Congratulations! You made it through the back-to-school craziness!
Between getting adjusted to a new sleep schedule, new after-school clubs and practices, and the general businesses that come with the change of seasons, it can take a toll—even after a week!
So let’s check-in. How are you doing?
Are you keeping up with your fitness? What about your nutrition? What about those school lunches?
We totally get that meal planning not only for yourself but for your whole family can be difficult. One kid wants chips, the other wants a fruit roll-up, the other just simply won’t eat. But the recipes and healthy habits you instill in your kids now will have a huge impact on how they view nutrition down the road.
If by week 2 of back- to-school, you’re all out of ideas for healthy lunches, we’re here to help!
Ditch the plain apples that will secretly get thrown in the trash when the teacher isn’t looking. Check out these recipes below!
Tips and Tricks for Packing Lunches
- Set aside time in your schedule to meal plan and prep on Sundays. Having the food ready to go ahead of time will leave you more time to sip your coffee and maybe even sleep in a little longer on the weekdays
- Meal plan and THEN grocery shop. If you go to the store without a plan, it can be easy to start grabbing at the convenience food.
- ASK your kids what they want to eat for the week. The more they feel they are involved in the process, the more likely they are to eat the food you pack! Or see the below alternative, giving them the power to choose Healthy!
On a Sunday, prep 6 bins with the following:
Bin 1: Dairy–chocolate milk/regular milk boxes, cheese sticks, etc.
Bin 2: Protein – Deli meats, organic sausage and kielbasa bites, hard-boiled eggs, pepperonis, nuts, seeds, etc.
Bin 3: Organic Fruits– Whatever is in season, washed and chopped, or portioned
Bin 4: Organic Vegetables– Washed, chopped, and portioned organic vegetables that are in season
Bin 5: Organic Grains – Organic crackers, homemade organic muffins, bread, etc.
Optional: Treat Bin!
The Bento Box
We see these all over Pinterest. We’ve also seen many parodies about them… But they are worth the effort!
You can pack them ahead of time AND the kids can pick what goes in them! And trust us, you don’t have to cut the sandwiches into butterflies and dinosaurs… regular shapes are just as healthy!
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Grape Tomatoes
- Baby Carrots
- Mini Bagels
- Mini English Muffins
- Whole grain bread
- Deli Meats
- Babybel Cheese
- String cheese
- Cheese slices
- Animal Crackers
- Fruit Snacks
- Apple slices
- Dried Mango
Home Made Fruit Roll-Up
- 3 cups fruit (Use any type of fruit, like berries, mango, kiwi, or applesauce, for a total of 3 cups of fruit. The original recipe uses strawberries and blackberries. Fresh fruit is best, but frozen is okay too! Just defrost in the fridge overnight and get rid of any access water first.)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 140 degrees (or as low as your oven will go). Line a rimmed half-size sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat. You can use a larger pan, but your mixture will not cover the full sheet pan.
- In a food processor or blender, puree the fruit with the sweetener and lemon juice until perfectly smooth.
- Pour pureed fruit onto the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to evenly spread the fruit out so that it is about ¼ inch thickness. Be sure to spread your fruit mixture thin, but without any holes.
- Place in oven and bake for 4-6 hours, until set and no longer sticky to the touch. It can take up to 8 hours to cook these fruit roll-ups if your fruit has high moisture content and your oven is set at 150 degrees. I have only ever had to bake my fruit roll-ups for 5 hours. But you may need longer. Check every 30 minutes and remove from oven when no longer sticky to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully. If you use parchment paper, you can leave the fruit roll on the parchment paper, if you baked your fruit leather on a silicone baking mat, peel it off before cutting it into strips.
- Cut the cooled fruit leather into 1-inch strips and roll up in parchment paper or wax paper and secure with tape or a sticker to make it cute if desired.
- Keep homemade fruit-roll ups in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Shhhhh…There are vegetables in here, but they’ll never know!
- 1 1/2 cups SR Flour
- 1 medium Zucchini (grated with excess liquid squeezed out)
- 1 large Carrot (grated)
- ½ cup Grated Tasty Cheese
- 50g of finely chopped ham
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 125g Tin of Creamed Corn
- ¾ cup Milk
- 2 eggs
- Cooking oil spray
Combine the flour, cheese, and grated vegetables in a large bowl and then add the remaining ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon (do not over mix). Heat your waffle maker and generously spray with oil before adding the mix and fill until just level so it doesn’t spill out whilst cooking.
Quinoa Pizza Bites
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup vegan or regular shredded cheese + 2 tablespoons of cheese
- 1 flax egg or egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons of marinara sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Marinara Sauce for dipping
How to Cook Quinoa
- Mix 1/2 cup uncooked and washed quinoa with 1 cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil first and then lower heat. Cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes until fluffy. You should get about 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa (you only need 1 cup for the recipe, so you could always make extra pizza bites or use it another time).
- Preheat oven to 400 ° F/ 205° C.
- Grease a 12 mini muffin tin pan OR line it with parchment paper with strips over the sides. I found the parchment paper worked best for me!
- Mix all of the ingredients together, except the extra 2 tablespoons of cheese.
- Put a tablespoon into each muffin tin, packing them in.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and top with remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese. Broil for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (please watch them, they burn easily).
- After broiling, allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes and then remove from pan.
Serve with Marinara Sauce. Enjoy!!