At the beginning of the school year, the boys and I decided to give ourselves a challenge. To pack a school lunch everyday. Yep, everyday.
It’s been a work in progress weaning them off of school lunch. To them, it was the equivalent of eating out. Tasted good in the moment, but left them feeling bad. Last year, we made a deal that they could choose one day a week, but it seemed even on those days I was getting calls from the school of tummy aches or complaints of them as soon as they were home.
So here we are, almost halfway through the school year and we haven’t missed a day yet. I’m not gonna lie, it’s not always easy. Some mornings I really don’t feel like packing three lunches. We’ve had to get creative, especially when the pantry is running low.
To make our challenge doable we’ve had to think a bit outside the box. PB & J can only get you so far. A few of the things we’ve been packing…
Refried bean and cheese tortillas
Veggies and ranch
Salsa and chips with bean dip
Left over cheesy pasta bake (recipe coming soon!)
Cheesy bread with pizza sauce for dipping
And these homemade granola bars. I first came across this recipe on Pinterest. The original recipe had peanuts and peanut butter, which was quite good too. I just decided to change things up a bit and make some with almonds, almond butter, maple syrup and a hint of cinnamon. Yum!
Almond Granola Bars
adapted from original recipe, found here
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons ground flax
1/2 cup chopped almonds
In a medium saucepan, over low heat combine almond butter, maple syrup, butter, salt and cinnamon, stirring frequently. Once fully melted take off heat and add in oats, flax and almonds.
Spread mixture in an 8×8 dish lined with parchment paper or foil. Place in refrigerator to cool and set.
Once cool, turn the bars out onto a cutting board and cut into bars. Store in an air tight container.
If you are taking on a challenge of this kind, or even just want some great ideas for packing lunches, check out these great sites below…