Green Your Lunch The Irish Way To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

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No, I’m not talking about the eco/environment thing. That’s all well and good and I applaud anyone who focuses on aiding and abetting the environment in its bid to survive. Heck, I’ve even started taking those reusable grocery bags with me when I go to stock up and let me tell you, on what I buy alone at the grocery store I feel like I’ve at least saved a small state (if you live in a small state, feel free to thank me later).

My version of a “green” lunch is all about the upcoming holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. We have a lot of fun with this holiday at our house.  Actually, we have a lot of fun with all of the holidays at our house. You see, my mother was the type of person who made every single little holiday a grand celebration. She always says that kids look forward to holidays so much and its just too long to wait between Christmas and their birthdays, so you have to make the little holidays a big deal too.

At our house, this means that the leprechauns come to visit.

The night before St Patrick’s day, after the kids are asleep, leprechauns come to our house and sprinkle leprechaun kisses (clover stickers) all over their rooms. They awaken to find kisses on their pillow, in their shoes, littered across their floor to mark the trail of the leprechauns, and even on their cheeks! The have a lot of fun with this and we all talk about the leprechauns visit for the rest of the day.

The real fun for me though is on the years when March 17th falls on a school day*. This is when I surprise them with an all green lunch. I began this tradition when my oldest was in preschool. He had no idea I had done anything until he opened his lunch and found it wrapped in green cellophane. Green after green item was pulled out amid growing grins and by the time he was done his teacher had returned from the classroom with her camera to take a photo of it all which I have included at the bottom of this post! *My kids will be out of school on Spring Break this year on St Patrick’s Day so I’m greening their lunches tomorrow! They’ll be double surprised! ~giggle~

This is a fun idea but not just for kids. Do you have a spouse who takes their lunch to work with them? You know adults enjoy whimsy as much, if not more, than kids do! Surprise them with an unexpected green lunch on March 17th!

I guarantee it will make their day every bit as much as it will the kids!


The possibilities with this are limitless. A few things I picked up are:

  • green applesauce
  • Apple juice with green label on bottle (I’m gonna dye this, too!)
  • Apple juice box in green packaging
  • Small bag sour cream and onion chips
  • Apple Nutri-grain bar
  • Rainbow Goldfish (read below)
  • Clear green Easter basket wrap (this is a must if you can find it!)
  • Clear green party treat bags (I picked up several of these this year to wrap sandwiches and such in)
  • Pick out the green M&M’s and make cookies (I’m doing this next week!)
  • Clover stickers (Which are getting harder and harder to find in my neck of the woods!)

There are more ideas at the end of this post and I’m inviting all of you to leave comments and pass on your ideas as well!


Do I actually take time to pick out all of the green goldfish crackers from the package?

You bet your shamrocks I do!


I also drop a few drops of green dye into my apple juice if I end up using the bottled kind. You can use blue food coloring if you don’t have green and still come out with green (yellow and blue make…)

In previous years, I’ve always made green Kool-Aid, which is my absolute most favorite flavor of Kool-Aid in the world! An extremely generous reader sent me a TON of Splenda (I’m still doing the happy dance, Mary!) and my first thought was the gallons and gallons of green Kool-Aid I could drink. Guess what though? No green Kool-Aid to be found in my town! ~Sobs~ It’s the lime flavored. Y’all tell me if you happen to see any because I’m hoping the people of North Alabama have just had a moment of temporary insanity and forgot to order it (at Publix, Piggly Wiggly, Wal Mart…). Surely to goodness Kool-Aid would not just QUIT making green kool aid without consulting with me FIRST! UPDATE: I can now find green Kool-Aid again! This post was originally written in 2009 and green kool aid is once more in abundance. Viva La Green Kool Aid!


My green apple juice!

With regards to St. Patrick himself. He is reported to have driven all of the snakes out of Ireland. The concept of a place on earth without snakes has always baffled me since I have lived in Alabama 99.8% all of my life. I read once that there are 5,000 species of snakes and 4,998 of those live in Alabama. I feel pretty certain this was an attempt at humor but anyone whose ever lived here won’t have a hard time believing it to be true. I recently spoke to a bona fied Irishman and he testified to the whole no-snake thing in Ireland, stating that it was just too cold for them to live there. Now y’all Irish folks oughta be careful though because that’s what they used to say about Alligators in North Alabama, too.

If you find yourself facing a snake for the first time in Ireland, I officially volunteer to fly over there and show you how to identify the nasty ones – in exchange for someone showing me how to do a decent Irish accent. I love it so much that I can’t help but try every now and then and all I can manage to say without sounding like a complete idiot is “They’re Magically Delicious!”


Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

You can cut your sandwich in the shape of a shamrock if you have a cutter


But I just do this.

I have gone through several ideas of making the sandwich green and the truth of the matter is, green bread just looks unappetizing no matter what your age. So I just make my kids regular peanut butter and jelly and wrap it in the clear cellophane. You could get apple jelly and dye it green as well but my kids are grape jelly folks and they don’t take well to Mama stepping in and changing the gameplan on them, even if it is a holiday.


So I wrap it up in the green wrapping and seal it with a little shamrock :).


Now for the presentation – Presentation is everything here!

Line your son, daughter’s, or spouse’s lunchbox with the green wrapping.

You can just use green tissue paper or even a bit of green fabric if you need to. Be creative!


Place all of your green things inside…That applesauce is green but it doesn’t look it in this pic.



For even more fun put in a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” note adorned with little clover drawings or stickers!


Then I fold it all down and zip it up…


Leaving just a tiny hint on top as to what waits inside.


Other ideas

  • Dye vanilla pudding (or make pistachio!)
  • Green jello
  • Dye applesauce
  • Clear Kool-Aid dyed green or green Kool Aid
  • Store bought St Patrick’s cookies
  • Yogurt dyed green
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Pick out green m & ms

Tell me your ideas for more green items in the comments section below!

Are you going to pack a green lunch for someone for St. Patrick’s Day?


Brady (right) and his cousin Austin (left) both having their first green lunch in  2005
They had eaten most of it before the camera arrived!
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  1. Those are all really fun ideas ! We usually decorate the table and our front window, wear something green and have an Irish dish for dinner. When I was in grade school I wore a pin that said “kiss me, I’m the Blarney stone in disguise”. I always thought that was funny!

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