I see you there, running around like a banchee warrior with your head chopped off. Half dressed, coffee in hand, forcing your kids to inhale their breakfast while you guilt-i-ly throw some pre packaged form of something that is sold as food, (but you can't quite pronounce most of the ingredients), in their lunch box. As you lovingly smack their cute little rear-end pushing them out the door with a kiss, you promise that "tomorrow your lunch will be better and healthier!" You then fall into the couch with your cold cup of coffee and think "what the hell just happened." And your second thought is, "I could really use some ideas for more creative and healthy lunches."
It is important to understand that packing nutrient dense meals for our children is so beneficial for their health, their learning abilities, their future, their mood, and so many other things. Do you want your child to thrive and stay healthy during cold and flu season? Do you want them to succeed in their classroom? It does take a bit more time and a lot more preparation, but like most of the parents that I know-their families' health and well being comes first, therefore it is worth it to them to take the extra time.
Our 5 Favorite Kid-Friendly Lunches:
1. Leftovers!!! This is such a great and easy way to nourish their body-for example, last night we made homemade chicken strips and that is what Selah will bring to school tomorrow with a side of homemade ranch.
2. Organic salami and raw cheese served with raw veggies and homemade ranch, 1/2 banana, trail mix
3. Apple Nut-butter sandwiches served with deviled eggs and sugar snap peas: Core an organic apple and slice widthwise. Spread nut butter of your choice on both sides and sprinkle with homemade granola. You can add raisins as well. Place the other slice on top and serve as a 'sandwich.'
5. Grain-free graham crackers with cream cheese, served with homemade beef jerky(recipe below) and organic berries
6. Roast beef Roll Up served with guacamole and plantain chips (recipe below) and orange slices: Take 2 thinly sliced pieces of organic roast beef and place a piece of raw cheese on top. Add a thinly sliced tomato, slice of avocado and a piece of lettuce and roll up and keep together with a toothpick. We also will spread a little bit of homemade ranch or mustard on the meat or cheese.
Our Favorite Lunch Accessories & Tools:
*This Thermos is handy for keeping food warm or cold.
*This Thermos is great for beverages-it will certainly keep your raw milk cold or for keeping broths or soups warm!
*Ice Packs to keep food cool and non-perishable
*Non plastic water bottles are very important. Stainless steel is great, but if glass is permissible then this one is my favorite
*Food storage is important, it is always best to avoid plastic if possible, these are my absolute favorite stainless steel containers!
*Reusable Silverware is great as well, that way you aren't sending them with your fine china, expecting them not to loose it!
*Lunch boxes that are insulated and compact are important. This is a great one for younger kids, and for older kids or adults, we really likethis one.
Our 6 Favorite Kid-Friendly Lunches:
*Bake a whole, organic, chicken or put a grass-fed beef roast in the oven (so that you have meat for lunches for the week)
*Hard boil eggs-these make a great on the go breakfast or snack
*Bake a batch of healthy cookies like these!
*Make sour gummy candies for their lunchtime treat (recipe below)
*Make hummus, homemade ranch or any other healthy dips to entice your family to eat more veggies
*Make this yummy granola for granola bars or to serve with whole milk plain yogurt
*Make sweet potato chips, plantain chips or kale chips (recipe below)
*Slice raw veggies and store in a sealed container in the fridge
*Make fruity ice to add to water bottles for a water flavor enhancer (recipe below)
*Make a big batch of beef jerky (recipe below)
*Prepare a big batch of trail mix: this could include raw nuts of all kinds, unsweetened coconut flakes, organic raisins or currants, dried organic fruit of your choice (unsweetened of course)
4 TBL grassfed beef gelatin
3 TBL raw honey
1/2 cup organic fresh squeezed lemon juice (if you don't want them as sour, use less lemon juice)
1/2 cup fresh organic berries, blended (we prefer raspberries or strawberries)
Mix all ingredients in small sauce pan over low heat until melted and smooth. Pour into candy mold (this is a great one) then freeze for 10 minutes. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh for up to 3 weeks!
3 ripe plantains (they are ripe when they look really beat up and black)
1/4 cup coconut oil
Sea salt to taste
Leave the peel on the plantain and cut off the ends. Still with the peel on, slice the plantain as thin as possible lengthwise. leaving the peel on while slicing will help prevent smashing the plantain. After the plantain is sliced, carefully remove the peel and place the sliced plantains into a skillet of hot coconut oil. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side, using tongs to flip, and being careful not to burn. sprinkle with sea salt.
**recipe courtesy of Everyday Paleo
Sweet Potato Chips
2-3 sweet potatoes cut into very thin rounds
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
black pepper to taste
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450F. Lay sweet potatoes on baking dish, brush with butter/coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning over half way through the cooking time. (If you find that the chips are not quite crispy enough, then you can increase the amount of butter/coconut oil and fry them on the stove top in an iron skillet).
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 TBL olive oil
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
Sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 275F. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, garlic powder, cayenne and sea salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.
12 rasberries or blueberries
1 lime cut into thin wedges
2 lemons cut into thin wedges
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
4 fresh strawberries, sliced
Arrange 6 ice cube trays on the counter and fill about 1/2 of the way with filtered water. Then mix and match the above ingredients into each water cup in the tray and freeze. Add to water bottles to not only keep water cool, but to enhance the flavor, which will encourage our littles to drink more of it!
2 lbs of grass fed round top or any other inexpensive cut of grass-fed meat
1/2 cup raw honey
1 TBL freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
You can ask your butcher to slice the roast for jerky meat, otherwise, slice thinly, lengthwise and place in a large stainless steel or glass container with a lid. Melt honey over low heat and add pepper and garlic powder. Mix well and pour over the meat. Place in fridge for 6-24 hours to marinate. Place in your dehydrator and follow the jerky specific instructions for time and temp. If you do not have a dehydrator you can use your oven, but you will want it on the lowest setting and to check every 30 min to ensure it is not overdone. Store in fridge.