Spicy Tuna wraps are the latest addition to my Pick and Choose lunch system. I’ve been using it for years, and for us, it’s a real game changer. No more making lunches every night after dinner or rushing to throw something together in the morning during the morning madness dash out the door. Prepping ahead for the whole week saves time, money and definitely reduces stress for me.
What is Pick and Choose?
Every Sunday I make lunches for 5 people for the whole week, so that’s 25 lunches, and I don’t do all sandwiches. After years of fighting the lunch time blues battle, I came up with a system we call Pick and Choose. One basket has an assortment of sandwiches, wraps, salad bowls, “Brooks boxes” One basket has baggies prepped with cut fruit, vegetables with dips in little containers, cubed cheeses, nuts, pickles, and whatever other little snack type foods I can find. The third basket has sweet and salty treats, either homemade or store bought and sliced into individual sized portions. Everyone “Picks and Chooses” one item from each basket, and ends up with a well balanced, not boring lunch, that most of the time gets eaten and not left in the bottom of the backpack.
I’m always trying new combinations of fillings, breads, salads and bowls that don’t necessarily need re-heating as apparently the line up in the lunch room can be quite long and I’ve never found a thermos that truly keeps food hot!
Keeping it interesting
While I definitely used to make the standard sandwiches with cold cuts, normally these were the items that got left in the bottom of the basket so I had to find a way to make them more interesting. There are a LOT of school lunches to be made in a year, and I’m not sure who got bored faster, me of making the same thing week after week or the boys eating those sandwiches day after day. I’ve been doing Pick and Choose for about 5 years now, and we still love it, here are some simple ideas that keep things interesting.
- Use different kinds of bread, white, whole wheat, tortilla wraps, bagels, croissants, kaiser rolls, Ciabatta buns
- Layer on the flavours with condiments; mayo, yellow mustard, honey mustard, Dijon Mustard, Salsa, Ranch or Italian Dressing
- Cheese it up; try mixing up the type of cheese slices you use, or sprinkle on shredded cheeses in various flavours. Cream cheese now comes in a variety of flavours as well, and I use them often.
- Add texture; try using different lettuces, baby spinach, arugula, tomatoes, shredded carrots, slivered onions, avocado, sliced cucumbers, sliced pickles, olives, crispy bacon, for a pop of texture and flavour.
- Flexible Fillings; Even basic fillings like Tuna, Egg Salad, Chicken Salad can all be changed by using different condiments to keep them interesting.
- Leftovers; one of my favourite fillings for sandwiches or bowls is Intentional leftovers. Grilled steak, chicken, shrimp all make excellent fillings or toppings for a salad bowl. Meatloaf, meatballs, grilled salmon, roasted chicken can all be made into wraps as well.
- Mix & Match; I pack the sandwiches up in halves and label everything. That way people can choose a half or a whole sandwich mixing and matching whatever they feel like that morning.
Spicy Tuna Wraps are a perfect example of a flexible filling. I’ve taken basic Tuna Salad and changed the flavour profile to one that is inspired by the Spicy Tuna Sushi Rolls my kids love. Sriracha Mayo instead of plain may, and I add in shredded carrots and sliced cucumbers for texture. Roll it all up in a wrap, or scoop the Tuna on top of salad with and extra drizzle of mayo for the dressing. Super simple, but incredibly delicious, and definitely not boring. You can do the same with Egg Salad, Chicken Salad, Deviled Ham Salad, so many options once you start thinking about flavour combinations that you enjoy.
Meal Planning, worth the effort
Now you may be thinking this is a whole lot of work, and while it definitely does take me about an hour to do everything, it’s so much better than the alternative. Furthermore, if we are in a pinch for a healthy dinner/snack on the go before a last minute extra curricular we can always grab from the Pick and Choose baskets. Like all things, it takes time and practice to get into the routine, but once you do it, you’ll never look back, honestly, the weeks I don’t make Pick and Choose are super stressful and expensive. It’s worth the extra effort in my opinion.
Now, the recipe for the Spicy Tuna Wraps, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
- 4 oz tuna drained
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Sriracha
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 large flour tortilla wraps
- 2/3 cup shredded carrot
- 1/2 avocado sliced
- 1/2 cucumber thinly sliced
- In a small bowl, mix together the tuna, mayonnaise, Sriracha. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the vegetables between the two wraps, place in the center
- Divide tuna equally between the wraps and place on top of vegetables.
- Fold the end over the filling, fold in the sides and roll up tightly.
- Cut in half, place on a sandwich wrapper and roll up or in a zip lock bag.
- Store in refrigerator
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