Day 122 – Hot Dog

Well, it’s not every day you find hot dogs at my house, but every once in a great while I let the family have them. Of course, the kids were excited and M promptly gobbled down two last night. Another one in his lunch today and I think we’ve met our quota for the first half of the year! At least I’ve got a decent amount of veggies in his lunchbox too and a healthy Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Muffin.

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Applegate Farms Uncured Beef Hot Dog, (ketchup and mustard in tin), Green Peas, Red Bell Pepper Strips, Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Muffin

Day 51 – Almond Butter and Jelly

Once again, I’m going with everything M requested in his lunch…with one exception.  He actually wanted his sandwich to be in the shape of another ghost, but since I already washed those cookie cutters and put them away with the Halloween stuff, he has to settle for the regular dinosaur sandwich cutter.

I guarantee there will be a plethora of Halloween candy in most student lunch boxes this week.  It won’t be happening here; but if the kids are good all day, they can pick one piece for after dinner.

Day 51 - Almond Butter and Jelly

Almond Butter and Fig Jelly on White Whole Wheat Bread, Orange Sweet Bell Pepper Strips, Carrot Sticks, Green Grapes

Day 48 – Halloween Mozzarella

These cute little Halloween mozzarella slices came about at the very last minute.  M asked for leftover roasted potatoes and green beans from dinner last night.  I added in a pickle (in parchment paper) and then was at a loss for what to put in the 4th area.  I wanted something with a little more protein, but didn’t want to do a sandwich since the potatoes are fairly hearty.  I had exactly 2 slices of cheese left in the fridge drawer.  First, I tried to roll them and stick them in there side by side….but the space is too big and they came unrolled immediately.  So, then I just threw them in there flat and was going to call it a day when I saw the Halloween cookie cutters (that I got at Target on clearance after Halloween last year for literally like a dollar for 7 of them) out of the corner of my eye.  Voila!  Halloween mozzarella that is sure to make all the kids giggle.

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My kids absolutely love these potatoes, so I’m sharing the recipe with you today. Enjoy!

Perfect Roasted Potatoes – serves 4-6

Ingredients:

3 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and/or peeled and cut into bite size chunks

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Salt

1/8 tsp Pepper

1 tbsp Dried Parsley

1 tsp Smoked Paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp Tumeric

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Toss all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly so each potato is covered in the spices/herbs.  Spread the potatoes in one even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, turn potatoes over (or just mix them around…doesn’t have to be perfect) and bake another 20 minutes.  Serve warm

**All spice/herb measurements are approximate.  I don’t measure anything when I make these.  I’m sure they are just a bit different every time, but they are also perfect every time.

Day 2 – Peanut Butter and Jelly on Sprouted Bread

Day 2.  I went with the more traditional sandwich approach today. PB&J.  I like Smuckers Organic Creamy peanut butter.  St. Dalfour is our favorite jelly.  They have tons of flavors and are made with real fruit, sweetened only with fruit juice.  They’re kind of pricey, but since we don’t use it every day, they last awhile and I think it’s worth it.

Here’s a tip for stirring your natural peanut butter:  Empty the entire contents of the jar into a mixing bowl.  Stir until the oil is thoroughly combined with the rest of the peanut butter and the mixture looks perfectly smooth.  Pour back into the jar and store in the fridge. You won’t have to stir it again.  I have NEVER found a way to stir it in the jar that didn’t leave super dry chunks at the bottom, which becomes a waste of food and money.

Day 2 - PB&J

Peanut Butter and Black Cherry Jelly on Sprouted Multi Grain Bread, Cucumbers and Hummus, Plum slices and Green Grapes

Let’s Talk about Organics and Packaged Foods

Organics

It seems the organic/non GMO project just keeps gaining steam.  You won’t find me telling you any different, however, I also know that buying only organic is not realistic for everyone.  Organic products aren’t available everywhere and when they are they often are very pricey.  My advice is to buy organic when you can (especially of the Dirty Dozen), but don’t sweat if you can’t.  A conventionally grown apple is still a better nutritional choice than a bag of potato chips.

Packaged Foods

We all know that homemade is best, right?  There are plenty of recipes out there (Thank You, Pinterest) for homemade snacks for our kids.  Homemade fruit leathers, homemade cheese crackers, homemade tortilla chips, homemade granola bars, homemade graham crackers, homemade pop tarts, etc,.  While this is great and I would NEVER discourage anyone from making any of these, sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy or motivation to make it happen.  We need to keep our choices in perspective and not beat ourselves up too much if we choose to throw a packaged granola bar into our kid’s lunch.

If you are sending your child to school with a healthy homemade lunch filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein and healthy fats the majority of the time, I see no reason you can’t take advantage of these convenience foods when you need to.  I will suggest that you try to make these snacks as clean as possible (least amount of ingredients, non-gmo or organic).  But again, just like an apple is better than a potato chip…a non organic (likely GMO) Triscuit is still better than a Cheez-it.  Just make the best choices you can with the knowledge you have and feel good about it.

Here are some of our favorite packaged snacks:

Late July, crackers, cookies and chips

KIND Bars Hubby loves the Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants; M and I love the Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein

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LARABAR Cashew Cookie is M’s favorite

Trader Joe’s Organic Corn Dippers

Trader Joe’s Organic Yellow Corn Tortilla Chip Rounds

Mary’s Gone Crackers

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Kettle Chips

Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bars, M loves the Fig, Strawberry and Blueberry

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What are some of your favorite “healthy” packaged snacks?