Lunches to Love!
Tomorrow is Monday, so of course I am beginning my mental scramble to think of some lunches for the week that I know my children will eat. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really struggle to keep lunches exciting, yummy and most of all nutritious. I want to make sure they are getting protein and calcium, vitamins and minerals … all the essentials for their growing bodies.
I decided to look back at some past lunch successes for inspiration!
My daughter is almost 5 and my son is 2, and in my case they have very different taste preferences, but if I can keep their lunches, interesting, fun and of course delicious, I can be assured that they will not go hungry on the days that I work and they are in “school”.
The photo of my daughter’s lunch at the top was a big hit! It was the first time I had made a shape out of the sandwich. She had not seen it so when she opened it at school she was so excited, always a good way to start eating! I used chocolate covered sunflower seeds for the face. (The sandwich is home-made bread, almond butter and home-made strawberry chia jam.) I know my daughter will always eat a hard boiled egg so when in doubt I always throw one in, great for protein! Cucumbers are always a favorite for both of them and sometimes I will add a little hummus. The snack mix is a blend of raw nuts, sesame sticks, pumpkin seeds, raisins and I throw in a few of Annie’s Organic Bunnies. My two love bugs will eat all of the things in the snack mix but are sometimes reluctant to start. By throwing in the little bunnies, it gets their sweet little fingers in the mix a little more eagerly and before you know it they have eaten all of it! I know it is a bit cheeky but it works :o) And they always get fruit, scrumptious sweet fruit to refresh and energize them. Veggies are ever important, on their own or with a little hummus or nut butter to dip in.
I will sometimes give them leftovers from the previous night’s dinner and I bake on Sundays to have super healthy snacks to throw in throughout the week. Mini-muffins, oatmeal everything cookies and baked dough-nuts of all sorts (The half dough-nut below is made with avocado, cacao, apple sauce, oats and maple syrup… YUM!) If find that if I have a rare chunk of time in the kitchen to do a little extra baking, I put all the extra baked goods in the freezer so they are there and ready for the weeks that I do not have quite so much time. I take comfort knowing there is a surplus if we need it.
I have struggled to find bread that I am happy to use. Living in Bermuda, the price of imported organic bread is astronomical! This led me on a quest to make a beautiful healthy loaf of bread at home. I tried many, many, many different recipes and variations of recipes and have found a combo that my children love and that holds up really well for sandwiches. Making bread can feel so rewarding! Not only does your house smell divine, you know exactly what has gone into it. Very exciting!
Here is my sandwich bread recipe, I hope you like it!
-2 cups organic unbleached flour
-1 cup ground oat blend
( I put organic oats in a blender with organic seeds such as sesame, pumpkin and sunflower. I pulse a few times so it is well ground but with still a little bit of coarseness. I love knowing that all of those power house seeds are in my bread and making their way to the bellies of my babes!)
-2 Tbsp coconut crystals (or preferred sugar)
-2 tsp sea salt
Optional 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
-1 cup hot water ( I do not measure temperature, but I do make sure it is “nice and hot”)
– 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one pre-packaged pouch)
-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-Mix the yeast into the hot water and let set while mixing the other ingredients.
-Mix together the dry ingredients.
-Add olive oil to the yeast and water, mix into the dry ingredients.
-If you have a mixer with a kneading paddle, perfect. If not mix together and kneed by hand about 5-8 minutes. If it seems too moist add a bit more oat mix little by little.
-Place in a pre-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel.
-Let rise approx 1 1/2 hours.
-Punch down and do a short knead, re-cover and let sit for a short rise, approx. 30-40 minutes.
-Punch down one last time and form into your desired shape loaf.
-Place on parchment covered baking sheet and cover loosely.
-Let rise again for approx. 30 minutes (great to do this while the oven is heating up).
-Place in pre-heated oven at 400 F
(my oven happens to run a bit hot so I cook at 375 F. If you know your oven has a specific personality of it’s own like mine does, adjust up or down accordingly).
-Bake for 20 minutes. To test “done-ness” hold the bread, turn over and do a little “knock, knock” on the bottom, it will sound a bit “hollow”.
Let sit for at least 10 minutes before you dive in.
Fresh bread with peanut butter and honey is one of our favorite fresh out of the oven bread treats! So melty and delicious!
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