Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 4 of Healthy School Lunches (with recipes!)

Well I did it.
I made my kids (mainly my first grader) twenty school lunches - four week's worth - that had a ton of variety and are nutritious and delicious.
I made a recipe card for each lunch, printed them out, and have them stored in my recipe box. When I do my weekly meal plan & grocery list, I pull out that week's lunch recipes and I know immediately what I need to buy and how long it'll take me to assemble the lunch.
Absolutely no guess work and no stress. Two things that make my busy mornings that much less busy.
This is the fourth week of homemade lunches. If you're curious, you can see week one here, week two here, and week three here.
a peanut butter & jelly sandwich made a bit more fun with a puzzle-shaped sandwich cutter, honeydew melon chunks, orange pepper slices, and a cereal bar
a healthier version of the pizza lunchable made with whole wheat pizza rounds, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and nitrate-free pepperoni, served with diced kiwi fruit, and a homemade mini banana muffin
an easy pasta salad made with bowtie noodles, Italian dressing, and some shredded cheddar cheese, served with orange wedges, celery & peanut butter, and a small slice of homemade banana bread

(Tip: I used the same batter to make a loaf of bread and some mini muffins, which is great for variety but easy because you're only doing one prep. Freeze some of the muffins and individual slices of  bread for future lunches.)

homemade whole wheat pancakes & with some maple syrup, a mix of organic pretzels & cheddar bunny crackers, and some diced apples
a homemade healthified pizza pocket, a homemade frozen yogurt pop, cottage cheese, and a mix of raisins & pistachio nuts
I know this week looks like I did a lot of baking with the pizza pocket and the bread and the pancakes, and I manage that by spending a couple hours a week, usually on a Sunday, making & freezing a recipe or two. In our freezer at any given time, you'll find pancakes, waffles, french toast, egg & cheese bakes, taquitos, pizza pockets, some type of bread and/or muffins - all homemade.
I even recently made homemade poptarts with fresh fruit and barely any sugar which are sitting in the freezer for special morning treats.  It sounds much harder and time consuming than it really is, trust me. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes. 
And the payoff - healthier homemade food that's actually cheaper to make than it is to buy and is ready at a moment's notice - is worth the investment.
Here are the recipe cards for the fourth week of school lunches:

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