Healthy (and creative) lunch ideas

I have been rather quiet this last week because I finally finished my last class of my Masters Degree after 4 long years and two kids later! It feels so good to be done. Now I have a 9-month unpaid internship looming and feel the stress of my crazy schedule between two kids, working part time (technically full time since I help out at Hunter’s school when I’m not working in exchange for daycare), working out and leading groups two nights a week. The craziness of our schedule and my near OCD tendencies, I like to keep my kiddos, my husband and myself well nourished with healthy homemade food. I got an email from a friend today asking to write about this pin I saw on Pinterest, so here you are Shannon!

I don’t have to pack a lunch for Hunter but since I work at his school, I have a say in what he eats which is really nice. Parker just started eating solids and is only on the basics of avocados, pears, butternut squash and sweet potatoes but I know it won’t be long before I have to leave complete meals at home for the nanny while I am working.

I also like to make my own food to bring to work since I know that when I am working part time, I will have a quick 10 minutes in between clients to stuff my face and be neat about it. Being dairy free also poses a problem with eating out so I’d rather cook my own food knowing the ingredients. I have brainstormed a few ideas for breakfast and lunches so here you are:

Bento Box Lunch via Pinterest,

For Breakfasts I often make a huge batch of breakfast burritos and freeze them in plastic wrap individually so you can just pop them in the micro for 30 seconds; it takes some time but it’s well worth the effort when you have a pile for those mornings when you just need to grab something quick. This leads me to my next go-to breakfast – LARAbars. I love these but I can’t justify the amount of money I spend on them. She has great recipes here and if you know me well enough, you know that I cannot and will not follow a recipe to the T; I always have to add my own touch. Once you get the hang of this, you can experiment on your own. I love the lemon bars and add my own lemon zest and lemon juice. Yum. You can even add your own protein powder or even green powder such as spirulina, seaweed, kelp, etc., for an even better punch.

For lunch ideas, I do love the bento boxes and I think they are really great for introducing a bunch of foods and balancing out their lunches. My problem = time. SO, as I just reorganized my fridge and incorporated labels and tupperwares to categorize my fridge (another post on this at a later date); I realized how great it would be to have a tupperware strictly dedicated to snacks and go to meals. This will take some time, but what organization doesn’t??? Here are a few ideas for making your bento lunches easier.

You will need a bunch of sandwich bags for this project! Separate different foods into appropriate portions into sandwich bags to just grab and go. Here are a few suggestions for what to include in those bags:

pre-portioned lunchmeat and sliced cheese
cut fruits and veggies
string cheese
lara bars!
pretzels
crackers
dried fruit (always a hit in my house)
grape tomatoes (depending on the age of your kiddo)
bread slices (or english muffin halves, bagels, or tortillas)
mini muffins (homemade of course) – carrot and zuchinni muffins are a great way to sneak veggies in!

A few other ideas to include in these lunch “tupperwares” would be small 2oz containers of dips such as ranch, peanut butter, nutella and even pizza sauce to make their own english muffin or bagel pizzas.

Another hot thing going around the web lately is make your own “pop tarts.” While I despise actual pop tarts, I think it’s a great opportunity to make your own in a healthy way. I can’t bake to save my life (except banana bread), and I like to think it’s because I live at 7,000 feet but I really know it’s because I can’t follow a recipe (see above) and I also can’t sit in the kitchen swapping out trays of baked goods every 7-10 minutes….anyway, to the point, I love the premade pie crusts and use them all the time for various cooking projects. Simply buy (or make) premade pie crusts, cut them to the shape and size of your liking, fill and press around the edges with a fork for decoration if you so desire. Here are some great ideas for fillings:

peanut butter and banana
peanut butter and honey
scrambled eggs and cheese (add meat if you like)
jam or jelly (I plan on doing this one with the multiple jars of homemade apple butter in my garage refrigerator)
cream cheese and jam
cheese?

So there are a few ideas for you guys to think about.

I would love to hear your go-to ideas for both kiddos and adults for those of us that are too busy for sitting down for a proper breakfast or lunch.
Can you add to my lists?

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Categories: Mothering, Natural Health | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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