Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Healthy Budget Friendly School Lunch: Apple Sandwich

Step 1: Find a round apple
In this installment of the healthy budget friendly school lunches, I wanted to try apple sandwiches. I saw this idea awhile back and I think it's a great convenient and pretty way to eat an apple. I cut the apple with a star shape cookie cutter and filled it with natural creamy Kroger peanut butter. Then, eat it like a sandwich. If your school is nut-free, try sunflower seed butter. It has a similar consistency as peanut butter and the taste is also nutty.

Ava's favorite snack these days is a vegan Maple Oat Brown Sugar muffin. I bake a batch and freeze them. You can pull them out from the freezer and they will be defrosted by lunch or in our case afternoon snack. Ava has an egg allergy and I like this recipe because there's no egg and it uses coconut oil. I made them for a play date and the moms and kids loved them! I use silicon muffin cups to pack them in the lunch container. Kids love the different colors.

Step 2: Slice horizontally in the middle.
Step 3: Cut out the middle with a small cookie cutter shape. Fill with peanut or other nut butter and stack.

To round out the lunch, I added vanilla organic yogurt in a separate container. A budget friendly tip is to buy yogurt in large tubs instead of the small cups. It's cheaper to buy the larger container and then you can fill small reusable containers for snacks or lunch on the go. Another tip is to buy plain yogurt and flavor the yogurt with a homemade berry sauce or pure maple syrup. I don't like to buy flavored yogurts because of the artificial ingredients so I usually read the labels and stick with something simple.

You may also include the extra apple pieces in a reusable lunch bag in case your child would like more apples. You might notice that I don't include veggies. That's a hard one for us. Ava won't eat veggies except for a few forms. I usually can get her to eat spinach in homemade fruit and yogurt smoothies and we pile in the veggies in our spaghetti and meatballs. She will eat spinach or swiss chard even in lasagna and homemade pizza. I try to fit in veggies wherever I can, even if it's just a small taste with dinner. When is comes to packed school lunches, I try to give my daughter foods that she will eat because we've established that she likes them at home. It wouldn't work for us to experiment with foods that she won't eat while she's away because she will do just go without.

Muffin, apple-peanut butter sandwich, and yogurt

Have your kids picked out a fun lunch box? Ava picked this lunch box out and she carries it with pride to school on the days we pack her lunch. Some kids are sensitive to packing lunches and eating different things than their friends. Sometimes Ava's friends make comments in the morning asking why she's eating different pancakes for example. I tell them that the pancakes aren't good for her body and they would make her sick. Her teachers tell me that for the most part, she eats her own food when I provide it without a second thought which I'm glad to hear. I believe starting her out at this early age with eating healthy foods will carry forward to her adult life, which is why I make it a priority to provide it. Plus, it's really rewarding to know that she's eating nutritious foods as her body is growing. Also check out the Kroger "Trade-Worthy School Lunches" Pinboard for more ideas from moms.

By the way...Ava really liked the star-shaped apple sandwich. She thought it was really cool!

All packed up!

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