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By: Samantha G. Clark

We send our children off to school in their newly purchased sneakers, backpacks filled with school supplies and hopefully- lunch money. But if your children are like mine, and insist that you pack them a different lunch and snack every day of the week, then your choices are minimal and become redundant towards the end of the first month. You’ve been pinning every creative sandwich there is on Pinterest, but have your kids actually eaten it?

If you are as reluctant about cooking as I am, you might scoff at these recipes. But I assure you, they are easy and completely doable. I met with Kelly Rodrigue, writer of the online blog, Red’s Reality, for some help creating fun and healthy lunches and snacks that my children would actually eat. Rodrigue is a local mom with two children, Brenton (10) and Brianna (8). Her blog focuses on health and fitness since she and her family live a paleo and gluten free lifestyle.  She created these tried and taste tested lunch options that are sure to leave your kids excited for lunch.

Healthy “lunchable”

Ham, turkey and cheese slices with a side of plantain chips, strawberries, blueberries and a paleo chocolate Haystack.

 

Haystack recipe

2 cups choice of nuts – (ie. sunflower, almond or pecans)

1 cup shredded coconut

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

Blend nuts and coconut in the food processor until they are small bits and pieces. Put the nuts and coconut in a bowl.

In a separate bowl melt chocolate, vanilla, and coconut oil.  Once melted pour the chocolate mixture over the nuts and coconut and mix until combined. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and make haystacks as big or small as you would like.  Place in the fridge for 30 minute to harden and also store in fridge.

Turkey wrap with paleo tortilla

You can use any lunch meat and vegetables, but Rodrigues suggests to keep it colorful for nutritional and aesthetic purposes.

You can use almond/peanut butter and jelly for a sweet version of this wrap. For the wrap recipe and to purchase her dry mix, visit her blog www.redsreality.com.

Vanilla yogurt and granola

Rodrigue paired organic grass-fed vanilla yogurt with her paleo granola (recipe on her blog).  Blackberries, and chocolate covered raisins make tasty toppings, however you can use just about anything. To keep the yogurt and fruit cold for lunch time, make sure to place an ice pack in the lunchbox.

Hot lunch

Gluten free pasta topped with cheese, carrots, zucchini, garlic butter and some crumbled bacon. The snacks are carrots and tomatoes with dip, grapes, and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Rodrigue uses a small thermos to keep her pasta fresh and warm.

Snacks

Your children come home from school famished and grab the first thing they see. Rodrigue suggests having healthy alternatives to the cookies and donuts they might ask for, such as:

almond butter on celery

piece of fruit

organic squeeze applesauce

Larabar

cheese sticks

raw cookie – A raw cookie is a healthy alternative to the  Chips Ahoy your kids might be used to.

Raw cookie recipe

2 cups dates

1 1/2 cup nuts – I use walnuts

4-5 tablespoons of cacao

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Put all ingredients into the food processor except the chocolate chips.  Process until you get almost like a dough consistency.  Then put the chocolate chips into the food processor to mix them in.  Make into balls or flatten into cookies and put them on a parchment lined pan and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.  Store in a container in your fridge.

Rodrigue stresses the importance of fueling our bodies with the right nutrition and says, “Our bodies thrive with the right diet and our children need all they can get with their busy schedules of school, after school sports and activities.” She insists that lunches can be quick, colorful, fun AND nutritious.

I hope your children find these lunches and snacks unique and tasty. Have a happy and lice-free school year.

To learn more about these recipes and more, please visit www.redsreality.com. Samantha G. Clark is a former English teacher turned stay-at-home mom. When she isn’t chasing after her four children that range from ages seven years old to six months, she enjoys running and spending time with her family.