Healthy School Lunches We Are Obsessed With

Nutritionist Karen Gilman Gives Us the Scoop

by Pink&Blue Contributor
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School lunches have to be one of the biggest frustrations for moms. I know it has been one of mine. However, I have now created a system to make it easier. My rule of thumb for school lunches is the following: a protein, a fruit, a vegetable and a healthy treat. Lunch-time proteins can range from beans, hummus, edamame, cheese, yogurt, seed butter or as is the case in our house, tofu.

Here are some easy lunch options:
1. Pizza Muffins – cucumber slices and strawberries
2. Yogurt parfait with plain Greek yogurt, granola, strawberries and bananas – cucumber slices, seaweed
3. Whole wheat tortilla wrap with labneh and cucumber slices –an apple and sliced peppers (featured image)
4. Whole wheat tortilla wrap with hummus, red peppers and cucumbers – banana

Homemade snacks can be granola bars, mini muffins or homemade treats like these chocolate covered peanut butter balls. If you are sending these to school use a seed butter instead of a nut butter.

chocolate covered peanut butter balls

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup peanut butter
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup crispy rice cereal
2 cups chocolate chips or 12 oz dark chocolate

Place peanut butter and maple syrup in food processor and pulse to combine. Fold in crispy rice cereal. Form penny- sized balls and place on cookie sheet.
Melt chocolate. Drop 3 or 4 balls at a time into chocolate and roll until covered completely. Scoop out each ball and allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place back on cookie sheet and put in fridge or freezer to firm up.

Pizza Muffins

1 batch of pizza dough
1 batch tomato sauce
Grated cheese of your choice
Toppings of your choice – peppers, sun dried tomatoes, olives, basil
These muffins come together really well, the spelt dough is much easier to work with than white flour dough. This recipe makes a full batch of pizza muffins which freeze really well.

Spelt Pizza Dough
3 cups spelt flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 cup water

1. Process all of the dry ingredients with the honey and 2 tbsp of olive oil until well mixed. Pour in water until dough forms a ball. If the dough does not come together, add 1 tbsp of water at a time until it does. If dough is too watery, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until it comes together.
2. Remove from processor and knead in your hands for a few minutes until smooth.
3. Grease a mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil, place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap for at least 2 hours.
4. When dough is ready, tear into equal parts and place into greased muffin tin, smoothing it out and evenly distributing it.

Homemade Tomato/Pizza Sauce
6-8 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped
½ onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
Pinch sea salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Option: dried or fresh herbs, red pepper flakes

1. Heat olive oil in pan over low heat and cook garlic and onion until soft.
2. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they have broken down.
3. Add salt, pepper, any other desired seasonings, tomato paste and cook for 20 minutes.
4. Once thoroughly cooked, transfer to a food processor to process or use a hand blender to turn it into a smooth sauce.

To Prepare Pizza Muffins
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Pour 1 tablespoon of sauce into each muffin holder lined with dough.
3. Sprinkle with desired toppings and cheese.
4. Brush exposed dough with a little olive oil to prevent it from burning.
5. Bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes.

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