Packing school lunch can be daunting and frustrating when you open the lunch box and find it still full when your kid returns from school. I’ve devised a school lunch plan for my family that really works.
I bought a lunch box for my daughter that has compartments. It’s called a YumBox and is great for 2 reasons 1) it saves on wasted plastic bags and washing separate tupperware 2) my daughter loves it because it has compartments to keep everything separate.
Here’s my motto – a grain, vegetable, fruit, protein, and treat in each day’s box. For the vegetable I always jazz it up a bit. For example, with a cucumber I always add a bit of salt and vinegar so that it marinates and becomes more like a pickle by the time she eats it. I find that little things like adding tamari, vinegar, butter, or salt go a long way in the vegetable department. Also, every morning I show her what’s in her box so that there are no surprises. She usually get’s pretty excited and wants to eat some of it then but we put it away and then she can anticipate and get excited for her snack at school.
As an activity to do together my daughter and I make (healthy) treats to put into her lunch box. This way she has a stake in what’s in her lunch. She finds a treat packed that we made the night before and feels a connection to what she is eating. We’ve made many different types of “treats”. Here’s the recipe for mini energy muffins that we made yesterday.
MINI ENERGY MUFFINS
1 cup multi-grain hot cereal, 1/4 cup wheat flour, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 cup dried dates, 1/4 cup buttermilk powder, 1/2 cup wheat bran, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 eggs, Optional: pineapple chunks or apple pieces for a “surprise” at the bottom of each muffin.
Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until nuts and fruit and broken up but not completely ground. Add the wet ingredients and blend until a sticky mass forms. If desired place a “surprise” of a pineapple chunk or apple piece on the bottom of each muffin. Use a spoon to drop into mini muffin tins and bake @ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until just beginning to brown on the top. Makes 24. Delicious for adults and children!