Book Review: Pack a Lunch by Trader Joe’s

Book Review

Just in time for the start of the school year, I was introduced to the series of cookbooks that Trader Joe’s produces, called “Cooking with Trader Joe’s.” I teach a lot of cooking classes and find that I learn something from my students each class; what a gift! I often pose the question to my students: “What’s your favorite cookbook?” Of course I always get lots of interesting responses. So when one student responded this week with this Trader Joe’s series I just had to dig deeper. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there are more than two dozen books in this series, with topics ranging from “Vegetarian” to “Party Cooking” to healthy cooking in “Skinny Dish.”

The book I stumbled across that filled my heart with cooking happiness was “Pack a Lunch.” How fitting for this time of year! This is a great, highly approachable book filled with practical tips for making packing a lunch easy, streamlined, and delicious. Of course there are scads of awesome recipes, designed for children and adults alike. But I also love the message this book delivers about food and family: if everyone eats the same meal life is so much simpler! Whenever parents ask me what the secret is to having kids eat better, I answer with the very same message; don’t be a full service restaurant! Making one healthy delicious meal is hard enough, and making two or three just doesn’t make sense for my family and our schedules. When it comes to packing lunches the same idea holds true.

This book is filled with creative ideas to expand your repertoire of offerings, and makes a truly convincing argument for why everyone should pack lunch: they’re less expensive, way healthier, and much more interesting than cafeteria and fast food.

The author lists the seven components of a good packed lunch and gives the reader loads of ways to fulfill these requirements. Keep it in mind the next time you’re packing up eats for your child:

1. Whole grain carbohydrates

2. Whole fruits

3. Whole vegetables

4. Water

5. Dairy

6. Protein

7. Love!

This book would be a great element to anyone’s collection of everyday cookbooks. Happy lunch packing!