Recipes

25 foods you can put in a Thermos

Experienced lunch-packers know: a Thermos increases your options. There are enough ideas here for a month of lunches. You're welcome.

By Lauren Ferranti-Ballem

25 foods you can put in a Thermos

Illustration: Flo Leung

Scrambled eggs

Eggs are a genius dinner, but even smarter: extra eggs for tomorrow’s lunch. Reheat and plunk them in, standing a few strips of bacon inside, too. Pack with your kid’s favourite carb (English muffin, bagel, bread) on the side.

illustration of scrambled eggs with ketchup smiley faceIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Meatballs

With a squishy bun and a few thin slices of mozzarella on the side, your kid can assemble the best meatball sandwich grade two has ever seen. Extra sauce with the meatballs is optional. Try this: Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs on Rice

illustration of meatballs in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Sautéed beans

Pack basic beans with chopped veg and tortilla chips (or soft shells) on the side, and turn your kid’s lunch into a travelling taco stand! Try this: Tex-Mex Black Beans on Rice

illustration of beans and veggies in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Corn on the cob

New veg alert! Plunge a half cob of corn into boiling water for 3 minutes, then seal in the Thermos. Guaranteed to cure the carrot stick blahs.

illustration of ear of corn in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Dumplings

Pre-made freezer dumplings make this lunch a snap. Don’t forget the soy sauce.

illustration of dumplings with soy sauce in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Leftover rice

Rice + whatever frozen veg you have + dash of soy sauce = lunch is done. Try this: Broccoli and Bacon Fried Rice

illustration of fried rice with veggies in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Grilled cheese

Sure you can pack grilled cheese—just make sure to include a cute container filled with ketchup for dipping. Try this: Grilled Cheese Soldiers

illustration of grilled cheeseIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Hot chocolate

Not lunch, no. An amazing recess treat? A million times yes. Try this: Classic Hot Chocolate

illustration of hot chocolate in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Oatmeal

Pack chopped fruit, seeds or shredded coconut on the side and it’s breakfast for lunch. Try this: Homemade Apple-Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal

illustration of oatmeal with berries and coconut strips in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Pasta

Pasta is never not a good idea. Leftover is obviously easiest, but if you have the time in the AM, boil some noodles, mix with butter, Parmesan and a handful of frozen peas, and it’s still lunch in 10 min. Try this: Homemade Alphabet Pasta 

illustration of pasta in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Pierogies

If you’re making them for dinner, throw a few extras in the pan. Anything that comes with a side of sour cream for dipping (bonus points for bacon bits) is a win for your kid.

illustration of pierogies in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Pizza

Whether it’s your takeout leftovers or a quickie English muffin pizza made by you, it’s all good to go. Try this: Grilled Veggie Pizza

illustration of pizzaIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Pulled chicken or pork

This big-batch protein can live many lives: as a partner to pasta or rice, piled on top of a squishy bun or loaded into a tortilla with a side of slaw. Let your kid decide. Try this: Saucy Pulled Pork

illustration of pulled pork in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Quesadillas

These are a sneaky way to pack a lot of veggies between layers of cheese. Salsa and sour cream on the side never hurt anyone. Try this: Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Quesadillas

illustration of a quesadilla in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Chicken fingers

Yet another chance to pack a dip on the side. Won’t you take it? Try this: “Fried” Chicken Fingers

illustration of chicken fingers and dip in thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Magic quinoa

Add dry quinoa, a pinch of salt, a drip of olive oil, some boiling water and tada—it’s fluffy by lunch. Get the recipe here.

illustration of quinoa in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Ramen

It’s essentially noodle soup, until you pack a boiled egg, fresh veggies and seaweed sheets on the side.

illustration of ramen with eggs in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Roasted veggies

Your kid won’t eat them raw? Boom. No excuses. Try this: Zesty Roasted Broccoli

illustration of roasted veggies in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Smoothie Bowl

A Thermos also keeps food cold, you know. Keep your kid’s favourite smoothie on the thick side and pack a spoon and all her favourite toppings (nut-free granola, chopped fruit and coconut shavings). Try this: High-Protein Smoothie

illustration of a smoothie bowl in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Soup

Make Sunday soup day, double your recipe, and you’ll get at a bunch of lunches out of the batch. Bonus: if your soup is veg heavy, you can give the carrot sticks and cucumber slices a rest. (Or you can do none of this and just crack a can of soup. It’s OK.) Try this one: Turkey, Bean, Kale and Pasta Soup

illustration of noodle soup in a thermosIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Stew

It’s got everything—meat, potatoes and veggies. Try this: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

illustration of beef stewIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Veggie Fritters

Finger food for the win. Try this: Bacon, Cheese and Veggie Fritters

illustration of falafel nuggetsIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Waffles or pancakes

They stay nice and steamy inside a warm Thermos. Pack some seed butter to slather on. Try this: Ham and Cheese Waffles

illustration of a waffle with fruitIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

A warm wrap

A cold sandwich is so…cold. Roll up leftover roasted veggies with cheese, and twist the bottom in foil to keep it together and help it stay warm.

illustration of a wrapIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

Yogurt

Maybe you don’t have a lunchbox-sized cold pack. Maybe you’re trying to cut back on the packaging of those mini yogurts and buying big tubs instead. Whatever the reason, yogurt works in a thermos. Be sure to pack lots of mix-ins to make it fun.

illustration of a thermos with yogurt, cut up fruit and chocolate chipsIllustration: Flo Leung, Thermos provided by well.ca

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