 cups thinly shredded iceberg lettuce
- 1/2 thinly sliced onion
- 1 thinly sliced large tomato
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar divided
- dried oregano
- kosher salt and pepper
- hot and/or sweet peppers if desired
Lay bread out flat and layer on the ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese.
Top with shredded lettuce, onion, tomato slices, 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and peppers, if desired.
Slice in half and serve.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. The opinions and text are all mine.