I’m often at a dilemma as to what to pack in my kids’ lunch boxes during the school year. Sandwiches just aren’t cutting it with these two, and often we get into a rut, and pack the same things day after day…. If you could please share lunch suggestions, that would be great! – Ginny

Tatjana & friend Christian on their way to school

Great question! Kids love dipping their food into sauces and dips so give them small cups of hummus, bean dip, cottage cheese or salsa along with veggies they love for dipping. Celery and carrots hold up really nicely

Hummus with carrots and celery

and kids love them. Sometimes just changing the way you present their same old food works like putting their meat, cheeses, and veggies on a skewer. It’s fun and fun to eat and they’ll be the envy of the lunch room.

Rolling tortillas up that are filled with peanut butter and jelly are fun or you can use cream cheese with roasted meats, lettuce, veggies or their favorite shredded cheese. Fruit smoothies are another fun option for after school too. Just mix frozen fruit with apple juice and voila! Like these ideas? Join the PCA™ for many more healthy but scrumpdillyicious make-ahead meal ideas.

Hummus

This is easily one of my favorite snacks, lunches, or appetizers; cleanse or no cleanse. It is high in nutrients, filling, and it’s easy to make and grab on the run.

SERVINGS:

Makes about 1 1/4 cups (one serving is 2 tablespoons).

INGREDIENTS:

1 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and 1/3 cup liquid reserved
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini (you can substitute raw cashew butter)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, sea salt, and cayenne (if using). Pulse to roughly chop, then process while adding the 1/3 cup reserved liquid from the chickpeas and flax seed oil.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

I usually use it as a dip for crudités, pita chips, or spread it on rice cakes. I’ve used it in chicken salad, and it also makes a great spread on sandwiches when you want to kick them up a notch with flavor.

VARIATIONS:

Try using ancho chili powder in place of the cumin and roasted garlic, or add in a couple chopped sun-dried tomatoes and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

 IS OUR VERSION OF THE SYNDICATED COLUMN “DEAR ABBEY,” ONLY ON KITCHEN WOES RATHER THAN THOSE OF THE HEART. SEND US YOUR COOKING DESIRES, QUERIES, AND CATASTROPHES TO DEARJEWELS (AT) JULIEANNERHODES (DOT) COM.

This post was first published on October 12, 2012

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