Saturday, January 22, 2011

School Lunch Ideas - Mid-year successes

I started off this school year seeking to find interesting school lunches for my first grader.  It's a double challenge as it has to meet the school parameters of being nut-free, healthy, filling and litter-free (or close to as possible).  I have a stash of small plastic containers and aluminum water bottles to assist with the litter-free part.  Our school is known as a green school and is famous for it's 'boomerang lunches' weeks where everything that goes to school comes back.  My son is also not a big fan of traditional sandwiches (he loves peanut butter and banana, but you can't send peanut butter to school).

Here are some lunches that my son loves

hummus and pita
bagel with cream cheese
pizza pinwheels (recipe here)
cracker sandwiches (Ritz with cheese whiz or cream cheese)
meat roll ups, cheese and crackers (rolled up lunch meat slices, usually turkey)
meatloaf sandwich (slice of leftover meatloaf in two slices of bread)
leftover cold pizza
pizza sticks (recipe below)
English Muffins with cream cheese and jam
English Muffins with pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese
ham and cheese muffin
tomato soup in a thermos
spaghetti in a thermos
macaroni and cheese in a thermos

apple slices
other seasonal fruit
veggies and dip
goldfish crackers
dried fruit snacks (eg: fruit to go)
raisins and cheerios mix
granola bars (watch for nut content)
banana bread
zucchini loaf

orange juice
apple juice
fruit plus veggies juice

I make a point to stay away from chips, cookies and candy for school lunches.  I like to pick a good mix that represents each area of Canada's Food Guide so that my son gets fueled up for the rest of the day.

What ideas have worked for you this year?

Pizza Sticks

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup flour (approx.)
2/3 cup chopped pepperoni

2 tbsp margarine (melted)
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place oven rack in centre position.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Stir the first 5 ingredients together in the bowl.  Pour in the olive oil and hot water.  Stir until the flour is combined.  Work the second amount of flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed and a bit of the chopped pepperoni, until all the pepperoni is mixed into the dough.  Invert the bowl over the dough.  Let the dough rest 10 minutes.  Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut rows about 1 inch wide with the knife on the cutting board.  Cut crosswise into 5 inch long sticks.  Lay each stick on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Cover with the tea towel.  Let rise in the oven, with the door closed and the oven light on, for 30 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven.  Turn the oven on to 375*.  Combine the melted margarine and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Brush the sticks with the margarine mixture.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Makes 18-20 sticks.

 Recipe from Company's Coming - Kids Cook!  3 in 1 cookbook collection (After-school Snacks section)

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