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Back-to-school lunch ideas

Babybel sent me a Snack a Little Bigger Back-to-School kit to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

I had never attended BlogHer Food before, but this past summer it was practically in my backyard so I jumped at the chance to volunteer at the conference. The sponsors and expo had lots of my favorite food peeps in attendance -- Jamba Juice, Applegate, McCormick, Aldi, Wyman's, Pompeian, among many. Babybel was also at the expo, and I love their brand because it's real cheese in single-serve portions.

Everything is a single-serve container to me. A little, red wax-wrapped cheese, a 100-calorie pack of almonds, a pint of ice cream ... yeah ... I need to keep the single servings small. As long as the single serves are individually wrapped, I totally stop at one. Great for Babybel, bad for ice cream.

Babybel sent me a Snack a Little Bigger Back-to School Kit that included samples of Mini Babybel flavors, a copy of Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord, a Visa gift card to buy lunch supplies and a really cool collapsable lunch box (I found a similar one on Amazon).

In keeping with the Snack a Little Bigger them, I came up with a snacky lunch, which is actually my lunch. My teenager brought his lunch all last year but this year he's giving the cafeteria a try again. I like the idea of boxing up my food, even though I work at home and my lunch technically doesn't need to be packed. But then again, single-serve and all.

Babybel lunch box

I have a peanut butter and raisin sandwich on whole wheat bread, which is a more interesting version of a PB&J. Just a sprinkling of raisins gives the sandwich sweetness and texture and fewer sugary calories than jam. Banana slices are also a great addition, too. A Babybel Gouda (because I'm fancy) goes in the upper left with some carrot sticks, and my fave new thing is in the bottom left -- homemade dried fruit. 

I got a food dehydrator last month, because I was channel surfing and stopped on HSN where I watched the presentation and thought "OHMYGODWHYDON'TIHAVETHIS." But instead of the usual dried apples and strawberries, I got tropical and dehydrated starfruit and kiwi. Those two would be great for older kids who like sweet-and-sour things. The starfruit and kiwi came out great and are great together. 

I'm not a big fan of making elaborate sandwich animal faces or overly involved creations. I don't know if all that work is truly appreciated, and I'd rather the food just be really tasty and healthy with a little fun thrown in.

Some other lunch additions that are great for kids as well as mom and dad:

 

  • Spread some peanut butter on a whole-wheat tortilla, stick a peeled banana on one end, roll it up and slice into small sections for a fun PB and banana rollup.
  • Instead of a bag of chips, throw in a bag of popcorn. Boom Chicka Pop sells big boxes of single-serve bags at Costco in sea salt or kettlecorn flavors for either 90 or 140 calories each.
  • Use guacamole or hummus as a sandwich spread instead of the usual mayo or mustard. And speaking of that, here's a recipe for Avocado Hummus from Weelicious Lunches that combines the best of guac and hummus:

 

Weelicious-LunchesAvocado Hummus

(from Weelicious Lunches, by Catherine McCord)

 

  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini

 

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. The dip will keep for 4 days in the fridge.

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