I was flattered when I was invited to participate in a webinar about packing healthy lunches for school children. My daughter is only 2 1/2 but I still pack lots of snacks and lunches between summer picnics, play dates, and an occasional drop-off daycare. There are extra challenges with a toddler when it comes to messes too, so I’ve learned how to do super easy balanced meals that are interesting for a busy and distracted kiddo!
The webinar was hosted by Gustavo Tolosa and there was a wonderful list of other presenters including Mary and Heather McDougall and other busy working moms with lots of real life experience in this arena. You can watch the replay here.
I mentioned a few specifics in my tips and wanted to provide references for easy follow-up.
Roasted Chick Peas:
1 can chick peas
3 Tbsp flavored white balsamic vinegar (Lemon and coconut are some of my favorites)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika or more to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together chick peas with vinegar and seasoning. Place on roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Roast 25 minutes until brown. Let cool and store in airtight container to preserve crisp texture.
Raw Energy Bites:
I suggested “energy bites” as a way to get some quick energy and good nutrients into kiddos. There are an abundance of recipes but these are my favorites. Note – these are by nature calorically dense. What makes them so great for growing kids is exactly what makes them trouble for adults not wishing to grow out! So, yes they’re healthy. No, they’re not for everyone.
Lemon Kissed Blondie Bites from Plant Powered Kitchen
Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites from The Kitchn
Protein Power Balls from Plant Powered Kitchen
Homemade Guilt Free Waffles:
This is a recipe I created a while back and I’ve made it over and over again ever since! You can keep it super simple (and UWL Compliant) by using just oats, bananas, and spices. You can pack it with extra calories and nutrients for kids by adding in seeds. Find the recipe here, and enjoy! You can top with fruit if eating at home or send to school dry to eat like a soft granola bar and serve berries on the side. I’ve been known to serve with almond or apple butter at home but that would be too messy for school.
This is a recipe for a quinoa crust pizza that I just love. For school lunches just follow the toppings directions in the pizza recipe and serve on an Ezekiel English muffin or baked Yukon gold potato cut in half.
Remember to get your kids involved! Let them pick the pizza toppings, choose the fruit toppings for waffles, or have a couple flavors of energy bites to choose from. When they have some personal power to control what they’re eating, they are MUCH more likely to eat it! Here’s my daughter mashing bananas for her waffles at 1 1/2.