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.

almond granola bars

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

Pasta salad

Frozen smoothies


Veggies and ranch

Salsa and chips with bean dip

Left over cheesy pasta bake (recipe coming soon!)


Cheesy bread with pizza sauce for dipping

almond granola bars

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.

almond granola bar

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…


This Lunch Rox



5 Responses to Almond Granola Bars

  1. So I want to do this with my kids! I just need tips on how to store their food during the day! For example, do they eat leftovers cold, or how do they reheat it? How do you keep things cold — I mean REALLY cold and not just sort of cold? And by the way — these bars sound GREAT!

    • Alison says:

      Alyssa–I do send leftovers. It sort of depends on what it is. A lot of leftovers they do room temperature or with just a single cold pack. If it needs to be really cold I’ll pop in a couple of cold packs, plus if they have a frozen smoothie (it’s yogurt consistency by lunchtime) that helps too. For hot, we’ve done a thermos. My kids don’t like things really hot so it’s okay with them if it’s just warm-ish when they eat it.

  2. meag says:

    wow, i’m definitely going to try! looks so yummy!!


  3. Natalie says:

    YUM! These looks super!

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