Tag Archives for " healthy lunches "

Healthy Homemade Lunch(able) with Smoothie

Want a healthy version of the popular store-bought Lunch(able) with Smoothie? Check this out!

Healthy Homemade Lunchable with Smoothie

This lunch, like many of our school lunch ideas from our menus, allows YOU to control the ingredients of what your kids eat, while making them a nutritious and fun lunch for school.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

Several times, I’ve had fellow lunch-packing mamas complain that their kid had asked for the dreaded “L” word… you know, those boxed lunches!

In my opinion, it’s nothing but a wasteful little box full of wrappers plus highly processed ingredients, not to mention a more-expensive option than packing your own!

I definitely see the “kid” appeal in a boxed lunch though. They are full of colorful foods, and kids get to assemble the lunch!

Thanks to MOMables, I can not only stave off requests for the meat and cheese with crackers and the DIY pizza ones, but I can make them healthier, more visually appealing, and fun! MOMables Cracker Stackers and “Pizzables” are two of my go-to favorites!

It’s very empowering for kids to have all the ingredients laid out separately, where they get to pick and choose and assemble themselves. Maybe they want to eat the cheese by itself. Or build a triple-decker cracker. With a “MOMable,” they still have that sense of freedom and control, but with foods you can feel confident about.

When I questioned my kids further however, it turned out that what each kid really wanted was the smoothie they had seen hyped up in the commercial.

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t “give in” and purchase the L-box. Need a few? Overly processed ingredients, preservatives, artificial colors, cross-contamination with top 8 allergens, high in saturated fat…

smoothiebles3

The best thing about packing your own Smoothie lunch is that you get to select the quality of the ingredients and are able to adjust for food allergies.

Setting aside my personal disgust at one of the commercials, which implies that having a home-packed lunch is something to dread, sending a smoothie in your child’s lunch is a totally doable thing.  And can be quite healthy too, if you make it yourself! Might as well turn this “You got a SMOOTHIE?!” hype to your advantage!

ready-to-grab-and-go

MOMables Turkey Cheddar Sub with SMOOTHIE Lunch

  • 1 whole grain bun, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1-2 slices cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 slices turkey deli meat (preferably uncured or no nitrates added)
  • 2-3 teaspoons mayonnaise (or condiment[s] of choice)
  • Treat (the boxed version includes two “Double Stuf” sandwich cookies)
  • 1 pre-made smoothie in reusable pouch

MOM Tips: If you freeze the smoothie pouch the night before, it can act as an ice pack in the lunch bag and keep itself cool and fresh until lunchtime!

You can use any kind of whole grain bun or roll, even a hot dog or hamburger bun. I doubt any kid is going to be too upset if it doesn’t match the one in the box exactly. “Who cares about the smoothie?! I wanted the one with the SUB BUN!” said no one, ever.

Check out our post on how to make and pack the smoothies in the reusable pouchesPouches we use: Little Green PouchYummi PouchSquishy Snak Pak, and Squooshi.

 

How to Make Your Kid’s School Lunch Better in 30 Seconds

Need an easy way to make lunches more fun? 30 seconds is all it takes to wow your kids.

30 Second WOW LunchesOkay, I admit it. I have way too much fun making my daughter fun food. However, I have found that presentation is everything with picky eaters!

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

While making food fun might seem time-consuming, I promise you, it can take as little as 30 seconds, and your kids will love it.

Are you ready to wow your kids in 30 seconds? Let’s do it:

You’ll need any shape cookie cutter and your kid’s favorite sandwich. Here I used a star cookie cutter, but you can use any shape you have.

My daughter’s favorite sandwich is a nut butter (or non-nut butter) and honey sandwich, so that is what I made for her.

Use your cookie cutter on your sandwich. Place the cookie cutter on top of the already-made sandwich and push down hard.

MOM Tip: You can cut each layer separately if a cleaner cut is desired.

Place your shaped sandwich in your kid’s lunch box and serve with a side of fruits and vegetables.

2-cookie-cutters-to-make-lunches-fun

This is also the perfect opportunity to let your kids help out in the kitchen and get them involved in eating healthy. My daughter loves to help me make her fun lunches!

Not sure what do do with the bread scraps and crusts? Save the crusts to make Frugal French Toast Sticks!

cookie-cutters-lunch

2 Spinach-Artichoke Cups

Delicious Spinach-Artichoke Dip in bite-size form and perfect for the lunch box!
Spinach & Artichoke Cups MOMables.comSpinach-Artichoke Dip is one of my favorite appetizers. I could eat it every day. With tortilla chips, bread, vegetables or even straight on a spoon!

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

Last week, Chief MOM Laura e-mailed me this recipe, and I was so excited to make it and share it with you, you’d think I’ve never eaten it before!

I love to use wonton wrappers in creative ways, so why not put my favorite dip into bite-size cups! These bite-size spinach artichoke cups are not only easy and simple to make, they are delicious!

Any leftovers go into the lunch box for the next day. This recipe is straight out of the MOMables Classic menu plan; so if you need a little help in the lunch-packing department, you might want to check it out! Even your picky eaters will gobble this up.

This recipe yields 36 mini Spinach-Artichoke Cups. If you have any mixture left over, bake it at 350F in a baking pan until hot, and enjoy it as a dip!

MOMables Spinach and Artichoke Cups

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Lunch

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 package wonton wrappers, at room temperature (can be found in the produce section)
  • 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Spray your mini cupcake pan with cooking spray.
  3. Gently push one wonton wrapper into each mini cupcake cup.
  4. Using a fork, mix together the artichoke hearts, spinach, cheeses, sour cream, and garlic.
  5. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the spinach-artichoke mixture into each wonton wrapper.
  6. Bake the cups for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on the edges (bake longer if you want them to be extra crispy)

Notes

Leftover Spinach-Artichoke Cups will not be as crunchy the next day, but will taste just as delicious heated.

 

5

Lunch Packing for 2, 4, or 28. Here’s How!

Would you get overwhelmed if you had to pack lunches for 28? Don’t worry, I don’t pack this many every day, but I’m going to show you how easy it is to pack lunches for 2, 6, or 20!

I recently volunteered to make lunches for a school that is in the poorest, most-diverse neighborhood in the entire county.

The thought of making 28 lunches could seem daunting, but I’m here to tell you, with a little preparation and helpful ideas from the MOMables menu plan, it went very smoothly!

My daughter and I always bake together on the weekends.  This allows me to be prepared and have ready-made snacks and breakfast items that will suit her gluten-free diet.

We baked up a batch of chocolate chip mini zucchini muffins. They were perfect for a treat in the lunches for the school!

A small amount of time baking = easy, healthy treats for desserts, whether for just your family for the week or to share! Not to mention the bonding time in the kitchen, as well as it being educational teaching fractions and how to read recipes.

We also made MOMables-style Pinwheels for the lunches. A flour tortilla, cream cheese, oven roasted deli turkey, and roll! Little Miss and I prepared these the night before because they are simple to make.

Tip #1:  Set up an assembly line for each step.  Instead of making each individual pinwheel, make all of them at the same time. 

By spreading all the lunch boxes out on our dining table, we were able to quickly fill the EasyLunchBoxes containers with Veggie Straws, fruits, and carrots with dip.

Tip #2:  Sandwiches, wraps, pinwheels, and many other items are easier to slice cleanly after chilling for at least an hour—or until the next morning.

Thanks to my MOMables subscription, making lunches every day for my daughter takes minutes! If I can do it for 28 people, anyone can do it for their family! Having a plan, a shopping list, and a make-ahead tips section saves a lot of time!

Tip #3: Make lunches ahead of time.  Most menu items give tips on keeping the items fresh and reheating suggestions. If you’re able to prepare your menu items, say Sunday afternoon, it can save you time and energy during your busy workweek!

Tip #4: Incorporate leftovers. Another reason MOMables saves me time and money is because they tell me in the menu if I will need chicken, rice, or pasta for a menu item. I can easily cook it at the same time I’m making dinner for my family!

Healthy lunches for 1 or 28, it all comes down to planning! Let MOMables help you get the most out of your time and energy so your family can have the lunches they deserve.

Tip #5: Plan year-round.  Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean your kids aren’t eating lunch!  Even with hectic summer schedules, fresh is still best.  Between June 25th and August 10th, MOMables will share three fresh dinner ideas and two lunch options your family will love.

Planning during the summer helps avoid costly convenience foods and unhealthy drive-thru meals. As always, your weekly download will be filled with prep-ahead tips, five meals and a convenient shopping list.

8

Lunchbox Wars: Bean & Cheese Burritos

Get access to a FREE week

It’s hard to beat a burrito when you’re looking for a simple, complete and portable meal to go.  Sadly, the “insides” never look like the picture in the ad.  Today, we are going to show you exactly what you are not missing and how much cheaper making your own can be!

Homemade bean & cheese burrito compared to a popular drive-thru fast food version.

Round 1 – Convenience

A burrito doesn’t take long to make.  You order it at the drive-thru window, pay for it and thirty seconds later they hand you one at the next window.  Or, you buy a frozen box promising deliciousness in 30 microwavable seconds. Tada! No bueno.

MOMables Tip: Get a whole pack (or two) of flour tortillas and make a bunch yourself, ahead of time. They’ll keep in the freezer 3 months. A few minutes in the microwave and you have the perfect on the go dinner for busy activity nights. No more drive-through and no boxed ones!

Round 2 – Contents

I opened up the fast food burrito (at right) expecting to see just beans & cheese. I didn’t know there would also be some kind of sauce, and a lot of chopped onions. There wasn’t much cheese that I could see, but maybe it was just smothered by the sauce.  Slightly unidentifiable, don’t you think?

There were also a few pieces of lettuce. I suppose this was an unintended “freebie” courtesy of assembly line fast food.  When you make your own you know exactly what goes in your burrito.

I only put beans & cheese in my version (at left). No sauce – the seasoned beans and sharp white and cheddar cheeses have enough flavor for me .  If you are using plain re-fried beans or black beans, I’d suggest a dash of salt free taco seasoning.

Round 3 – Cost

The fast food bean burrito costs $1.29.
While the ingredients for the bean burrito were quite a bit more than that, broken down to the cost per burrito, the homemade one is only $ .79That is nearly 40% savings!

Bonus Round – Is Lunch Complete?

As filling as a bean & cheese  burrito is, it doesn’t make a very well-rounded lunch on it’s own. What about fruits & vegetables?  Can you get those at the drive through window?  You can have any fruit or vegetable sides you like if you pack your own lunch ahead of time.

 

I packed my  burrito in an EasyLunchboxes container, adding bite-sized tomatoes & sliced strawberries on the side. For a school lunch, warm the burrito in the morning, then wrap in parchment paper or foil paper before packing. Since avocados are in season, I also added some fresh guacamole & organic blue corn tortilla chips. The guacamole is homemade too. I jazzed it up with some lime juice, diced red pepper, and Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning = Cajun guacamole!

Which would lunch you rather feed your family?

The “MOMables™” burrito lunch is a winner!

This challenge shows that convenience foods often seem cheaper; but in reality, they  actually cost more per unit and  are often nutritionally incomplete. What fast food saves me in time, it costs my family in health.

It makes more sense to pack  my own meals to go, with fresh, healthy ingredients from all the food groups. MOMables menu plans make that easy, by taking the guesswork out of making a nutritionally complete lunch.


1 4 5 6
×
MENU