Back to school lunches… Parent tested, kid approved.
The feel of crisp, almost-fall air in the morning will forever remind me of one thing: back to school. Fresh haircuts, stark white sneakers, a new pack of pencils, and maybe even a new book bag– these are things that I know I looked forward to (maybe that’s the bookworm in me). Despite the excitement that comes along with back to school, there are a few things that can cause a bit of tension between parents and their kids: earlier bedtimes, homework, and the infamous lunch bag. It can be difficult to find snack ideas that are healthy, yet kid approved. That’s where we come in… *drumroll*… here are some delicious snack ideas that everyone will love.
Healthy Homemade Granola Bars
– 1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium/large bananas)
– 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 2 cups rolled oats (or gluten free)
– ½-¾ cup dried cherries or cranberries, chopped
– ½ cup walnuts, chopped
– ½ cup sunflower seeds
– ½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds
– ½ cup sliced almonds
– ¼ cup hulled hemp seeds
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– Himalayan salt to taste
*Omit nuts if your school is nut free.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish (approx. 8.5″ x 12.5″) and line with a piece of parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out.
In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Place the rolled oats into a food processor (or blender on the lowest speed) and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (but still with lots of texture). Stir oats into the banana mixture. Chop the walnuts and cherries and stir these and the rest of the ingredients into the banana-oat mixture until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Press down until compacted and smooth out with hands until even.
Bake for 23-27 minutes until firm and lightly golden along the edge. Place dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and lift out. Place granola slab on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then into the freezer for another 10 minutes.
Makes 14-16 bars.
Coconut Brownie Bites
– 1½ cups raw walnut halves
– ¼ cup cocoa powder
– ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
– 1 cup dates, pitted (about 10Medjool dates)
– 1 tbsp water
– Unsweetened cocoa powder, for coating (optional)
*Omit the nuts if your school is nut-free—you can replace them with seeds! If you’re not a big chocolate fan, you can replace the cocoa powder with a nut or seed butter, as well. Making balls with dates can be super versatile.
In a large food processor, grind the walnuts into a fine meal. Add the rest of the ingredients, and process until sticky, uniform dough is formed.
Scoop the batter with a tablespoon onto a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, to prevent sticking.
Roll the balls between your hands, and roll them in cocoa powder, if desired.
Store the balls in the fridge or freezer, and serve them chilled for the firmest texture.
Makes 20-24 balls/brownie bites (1 serving = 2 brownie bites).
Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
– 2 cups oats
– 1 tsp organic baking powder
– ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 cup milk of choice
– 1 egg (preferably free-range!)
– ½ cup mashed banana (about 1½ medium banana)
– 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced
Preheat your oven to 375˚ F degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the milk, egg, and mashed banana and mix until combined. Stir in the apple.
Grease a muffin tin and fill each cup with the oatmeal mixture to just about the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cups are set.
Store in the fridge or these can also be frozen. Enjoy!
Makes 12 muffins.
Other things that you can do to make snacks more appealing (with the kids, or maybe your partner!) include:
– Placing fruits or veggies on skewers (skewers make eating anything more fun!).
– Making cut-out shapes of fruit or sandwiches.
– Replacing juice with fruit-infused water or 2% milk.
– Switch up dips and sauces—make a homemade vinaigrette, hummus, or tzatziki!
– Simply letting the kids help with prep! They will be proud of what they made.
We hope that these snacks will make lunch bag packing a little better
Wake me up when September ends…