My school-aged kids and I had a recent conversation that went a little something like this:
2nd grader: “Mom, can you maybe pack something different for lunch tomorrow?”
Me: “Ok, what do you mean by different?”
2nd grader: “I don’t know, just something different.”
Me: “Can you give me a some ideas?”
Kindergartener: “Just different foods, mom.”
2nd grader: “Yea different foods.”
Thanks, kids. That totally clarifies it.
So, while browsing IKEA the other day in search of a playroom table, I discovered some frozen veggie “meatballs” and figured they would make a great lunch box alternative to sandwiches and possibly fulfill the nebulous “different foods” that my kids requested.
I took the veggie balls home and baked some for lunch for the 3 year old and I. Surprisingly, they are pretty great! They have a chickpea base with visible chunks of bell pepper, carrots, corn, peas, and kale and taste very similar to a falafel. While they do contain a little bit of oil, the overall ingredient list is pretty impressive for a frozen product. I highly suggest picking up a bag or two if you have an IKEA in your area. They were fantastic in a wrap with hummus, tomatoes, spinach, and avocado and also great on some pasta with marinara.
So for the lunch boxes, I used the largest compartment of the lunch cube for the baked veggie balls with some whole grain crackers and roasted red pepper hummus. I made sure to pack a collapsible spoon to help make dipping the veggie balls less messy.
In the smaller divided compartments, I packed bell peppers, cucumber, and baby carrots with a mandarin orange. As the weather is cooling, my access to summer fruits is slowly dwindling, so I am taking advantage of strawberries and melon while I still can.
For the classroom snack I packed a Cherry Apple Chia Pressed by KIND bar. Since we did the taste test, the kids have been asking for these bars repeatedly. I also made sure to toss in a wet wipe and a large water bottle.
Do your kids ever ask for “different foods” for their school lunches without any further detail? Tell me I’m not alone here!
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