School Lunches Made Easy with Healthy Living Market

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Quick, easy, and healthy.  Is it possible?

Yes, I want it all: quick, easy AND healthy!  I work very hard to ensure my kids eat healthy as much as possible.  To make it easier for myself, I use a combination of prepared foods and ‘cheats’ and homemade items.  I like to send my kids to school each day with something homemade, a pumpkin muffin, zucchini bread, or oatmeal breakfast cookie.  I like homemade snacks because I know exactly what my kids are eating, can easily leave out nuts or other allergens if needed, and they cost less than prepackaged snacks.  **Try my favorite dairy, gluten, and nut-free pumpkin bread recipe below!!**  However I’m also a realist and because time (and energy!) is often at a premium, I do buy a fair amount of packaged things.  Shopping at Healthy Living Market in Saratoga helps me plan, prepare and execute healthy meals and snacks.

School Lunches Made Easy

Here’s a list of a few of my breakfast and lunchtime favorites: eats, treats and cheats!

Breakfast time!

  • Natures Path WafflesIn a hurry!? Our favorite ‘frozen’
    I always keep frozen waffles on hand.  My kids could eat them every single day, although I force them to mix it up sometimes!  I love this Nature’s Path Organic Maple Cinnamon kind because they are sweetened just enough so I add a little butter and skip the syrup.  If I have time over the weekend, I’ll put some frozen berries on the stovetop and add a little honey to make a fruit “syrup”.
  • A little more time?  French Toast in a flash!
    If you have a just a little bit more time, try our easy French toast!  My cheat:  buy organic cage-free egg whites in leiue of cracking and whisking the eggs.  Sprinkle a little cinnamon and some vanilla extract to the egg whites and use whatever bread you prefer, even gluten free.  I like to use whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread.  The kids love it!

French Toast

Lunches made easy!

  • Applegate NaturalsHealth(ier) Lunch Meat  
    I love the Applegate Naturals sandwich meat and cheese.  I make my own “lunchables” by using mini cookie cutters in cool shapes.  Healthy Living Market usually has something from Applegate Naturals on sale so be on the lookout for their monthly BAM specials.  I also like to have some turkey or beef snack sticks to have for after school snacks or easy grab and go protein!
  • Bento yes/no?  
    BentgoHealthy Living Market sells a few type of bento-style lunch boxes.  We bought our Bentgo box there and really like that.  The thing is, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for us because it all depends on what the kids want on that particular day.  I do prefer containers with smaller compartments though, like the Bentgo because it gives us flexibility.
  • A word on Healthy “lunchables” Lunch Kits

Lunch Kit Comparison The idea of a healthy lunch kit really intrigues me, but I have a few gripes with what is currently on the market.  We picked up both the Halftime Lunch Kit from Applegate Naturals and Revolution Foods cheese pizza kit.  The kids thought they were pretty neat, but mostly because they both contained a gummy fruit snack; something I don’t typically buy.  (I didn’t send them as their school lunch though, too risky)  The Applegate Naturals box seemed like it had more food; crackers, cheese, turkey, organic yogurt, and gummy bears.  The pizza kit had a whole wheat crust, a sauce and cheese packet and fruit leather.  The pizza was tricky to prepare and I doubt my 6 year old could open the packets and spread the sauce and cheese without making a colossal mess.

Verdict:  The Applegate Naturals kit would make a perfect pre-game or practice snack.  If you added some veggies, a drink and maybe an apple, it would make a good school lunch too.  Skip the Revolution Foods Pizza Kit, but consider their turkey or ham and cheese kit.

  • Salty and Sweet Lunchbox SnacksOur Fave Salty & Sweet lunchbox snacks
    Homemade snacks are ideal, but even super moms need some pre-packaged items on hand!  Plantain chips are a pantry staple in our house.  I love them because they are gluten-free and satisfy my salt cravings.  My daugther prefers them over any type of cracker and I like that they have not junk in them, just plantains and sea salt.  Our favorite sweet bar is the Plum Organics GO bar.  It’s a good semi-sweet treat that includes some added nutrients and veggies.  Healthy Living Market always has plantain chips in the chip aisle and a huge variety of snack and cereal bars with always something good on sale.
  • BEST Pumpkin Muffin Recipe – Gluten-free, Nut-free, Dairy-free

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from PaleOMG.com

Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree – LOVE the canned organic pumpkin at Healthy Living Market
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut flour – Buy in the bulk section at Healthy Living
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together wet ingredients in a bowl: pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, powdered ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter into 5 silicone baking cups.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes

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