It's the beginning of a new school year. One of the things I really enjoy doing is looking over old menus and old pictures of lunches I made before. I decided that since I am now in a new location and my old entries aren't available to all of you, I should do a ''Best of'' entry! Here I will share with you all of my favorite lunches from last school year!
In this Lunch: Quesadilla, organic grape tomatoes, avocado, organic plum, organic tortilla chips, and a Juice Box.
The tortillas were life balance. I have yet to find a tortilla that is perfectly healthy but these ones are fortified with 23 vitamins and minerals, are full of fiber, as much calcium as a glass of milk, and even have some omega 3's! The Cheese was a local brand which uses milk from cows that are hormone and unnecessary antibiotic free. The avocado was mashed with a little bit of lemon juice to keep it from browning. The containers and the silicon cups are both Dollar Tree finds! This lunch was a big hit with monkey!
IN THIS LUNCH: "Brunch for Lunch" Two pancake muffins, sliced granny smith apple, 1/4 cup fat free cottage cheese, 2 Tbsp of Sunflower butter (for dipping apples), and a Fruit & Yogurt smoothie.
Pancake Muffins: Take your favorite pancake batter and throw in whatever fruit you have. Berries work really well! In here we have a raspberry w/ flaxseed and blackberry w/ flaxseed.
*A little lemon juice prevents apple browning.
IN THIS LUNCH: 'A'pricot preserve & sunflower butter 'A' shaped sammy, 'A'pplesauce, 'A'nnie's Cheddar Bunnies, 'A'nts on a log, and 'A'pple carrot juice.
Okay, I'll admit the cheddar bunnies were a stretch but hey sometimes you have to get creative! We always like to buy big jars of the unsweetened applesauce and portion it out. It's far less expensive than the individual packs! Monkey loves a little cinnamon on top of hers.
I felt like this was a fun way to connect to her classroom. They spent that day learning all about 'A' so an 'A' lunch just seemed fun.
IN THIS LUNCH: Pepperoni Pizza Pita, small salad w/ dressing, mixed fruit, a Chobani Champions Vanilla Chocolate Chunk yogurt, and an Apple & Eve Big Bird's Apple Juice Box.
In our house we LOVE Chobani yogurt, especially the Chobani Champions and Chobani Tubes. They are delicious! The main part of the lunch is a small salad w/ french dressing. We were excited to try Italian Herb Pocket Thins for our Pizza Pita. Inside is organic tomato basil sauce, turkey pepperoni, a slice of ultra thin swiss and baby spinach.
We like buying flats of berries and keeping them in our freezer. If packing lunch the night before they will often be defrosted by the next morning. If not then, by lunch.
IN THIS LUNCH: Turkey 'ghost'which, organic grape tomatoes, sweet potato chips, and some frozen mixed fruit, and an organic valley chocolate milk.
We use Dave's Killer 21 grain bread, we love it! This sandwich is turkey with mayo and the swiss cheese on top of the sandwich to make the ghost (we simply used cookie cutters, raisin eyes, and pepperoni mouth).
When berries aren't in season (and I run out of my own frozen berries) I buy the pre-frozen varieties for smoothies on the frozen food aisle. This lunch was fast! Maybe 6 minutes to put together.
IN THIS LUNCH: Mini Bagel sunflower butter and apricot preserve sammy w/ an adorable pumpkin pick, baby corn and grape tomatoes, "candy corn" parfait, and organic chocolate milk.
This was our first use of the mini bagel! It has become a staple in our home. We really love them, not just as a way to spruce up a sandwich, but for their size. We also did cream cheese/pepperoni sandwiches on these bagels which are delicious! Anything you'd normally put on a sandwich you can use this little bagel for! The pumpkin pick was from the dollar store!
One of my favorite things about this lunch is the candy corn parfait! It still sticks out to me as a favorite item that I made last school year. It was very simple! Peach segments, orange segments, and Chobani Champions Banana Honey greek yogurt for the top. The colors really brought to life the idea of ''candy corn'' and it was a nice little treat in her box! Much better for her than actual candy corn. LOL.
IN THIS LUNCH: Crackers, Turkey Pepperoni, Cheddar Cheese Pumpkin Patch, Organic Baby Carrots, Fat-Free Cottage Cheese, Gummy Spider, and Witch's Brew!
Our more direct ''lunchable'' creation. Pumpkin shaped cheese to celebrate Halloween. My monkey loves baby carrots so those were in there. We tossed in a gummy spider (just one) for some more Halloween fun. The drink was actually one of our favorite seasonal treats! Pumpkin eggnog! I added a couple drops of green to it, and voila ''Witch's Brew''.
IN THIS LUNCH: Annie's Organic Crackers w/ ultra thin swiss bears, leftover lemon-herb chicken [from dinner], peas [from dinner], Nancy's Organic Yogurt [getting close to expiration date] w/ fun Halloween sprinkles, and Organic Valley Chocolate Milk.
This was one of those leftovers sort of lunches. Never will I have to pack another lunchable! We love using our own crackers, cutting the cheese into fun shapes with our cutters, and using our own meat. She could choose to put it on the crackers or sometimes we would substitute with pepperoni, cut ham, etc.. My monkey LOVES peas! This is actually plain yogurt that was getting close to it's expiration date...so I threw a few fun halloween sprinkles (purple, black, and ghosts!) on top for a little added sweetness and fun. My daughter isn't a big fan of plain yogurt, but she gobbled this down.
IN THIS LUNCH: "Banana Dog", Tomatoes, Ants on a log, Organic Cookies, and a V8 Fusion Juice Box.
My daughter had requested the use of hot dog buns in her lunches. Apparently the kids at school eat a lot of things on buns? She said she wanted to feel more like them. These are 100% Whole Wheat buns smeared with sunflower butter w/ a banana and a light drizzle of honey. She LOVED it. This is a very easy lunch and I bet your kids would be shocked to find this!
Sunburst tomatoes are always a hit in our house.
IN THIS LUNCH: Bunnies in a meadow, an orange, blueberries, peas, carrot chips, hard boiled egg, Organic Fruit & yogurt smoothie pouch, and a 100% juice box.
This actually wasn't a school lunch. She was off this day for a holiday, but it's still a favorite. I'd seen on Pinterest someone using rice cakes, blue cream cheese, and goldfish for fish on water. I thought it was super cute! Since we eat bunny crackers, I thought bunnies in the meadow would be a great alternative. We used soy crisps, cream cheese w/ green food coloring, and the organic bunnies. Used blueberries to make a ''sky'' and a peeled orange for a ''sun''. We also used an egg mold on the hard boiled egg to make it into a bunny (I'll include another pic), and carrots and peas because those are her favs!
Egg molds are definitely more difficult to use than I imagined! Luckily I was able to get some really helpful tips from blogging friends that made this my best example of a molded egg (this was my 3rd try!).
The secret, I'll share. My eggs were actually too small for the mold. You have to peel the eggs and get them into the mold while still warm! Also, we stuffed one side of the mold with a paper towel so that it would fill the entire mold, since our eggs were too small. Then submerge the entire mold in cold water and let it sit!
Phew! Lots of work, but boy are they cute!
IN THIS LUNCH: Turkey & Swiss Roll Ups, Pretzels, Deviled Egg, Cranberry Sauce w/ orange zest, and a Chocolate Almond Milk.
Monkey LOVED this lunch! The turkey and cheese roll ups are a great lunch alternative to the regular ole sandwich. I'll pack it with crackers or pretzels.
This was definitely a head nod to Thanksgiving with the cranberry sauce and deviled eggs. Thanksgiving staples with our family and really easy and fun for lunches! Monkey was so excited to get deviled eggs her in lunch she actually squealed when I showed them to her before school (so she wouldn't shake her lunch up too much)!.
Alright guys, that's it for my favorite lunches of 2012-2013. They weren't always pretty but they were always delicious! I'm looking forward to using some of these ideas again in the coming school year as well as adapting them to try out some new concepts! I hope you can take away some lunch packing inspiration!