Ahhh, September. As summer winds down and the pumpkin spice lattes start to fill up, we get an opportunity to start a new season, a new month, and for our little ones, a new school year. Healthy and fresh are two words we like to keep at the top of minds at A Taste of Olive, so we thought what better way to celebrate September than by sharing our favorite products for back to school lunches!
Meal Prep? Oh, yes!
Meal prep is a term often used by those who are looking to lose weight, get fit, or eat clean. It’s essentially a way of preparing or “prepping” your meals on Sunday so you can eat healthy throughout the week. We think applying that plan to school lunches is a great way to provide your kids with healthy options and lessen the stress of making a lunch every morning.
Meal prep containers are great tools to help pack a healthy lunch. Their separate compartments provide space to fill with veggies, fruit, and a protein, and you can reuse them! You can find a variety of containers at local kitchenware retailer Kitchen Kapers.
A Whole New Sandwich
Whether it’s lunch or snack time, it’s always peanut butter jelly time. A longtime favorite and simple fix for a last-minute lunch, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is an easy and fun addition to your little one’s lunchbox.
For a fun twist on the classic PBJ, go au naturel-lo. We carry Naturello Hazelnut Butter in Chocolaty and Crunchy, and either flavor will be a welcome addition to your kids’ lunch! Your little one’s not a fan of jelly or jam? Don’t worry. You can pair it with one of our honeys for a sweet sandwich combo that’s sure to satiate. See our spreads here.
Cut! That’s a Wrap
Diagonal? Down the middle? Without the crust? How do you take your sandwich? We all prefer ours cut a certain way, and for many, when mom and dad take that extra step to prepare our sandwich how we like it -- it makes our day!
The team at Momables.com list sandwich cutters as one of their back to school lunchbox essentials. To add a little fun to your child’s lunch, use the sandwich cutter to create fun shapes and animals!. It’s an easy way to transform any lunch into a personalized meal. Gourmet kitchen shop Fante’s Kitchen Shop in Philadelphia carries adorable bunny-shaped cutters. See their selection here.
Must(ard) You Ask?
We’ve already covered popular sandwich staples peanut butter and jelly, but what about their cousin mustard? No need to ask, you already know! Mustard goes great with lunch meats like turkey, ham, and bologna, so if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the PBJ, snag some slices of your choice of meat and build a protein-packed lunch.
Our selection of mustards includes flavors like barbecue, cajun, roasted red pepper, and much more. Take lunch to the next level with gourmet options like Mango Cilantro Mustard or Raspberry Wasabi Honey Mustard. Explore our selection here.
Drink Up Me Hearties!
We’ll leave the rum to the pirates, but your child needs to stay hydrated during the school day, too. Packing a drink bottle is a great way to give your child an option while avoiding the sugary pitfalls of the school soda machine. Fill it up with water, juice, milk, or whatever your child’s favorite drink it to keep them happily hydrated throughout the week.
Momables also suggests using a small drink bottle to save up space in the lunchbox. For the younger ones who might not need to drink too much at lunch. Philadelphia’s children’s boutique The Nesting House carries kid-size canteens that are both cute and environmentally friendly.
That’s Oil Folks
Let’s wrap up our post with a healthy recipe to try for your child’s next lunch. Getting creative with kids lunches can sometimes mean getting healthy. As an alternative to the classic PBJ and chips, go fresh! Fresh fruits, fresh veggies, and lots of protein. Cooking blog Kristine’s Kitchen lists Greek couscous salad paired with pita bread and grapes as an easy, fresh option.
Greek Couscous Salad
10-oz pkg couscous
¼ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Pitted kalamata olives, halved
- Cook 10-oz package couscous according to package directions
- Let cool
- Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
- Stir into couscous
- Stir in halved cherry tomatoes, halved pitted kalamata olives, chickpeas, and feta cheese
- Salad will last for up to three days in the refrigerator
Find more healthy lunch recipes from Kristine’s Kitchen here.