Summer isn’t over yet, but we’re starting to see the first signs of the new school year approaching — back to school shopping ads are popping up, summer camps are winding down, and here at The Beecher’s Foundation office we’re busy prepping for our Pure Food Kids instructors to start training for the 2019 school year in just a few weeks!
Forgive us for getting ahead of ourselves here, but we just couldn’t help but start thinking about one of the questions we get most often from parents who pack lunches — what can I pack in that lunch box that is healthy and that my kid will eat? We believe that one of the keys to raising happy eaters is getting kids involved in the kitchen early on — so here are some of our favorite lunch box recipes that are great for making with kids. Start the habit now, when days are longer and homework is blissfully nonexistent, and you’ll be ready to rock those lunch boxes together come September.
- Tamagoyaki. These sweet Japanese rolled omelets are traditionally made in a rectangular pan, but a small (roughly 8 inch) nonstick skillet will do the trick. The egg mixture is easy for young kids to measure and mix together, and then kids get to practice rolling their tamagoyaki over and over again as they add layers. Tamagoyaki is typically sliced and eaten cold, so it is a good lunch box finger food, but if you’re making them at home they are equally delicious warm. Recipe here, technique in video form here.
- Cauliflower Cheese Cups. These three ingredient cauliflower bites come together quickly and small hands are great for pressing the mixture into muffin tins. You can also encourage creativity by adding any additional spices or herbs you’d like — allowing your kids to develop their own recipe is a great way to build confidence in the kitchen.
- Baked Aloo Tikki. This popular Indian and Pakistani street food snack is made with mashed potatoes, peas, and spices. You can pan fry or bake them, kids can help mash the potatoes, season the mixture, and form them into patties. Unfortunately these don’t freeze well (cooked potatoes never do), but they are so tasty we don’t think that will be a problem! You’ll be able to eat a whole batch in a few days, guaranteed.
- Black Bean Dip: If you have a blender or food processor and your kiddo likes beans, try whipping up this quick dip that they can eat with carrots, peppers, or corn chips. If you have a garlic press, preparing the garlic is a great way for little ones to get involved, as is rinsing the beans, picking cilantro leaves off of stems, and squeezing the limes.
- Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties: Another adaptable patty recipe, these quinoa cakes are packed full of nutrients and can even be made and frozen ahead of time for grab and go lunch box items on especially busy mornings. (They’ll thaw by lunch time!) Your little one can help stir the vegetables as they saute and can have fun mashing the potato mixture into patties.
Hungry for more? Kids circle their favorite lunch ideas in our free kids lunch planner; download it here!
Do you have a favorite lunch box recipe that should be featured on our blog? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org.