As summer is coming to a close, kids are starting to go back to school and lives start to resume their normal stream of busy-ness. Instead of cramming your kids full of things they don’t love, why not try
to tempt them with these healthy gluten free treats? They are chalked full of nutrients (well, minus the pop tarts, but I couldn’t resist!) and are filling as well as energy boosting.
Chard and Peach Smoothie– This chard and peach smoothie is the perfect after school treat for the kiddos. It’s creaminess is due to the peanut butter as well as the frozen bananas that make up it’s base. Adults and kids alike will love this morning or afternoon treat!
Chia Seed Jam– We have fallen head over heels in love with this chia seed jam over at our house. It’s given us the ability to stop buying jelly, and start using fresh veggies and healthy sugars for our own jam! The chia seeds are nature’s energy kicker, and will give your kiddos the brain food they need to make it through their long school days.
Gluten Free Poptarts– I really can’t say that these guys are healthy, BUT they are gluten free!! Thanks to Pillsbury for finally coming out with a great gluten free pastry crust, you can make those pop tarts your kids have been missing. This would be a great Saturday morning treat for your family.
How is your family adjusting to the back-to-school craziness?
Do you have any go-to recipes that get you through the school year?
How do I know your kids will love these? Because mine do! With summer break coming to an end, I decided to gather my favorite recipes to add to my girls school lunch boxes. I will refer to this list often, to keep me out of the “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” rut. Even if I do give them a pb & j sandwich, at least they will have some interesting and yummy sides!
This can be breakfast, lunch or snack. It has wholesome oats in it and the amazing superfood, chia. Chia has great fiber, protein and more omega’s than flax! They are flavorless and help thicken this pudding.
Great fall recipe, but really we make it all year long. Just grab an extra bag of apples when you are at the store, throw them in the crockpot, and enjoy the amazing scent this recipe gives the entire house!
My girls LOVE when I put these in their lunches. I take them straight from the freezer and by lunch time they have thawed perfectly. I love knowing they are getting such nutritious berries and fruit in their lunches.
These are actually vegan, but get a cheezy flavor from nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is packed with vitamin B12 and is a popular ingredient in the vegan world, often used in place of Parmesan cheese. These kale chips are a weekly staple in our home. So nutritious. So delicious!
My girls beg me to make this recipe. They love the little bits of pasta, and the amazing flavor comes from roasted veggies that have been chopped so small that the girls have no idea that they are eating kale and a load of other veggies. Winning!
I am constantly trying to figure out how to get fruits and veggies into my kiddos in ways that they get excited about. School Lunch Smoothies are a great way to do just that! My girls get so excited about these, and like them so much that I make lots of extras for them to grab a quick after- school snack from the freezer.
I linked some smoothie recipes below, but honestly, I just throw in whatever frozen fruit we have in our freezer. I always include banana or peach, each give a nice thick base for the smoothie. I try to add greens whenever possible, a couple big handfuls will do. Usually it is spinach, as it is the most mild tasting green. These smoothies had one frozen banana, about a cup each of frozen blueberries, pineapple & strawberries, and spinach.
I then add almond milk and blend until desired consistency. I never measure. I just add milk until I see a cortex in the middle, as in the picture below. That is when you know you have a great smoothie consistency. Sometimes I add protein powder (love this one by Plant Fusion), sometimes I add chia, sometimes I add hemp seed or oats. Or not. Smoothies are very forgiving.
The above smoothie is a pretty safe purple color. I usually don’t send my go-to green smoothie to school with my girls. We drink it at home as an afternoon snack instead. My girls don’t really enjoy the attention they get at school when drinking green, kids have quite the reactions to green smoothies! Despite the color, my girls love how they taste. Click Here for our Everyday Green Smoothie recipe.
I only use plastic containers for our lunch boxes. (Click here to see what lunch box and containers we use.) Everything else I store in glass ball jars. These plastic containers from Ball are really, REALLY convenient and the perfect size. The have screw on lids to prevent spilling, and the cups stack into each other so nicely, which is great for the freezer.
They thaw just enough by lunch time into the perfect cold smoothie consistency. Make sure to pack a straw!
Like I said in this post, I am on a mission this year to make school lunches something my kids look forward to. I also want to feel good about the food I am serving them. By the end of last year, if they had to eat one more peanut butter and jelly sandwich (which they had in their lunch every day) my girls would look at me like I was asking them to eat dirt. Thankfully, over the summer their taste for pb & j has returned, and I want to keep it that way.
I also wanted to get rid of baggies. I hated spending the money on zip baggies, not to mention the waste! I started early on my search for the perfect lunch bag & containers, and after using them for almost a week, I can say I am super excited about how smoothly packing school lunches has been going.
The lunch bags I found are Nike brand. I found them at Shopko, but you can also order them here on Amazon. These are perfect. They have 2 pockets, and are deep enough to fit the water bottle inside with the lunch. I love that I can fit the sandwich size container in the front pocket, which leaves the large back pocket open for water bottle & whatever else I want to fit in there. The zippers are heavy duty and the bag is really well made. I also found the BPA free water bottles at Shopko, my girls LOVE these. They are also Aladdin brand and they unscrew on the top like a regular water bottle, but they also unscrew further down to fit ice in if desired.
The blue containers are Aladdin brand and are AWESOME. I found them at Target, but they can also be purchased here. The sandwich size container is deep and comes with a removable ice pack…love that! The smaller blue container also has a removable ice pack. The little green containers are from Rubbermaid also from Target. They are perfect for a single cookie, nuts, dips, dried apricots, etc. I bought each girl one large sandwich container, one side container, and two small green lid containers. It has worked perfectly for lunches so far.
I was concerned about washing them out every night, but it really is not a big deal. Usually we just wipe them out, but if the food is messy, we throw them in the dishwasher. The girls empty their lunch bags as part of their afternoon routine, and they know that filling their water bottles and putting them in the refrigerator, putting their ice packs in the freezer, and emptying their containers are all part of their chart.
So how am I keeping this all organized and easy peasy? With the help of our sponsor, Clean Mama. She makes beautiful printables that keep ones home running smoothly, and she made free Weekly Lunch Plan for us! I just love it! It has definitely helped in keeping my mind less frazzled in trying to remember what to serve for lunch. I especially like the area for ideas, it reminds me of food that might otherwise sit in the refrigerator and go to waste. If you love the above printable, make sure you check out Clean Mama’s shop, which is full of more!
I skip these because we don’t eat dairy in our home, or at least very little.
My girls drink water every day. I believe juice is just too expensive and full of sugar. Even 100 percent juice has natural sugars in it that can spike blood sugar levels since the fiber is removed from it. I can’t tell you how much money we save by just being water drinkers in our home!
Whole grain bars
Here is our lunch plan for this week:
Italian Dressing for both
Whole Grain Bar
Pb & Jelly Sandwich
Friday Bean Tacos Chips & Salsa Apples Granola Bar _____________
I also bought them each a new thermos, same Alladin brand. I will save that and my ideas for another post!
I am on a mission this year to make our school lunches something my kids look forward to. I also want to feel good about the food I serve them. By the end of the school year last year, if I even mentioned peanut butter and jelly all 3 of my girls would moan.
I’ve been scouring the web for inspiration and guess what? I AM SUPER INSPIRED!
I’ve learned that half the battle is having the right equipment, so today I will be going shopping for thermoses, containers & ice packets. I am so tired of buying little baggies, not to mention the waste, so small containers it is. They will eventually pay for themselves with the money I save in not buying those zippy little baggies!
This first pin share is a great way to get started. I am going to print it off and keep it on my refrigerator for inspiration & a quick reference when I am making my grocery list. It is a list of lunch box ideas sorted according to each type of food–fruit, vegetable, dessert, fillers, etc.
This is an awesome site. This mom documented every lunch she packed for her child for a year. She said the square box she uses in each lunch is from Target. I like how she uses a muffin liner to separate foods. She also writes that she uses press and seal for any “spillable” foods like yogurt or dips.
This is a great post by my blog friend Cassidy at Remodelaholic. She lists 25 best school lunches, some are quite creative. I like the simplicity of the lunch pictured above. A silicone muffin liner is another way to separate food, and is reusable.
I know I will fall back on the trusty peanut butter and jelly sandwich once in awhile, but I don’t think my girls will mind if I add some interesting & healthy sides to it. That power bar looks awesome, huh? Click link under the photo for the recipe.
This photo is from the Disney family site. They have a TON of great ideas for school lunches, all organized and divided up according to what your child’s tastes are. I love this one with hummus, flat bread and tabbouleh. Again, the cupcake liners serve as dividers.