To keep you and your kiddos energized, fueled and ready to rock this new school year!
Well we did it! (or at least most of us have at this point) We survived the first week back to school. I think this time around I had more anxiety than any of my kids did with trying to juggle new drop offs, pick ups, lunches and all of the added parent meetings. I won’t get into all of the extra curricular activities schedule that prompted me to order WAY too many calendars, white boards and cork boards from amazon to try and stay organized. How did our Parents ever do it?!
After a couple of weeks I’m sure we’ll get our rhythm and it will be a breeze but until then let’s at least make the food side of things easy shall we? That’s my favorite part anyway. I’ve got some ideas for you that we’ve made or have up our sleeve to keep our energy up for the school year. If you don’t have kids it doesn’t matter – these are all great lunch, breakfast and snack ideas for adults too!
Let’s dive in –
My philosophy when it comes to breakfast is to make sure the kids have slow carbs (aka fuel to get them to lunch!), some type of protein and hearty whole foods with vitamins and minerals. It may not happen every morning but we do what we can! I try to keep us away from cereal and milk (big sugar crash and burn) for my kids and they are hungry before we even walk out the door.
Here are some of my favorite recipes to Meal prep on a Sunday or Monday for the week, and some that you can just whip up as the coffee machine is brewing.
Overnight Oats : So many options to throw in here. My favorites to throw in are chia seeds, goji berries, pepitas, sunflower seeds, almond butter, plant based protein or collagen, unsweetened nut milk, top with fruit, favorite granola and BOOM a tasty and filling breakfast you can batch make ahead.
**don’t worry if you don’t have the time to make ahead – just throw some oats with the water/ milk ratio into your pot before you go to bed and in the morning heat until warm and add what you want – they will be so creamy and delious!
Baked Oats – Not just for the weekend anymore – you can make a big batch let them cool, slice them into single servings and freeze. Grab one out warm in the oven and top with nut butter and fruit. Depending on the season you can really put any fruit in this!
Chia Seed Pudding : This will definitely fill them and you up and just like overnight oats the optional add ins are endless!
Egg Muffins – Hide extra veggies in here, maybe throw in prosciutto on the bottom you can fill these with anything you’d like and store in the fridge in the week. My kids like to slice them in half and top with Homemade Mayo for added fat!
Similar to Egg Muffins you could easily make a Frittata or my favorite Sweet Potato Crust Quiche and serve as your savory breakfast option throughout the week.
Sugar Free Waffles – These are wonderful to make at the end of the week / weekend when your bananas are over ripe. I double batch and freeze half for the upcoming week. You can easily pop them in your toaster or your broiler on low to crisp them up! Top with some nut butter, fruit and some maple syrup!
Blueberry Breakfast Cookies – this is one of our favorite recipes to make to have on hand as a breakfast on the go (while we walk the dogs) or as a great after school snack. This recipe comes from Minimalistbaker.com
Smoothies – SO MANY OPTIONS! I always double my smoothies because I know my kids will drink more than half of mine. If you are new to smoothies they can be a great way to throw in added supplements you’d like your kids to get – Camu Camu for vitamin C, Molasses for Iron, Bee Pollen for Copper, Maca for brain function. So many fun add ins on top of whole foods – fruits and vegetables and healthy fats and proteins.
I like to chop and freeze fruit (berries, bananas, mango, papaya, pineapple), steam and freeze veggies – easier to digest this way (cauliflower, peas, zucchini, butternut squash), and store in bags in your freezer. Take them out and add in your pre-made nut milk, nut butter, avocado, greens, protein powder and top with seeds, nuts, or your favorite granola!
My Rough Smoothie measurements: 1 cup frozen fruit, 1 cup frozen veggies, 1 cup nut milk, 2 tbsp nut butter or 1/2 avocado, 1 scoop protein powder (optional) add water or ice cubes to desired consistency, top with 1 tbsp seeds, 1/4 cup granola!
Yogurt, Granola & Fruit Bowls: Kids love to be in charge of what they eat – and if they make it themselves they are more likely to eat it (at least I’ve found so far this is the case with my kids).
So I put out full fat yogurt (milk or non-milk based), chopped fruit, nuts and granola and a couple of small bowls they can ‘Make their own bowl’ with a little supervision from parents (depending on how young) and then dig in!
Sweet Potato Apple Fritters: You may feel like you are getting fancy but trust me – double batch and make these on a Sunday for breakfast and during the week reheat in broiler and top with a fried egg and hot sauce! Maybe more of an adult breakfast but kids that like a savory breakfast may be into this! You could also send this for lunch, they are good cold too!
Banana Bread Muffins – This recipe is my all time favorite “Blow your Mind Banana Bread” made into muffins, just bake for 20 minutes when you make the muffins! I freeze these and we grab them out for breakfast on the go or simple afternoon snacks! Another great recipe to make on a Sunday when your bananas are ripe!
Packing my kids lunch used to give me a headache mostly because they ask for the same thing over and over again – which I guess is okay but I like to change it up to make sure they are getting a variety of nutrients throughout their week.
So here are a couple of our go-to’s and ones that I’ve been trying out this year on them. Similar philosophy to breakfast, I ask them to pick a protein, healthy fat, vegetable and fruit. My Pre-schoolers have a nut-free school so most of these options don’t have nuts for those in the same boat!
Wraps: Organic Tortillas are a great way to change things up, lots of options! My kids love organic turkey, guacamole, mustard, sprouts or we sometimes go the Sunbutter, Banana & Honey route and that’s fun in a wrap too! I find that if I cut the rolled up wrap into 4 pieces they find it’s more ‘fun’ to eat that way.
Rainbow Rolls: Similar to wraps but so colorful and full of vegetables! Grab some rice / tapioca wraps from the international aisle at the grocery. Chop up veggies and cook some vermicelli noodles. Let the kids help you make these ahead of time and you can send them with this yummy sunbutter dipping sauce!
Tuna / Chicken Salad: In a wrap or on bread or just on it’s own. My two girls love tuna salad with chopped up celery and water chestnuts. We make ours whenever we have homemade mayo on hand. I just season theirs with sea salt. You could easily sub chickpeas for the tuna. Grab all of my favorite Tuna/ Chicken Salad recipes in my FREE Salad Series
For the adult that likes the spicy version – this is my go-to
Pasta Salad: Banza pasta made of chick peas has a good amount of protein to keep the kiddos satisfied! Otherwise my kids love the colorful TJ’s gluten free organic rice pasta. I just cook the pasta al-dente ahead of time and day of school top with a little bit of our favorite red sauce and nutritional yeast. You can easily add in cherry tomatoes, green peppers, olives, pepperoni or even use creamy pesto to make it fancy!
“PB” (sunbutter) & Jelly: Classic – and one of my kids favorites. My advice is just get quality organic ingredients. We go with unsweetened nut / seed butter and organic jelly / jam. Our favorite bread is Dave’s Killer Organic Bread.
Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes: My younger two love these and eat them cold right out of the fridge. We like to top ours with everything but the bagel seasoning from TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) and a little homemade mayo but they get sent to school just as is!
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins: Easy to batch make for the week and actually really good cold! They even have some hidden zucchini in there! Again something about things in a muffin form my kids love!
Ants on a Log – Yes, super simple but a great way to give them a crunch, healthy fat and dried fruit! Sunbutter works great and my daughter likes to use goji berries as ants too!
Hard Boiled Eggs – Let your kids peel their egg on their own in the morning – somehow that makes them want to eat it for lunch. I cut them in half and add homemade mayo and EBTB seasoning for them.
Fruit Kabobs – Let your kids help you on a Sunday, chop and prep cute little half skewers with berries/ pineapple/ apples/ oranges etc and store in the fridge to use throughout the week!
Apples with Dip: I cut up apples and send them with a little bit of nut/ seed butter topped with enjoy life (dairy/ nut free/ soy free) chocolate chips! They love it and think it’s dessert!
Shelled Edamame: Make sure it’s organic and have them help you shell it in the morning. I find if they have to do it at lunch nothing ever gets eaten. But they still feel like they are making their lunch.
Organic Guacamole & Veggies or Chips: Easy way for them to get some healthy fats and a savory lunch option.
Hummus & Veggies or Savory Seed Crackers: Both are a staple at our house. Super easy and cheap to make your own, you could even make ‘purple’ beet hummus which my kids actually eat!
Organic Vegetables that do well in lunches: Baby / Sliced Carrots, Sliced Celery, Sliced Bell Peppers, Jicama, Sugar Snap peas.
Roasted Chick Peas: Super simple to batch make for the week or you can buy them in the stores now. I like The Good Bean Company the best.
Seaweed Snacks: So many stores now carry organic seaweed snacks and they are a wonderful way to get vitamins and minerals into a salty snack. My kids love the Costco and TJ ones!
After School Snacks:
Mostly because these contain nuts or are in ‘cookie’ form (not aloud at school) but you can definitely send them to school if your school allows! I love to get them a quick burst of fat to get them to dinner.
Energy Balls: Super easy to whip up in the food processor, roll out and place in the freezer for the week. I love these for dessert at night once I get the kids down!
Brownie Bites: Tastes like brownie batter to me!
Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Bites
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffles
Kale Chips: taste amazing and crunchy right out of the oven. I don’t love them next day so we usually make a batch we can eat all at once.
Sweet & Savory Nuts: Easy to make a batch of a couple kind of nuts and store throughout the week.
Homemade Granola: I love to just grab a big handful as I’m heading out the door to yoga or to pick up kids from school.
I hope these ideas help inspire you to get some new items in your kids lunches and your lunch as we take on this new routine! I’ve found just making one or two new things to add in each week is plenty!
I also use a couple of brands that have ingredients we appreciate and use almost daily in our house, they can all be found on my “Favorites” Page with discounts for you!
I’d love for you to comment below on some of your favorite go-tos in your kids lunches so we can continue to add to the list!