Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to school lunch ideas

I can't believe summer is over and school is starting again! It seems that time goes by faster and faster each year, and my kids are growing like weeds!

Last school year, I had a menu for school lunches and it was really helpful to me. I always knew what my daughter was going to eat the next day and what I needed to do to prepare. Gotta love that!

My last year's menu went something like this:
Monday - PBJ
Tuesday - Turkey/chicken sandwich on flat bread
Wednesday - Home made pancakes
Thursday - Wrap sandwich (sometimes even PBJ wrap, my kids favorite!)
Friday - (home made) pizza

It's still a great menu but I want to try something different. This year I'm doing a 2 week menu for variety so I can introduce more foods to my picky eater. This is what I'm thinking:

Monday - PBJ
Tuesday - Raw tortilla soup (I'll explain later) and home made tortilla chips
Wednesday - Rice and vegetable empanadas or turnovers
Thursday - Turkey or chicken sandwich on flat bread
Friday - PBJ wrap on whole wheat tortilla

Monday - Peanut butter and apple sandwich
Tuesday - Pizza rolls
Wednesday - Low fat, low sugar granola with almond milk
Thursday - Breakfast burritos
Friday - Home made pancakes (pumpkin, beet, ricotta, cottage cheese, Finnish oven etc)

PBJ: organic, no sugar added to either, the jelly or peanut butter.

Raw tortilla soup: I use my handy Blendtec blender to make this soup with fresh vegetables. My kids love it! Go here to get the recipe. For the homemade tortilla chips, I punch out shapes from a tortilla with a cookie cutter. Spray with spray grease and bake in oven at 400F for about 4-5 min. You could also make these sweet by sprinkling cinnamon & sugar on top. I do not salt my chips but if I did, I'd use Himalayan crystal salt or Real salt.

Empanadas: Here is a recipe for Empanadas and turnovers. I would make mine without the meat because we are trying to eat meat only 1-2 days a week for 1 meal. I quite like it!

Turkey/chicken sandwich: Make it the way your child likes!

PBJ wrap: I use whole wheat tortillas and again, organic & as little sugar as possible for both PB & J. This is my kids' favorite by far!

Peanut butter and apple sandwich: Make like a PBJ except use apple instead of J. Apple can be either grated or sliced but do remove the core and peel unless your child is ok eating the peel.

Pizza rolls: You can make a whole wheat pizza dough or use puff pastry sheets. Roll into a square or rectangle, cover with pizza sauce & cheese, and roll up & cut into 1" slices. Bake at 400F until golden brown on top (abt. 15 min). Voila, you are done! (ps. You will want to let the puff pastry thaw a little. It doesn't need rolling because it's already the right shape) A word of warning: puff pastry dough is high in calories & fat so you'll want to use it less frequently. Also, read the label; if the puff pastry has high fructose corn syrup or transfats (hydrogenated oils) I would stay away from it!

Breakfast burritos: you can use what you wish for the filling but we fry an egg (in a little bit of olive oil) and put salsa and cheese in between a whole wheat tortilla. This is a great way to get my kids to eat eggs!

Home made pancakes: If you do a search on my blog, you can find the recipes for many of the pancakes I mentioned above.

These are just the main courses, then you as a mom or a dad will have to come up with the side dishes. Because my daughter doesn't like most veggies, I will mostly be sending fruit and unsweetened apple sauce.

For drink I recommend sending water. I know it doesn't sound very exciting but it has no sugar and no calories! Juices and chocolate milks are ok but only occasionally. Please note that even regular milk has a lot of sugar (abt 12 grams / one cup) but it's certainly healthier than sending juice or soda. Soda should NEVER be found in the lunch box or in your refrigerator.

My daughter likes jokes so this year her lunch box will also include an occasional joke. Click here to find lunchbox jokes.

I can't believe the summer is over but at the same time I'm excited for the upcoming holiday season! Enjoy your last week of sleeping in little ones and moms!

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