While you are preparing your kids for school this year, don’t forget to think about this important question: “What are you going to pack in your child’s lunch?” I thought I would get a little more creative this year instead of the same PB&J sandwich day after day (although my son will still be getting this sandwich some days). I pack different lunches for myself everyday, so why not make it a little more exciting for my son too (and healthy, of course!) I wanted to share my lunch ideas and recipes with you. The list below is just a start as I will be adding recipes and ideas throughout the school year. These
ideas are meat and dairy free. I realize that some schools have peanut free policies, so adjust your choices accordingly.
Every day, I make sure to add foods from the categories below:
Sweet Treat (occasionally)
Hummus Pinwheels, made with whole wheat tortilla, cucumber and tomatoes (see photo below)
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (or use other nut butter)
*Make sure to read the label on the Peanut Butter, only ingredient should be Peanuts. Also, we found an organic strawberry jelly at Costco that is very low is sugar.
Pasta Salad: Recipe below
Veggie Sandwich, Whole Grain Bread topped with sandwich spread of choice (hummus or avocado would be perfect), cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts or any favorite vegetables of choice.
Non-Dairy Cheese Sandwich: There are some good choices of non-dairy cheese available. We love almond cheese.
Fruits and Veggies:
Veggies and dip (bean dip, hummus dip, or “ranch” dip, see recipe below for ranch dip)
Cucumber, Tomato and Garbanzo Bean Salad
Any fruit: oranges, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, apples
Trail mix: Make your own with any nuts, raisins, dried cereal, crackers
Raw, Unsalted Nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts
Whole grain crackers
No bake cookies, recipe below – Great after school snack too!
Whole grain Muffins
I wanted to share a few recipes for some of my favorite items to pack:
Veggie Pasta Salad
My son loves having this pasta salad for lunch. He added some fresh herbs from the garden. It’s so simple to make and
has been a nice break from his PB&J sandwiches.
Luke’s Tricolor Vegetable Twisty Pasta Salad
1 cup Tricolor Pasta – I found one with spirals and shells
Any favorite vegetables, raw and diced
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Splash of Balsamic
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Dried Italian Herbs
Cook pasta according to directions. Dice carrots, zucchini, celery, cucumber and any other veggies of
choice. Toss with the cooled pasta and add the remaining ingredients. Mix together and chill.
Raw Ranch Dip
My son loves ranch dip, so I found a healthy alternative to the bottled store bought dressing. This is a raw ranch dip made with cashews. It’s delicious and my son approved!
Raw Ranch Dressing, recipe from The Rawtarian
1-1/4 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
¾ cup water (or more if too thick)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (or slightly less)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
2 cloves garlic
3 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dill
Blend all together in Vita Mix or blender until smooth and creamy.
For a sweet treat for lunch or an after school snack, these no bake cookies are quick and easy to make (and they have carrots in them which is always a bonus to get extra veggies in!) Luke’s friend came over to make these and test them out.
No Bake Energy Balls
Recipe by Lisa Cheplak
¼ cup grated carrots
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
3 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut butter)
You can also add these optional ingredients:
Handful of Shredded coconut (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls. Keep refrigerated
When my mom packed my lunch in my early school days, she would always write a short note on the napkin for me. The notes would say things like, “Have a Nice Day, “I Love You”, “You are Great”! I would always look forward to opening my lunch box and seeing my note. My mom put time and effort into our lunches and the extra touches were so special to me. I want to do the same for my son.
Enjoy these last couple weeks before school starts and as you prepare, start thinking about some healthy lunch ideas that your kids would enjoy. I hope you can incorporate some of my ideas! Happy Back to School Days!
Make It Healthy and Make It Fun!