My 2nd grader came home from her first week of school with so many things to share (including pink eye…yuck). She was so excited to tell me about her classroom, her teacher, her new friends, recess, and what all of the other kids ate for lunch. She is very observant in noticing that while many of her friends bring cookies and candy in their lunches, it isn’t healthy. However, one concoction piqued her interest so much so that she wondered if I would make her a healthy version; the Pizza Lunchable.
If you’re an 80s baby that grew up in the 90s like me, you remember the Lunchable very well. Rubbery circles of meat, plastic-y squares of cheese, greasy crackers, and a mini candy bar all adorably packaged in a bento-style plastic container that made lunch packing a breeze for parents. The catch is, Lunchables are full of chemicals (sodium diacetate anyone?), 17 grams of sugar, and about 24% of the RDA of sodium. Reading nutrition labels wasn’t a “thing” back then. If a food was in the store and approved by the FDA for safety, then it had to have some redeeming nutritional value, or so we believed.
Pizza Lunchables were not nutritionally much better than the meat/cheese/cracker version, but I’ll admit, they were much more palatable and fun to eat when I was a kid. Who doesn’t love the idea of being your own chef and tossing those tiny crusts in the air like they do at pizzerias? Come on, you know you did it too!
This build-your-own pizza concept is what got my daughter so excited. And of course, I want to score some major mom points by giving her what she wants (but in a much healthier way). So for today’s lunch, we have the Plant Based Pizza “Lunchable.”
In the main compartment of our Sistema Lunch Cube we have some oil-free Lavash bread cut to fit (1 piece of Lavash cut into 4 pieces/crusts). You can cut them into circles if you’d like or use some larger cookie cutters to make fun shapes. In the sauce cups, we have oil-free marinara and shredded carrots to act as the cheese. I included a collapsible spoon to make spreading the sauce less messy. You can also include a small container with cut veggies to top the pizzas (bell peppers, tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, zucchini, etc), however today I was trying to mimic the classic cheese version.
In the smaller compartments we have cut up veggies (bell pepper, cucumber, celery, carrots), a dried plum, and some strawberries and grapes.
My daughter told me that during the first week of school she was refilling her smaller water bottle several times during the day, so I packed her a larger 32 oz bottle. I also packed her a GoGo SqueeZ pouch to abide by the classroom snack rules. Since I know the pizza building process will be a bit messy, I also tossed in a wet wipe to hopefully abate any pizza sauce stains coming home on her clothes.
Do you make healthy versions of kid-friendly lunch favorites? Share with us in the comments below!!
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