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Never Pack This In Your Child’s Lunch + Back-To-School Recipe

The quality of food served by school lunchrooms across the country is appalling. Although my little one isn’t in school (yet), I am saddened that many school districts feed children hot dogs, greasy pizza, and nachos for lunch. How this has even become acceptable is the subject of a future investigation… but in the meantime, do whatever you can to take control of the situation by packing your own lunches.

People who eat homemade food avoid thousands of unnecessary food additives they’d otherwise be exposed to. If your kids are away from home during lunchtime Monday through Friday – that adds up to about 22 lunches a month… or 22 opportunities to choose something healthy and homemade. Think of all the GMOs, preservatives, and other chemicals your children can avoid by packing a lunch. 

But… don’t go down the path of buying all those conveniently packaged “Back To School” snacks and drinks that line the shelves at the grocery store. Not only do they get expensive, but they’re just as unhealthy (maybe worse) than what they serve in school lunchrooms, filled with GMOs and additives to avoid like BHT, TBHQ, artificial colors, flavors, and tons of added sugar…

It’s especially ridiculous they keep selling products with yellow 5 and red 40 which are linked to hyperactivity in children (requiring a warning label in Europe). How are children expected to pay attention to learn in school after eating food like this?

Even organic packaged foods can be extremely processed and unhealthy without any real nutrition. Take the new Organic Lunchables for example. These might be certified organic, but I’d NEVER buy them…

When children grow up eating processed foods regularly, they grow up less likely to crave fresh foods like fruits and veggies. I want to teach my daughter to love all that real food has to offer, the tastes, the textures, and the amazing nutrition that it provides her body – and not trick her tastebuds with processed foods full of added sugar and fake flavors. 

When my daughter starts going to school, this is the type of REAL FOOD lunch I’ll make for her…

It’s not complicated or expensive… just a simple wrap, some fresh fruit or veggie sticks, and baked homemade chips.

The main course in this lunchbox recipe are some fun Hummus Roll-ups that you can put together the evening before so it’s all ready to go in the morning. I like to make my own hummus because most store-bought versions are made with GMOs and inflammatory oils (like canola and soybean) instead of olive oil. This is my go-to hummus recipe. If you buy store-bought hummus, just look for one that is organic and made with olive oil. 

To assemble your Hummus Roll-ups, start out with either an organic sprouted grain or coconut wrap (I like to use wraps by Food For Life, found in the freezer section at most natural food stores). Spread on a couple spoonfuls of hummus and top it with a couple slices of cheese and crunchy romaine lettuce. Thinly slice a cucumber lengthwise and layer it on top…

Then just roll it up tightly and cut into pinwheel slices that are easy for little hands to hold and eat…

Food Babe's Hummus Roll-ups
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 2 slices cheese or avocado
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 4-5 slices cucumber, cut lengthwise
  • 1 sprouted grain wrap (gluten free: use coconut wrap)
Instructions
  1. Spread 2 tablespoons of hummus down the center of the wrap.
  2. Top with the cheese, lettuce and cucumbers.
  3. Roll tightly and cut into pinwheel slices.
Notes
**Please choose all organic ingredients if possible.**

 

Instead of traditional potato chips, try baking up these parsnip chips… They’re healthier, inexpensive, and taste even better than store-bought chips!

All you do is thinly slice a couple fresh parsnips and spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment…

Drizzle them with a touch of coconut or olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and bake at 375° for about 10 minutes. Take them out when the edges start to get brown and crispy.

Food Babe's Parsnip Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 parsnips, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the julienned parsnips on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges start to become browned and crispy.
Notes
**Please choose all organic ingredients if possible.**

 

If you know anyone who would love some back-to-school lunch tips like this, please share this post with them! 

Xo, 

Vani

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33 responses to “Never Pack This In Your Child’s Lunch + Back-To-School Recipe

  1. Awesome Ideas. I use Steel containers also to pack my kids Snacks and After i started FOODBABE , my store bought snacks have come down and my son’s allergies and Asthma came down drastically. I have not used any Albuterol or Steroids in 3 Years now. Touch Wood. Thank you so much for all the tips and eye opening messages , emails and postings. Go Vani Go.

  2. How do I pack fresh cut apples and pears without them turning brown by the time lunchtime comes around? I have been packing all of my son’s food since he started daycare. I love the Bentgo box since it divides up and portions out the meal and it’s leak-proof and dishwasher safe.

    1. Cut the apple in pieces keeping it held together, then put a rubber band around it. You can also put lemon juice on the slices.

    2. Thee are acid dips that you can use. You use a mix with water and dip the fruit in it. You might be able to find them in the canning section of your local stores. A few apple varieties do not turn brown naturally, but I can’t remember which ones. Be careful since there are now some GMO types that do not brown but I highly do NOT recommend those since we do not know how the DNA might have been disturbed.

    3. You can do what I do, you cut up the apple with an apple slicer / corer, but don’t toss the core. Wrap the apple back up as tightly as possible back in it’s natural form, like you never even cut it up. By doing that it won’t get brown or if it does not much.

    4. Slice apples and oranges, alternating them. The acid from the oranges keeps the apple fro m turning brow

    5. Slice the apples and then sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Works like a charm! My husband and kids will all eat them this way, even if the apples have been in the fridge, sliced for a day or two.

  3. Since you do not have children in school yet you should know that all glass containers are banned including glass water bottles
    Safety reasons with the glass of course. It doesn’t matter if they are in sleeves of any kind. The schools don’t want to deal with shattered glass and I get that

  4. Unfortunately no matter how healthy you may pack a child’s lunch, they will go out and seek the junk food anyway, just as we did when we were kids.

    1. It is care takers duty to provide the best alternative so that they choices are always available. We are born sinners, but assuming we know the outcome, and giving up without offering another option, is simply careless.

  5. Your food looks delicious, thanks for the ideas for my child’s lunches! She will love the wraps.

  6. Dear Foodbabe, you’re always looking out for us. I pack my university lunches (campus food isn’t that healthy either). I’m upgrading my lunch pack, ice pack and containers. I love parsnip in stews, can’t wait to try out the chips, thanks.

  7. It would be great if an alphabetical list of ingredients to avoid was available and maybe a list of ok to have but better to avoid. Years ago there was one but it disappeared.

  8. HI food babe, I really love your information, but, I must know, do you vaccinate your daughter? I mean, You can’t possibly give all of this food advice when vaccines are filled with formaldehyde, polysorbate, mercury, aluminum the list goes one… please do reply. TIA .

    1. I assume she does believe in vaccination which is the only thing that I would agree with her on. Not getting vaccinated is irresponsible.

      1. It seems that way when one doesn’t have the full understanding of human physiology. We don’t know what we don’t know!

      2. No, vaccinations are NOT needed! Vaccines do NOT serve a purpose except to cause illness and shorten ones life. These vaccines were developed back before the 50’s to actually control the worlds population. Our gov. wants you to believe they are good as you do. Formaldehyde is used on deceased people and animals and in jars to preserve parts from rott and decay. It actually changes the texture and makes the tissue more firm and changes the color as well. Aluminum in shhots, aluminum foil, aluminum in baking powder, breads, cookies, antiperspirant as well cause cancers too. All these chemicals are known to cause various diseases, cancer and autism. Even our animals vaccines are deadly too. Our dogs do not get vaccinated and eat only foods without any colors, and no added flavors of any kind.

  9. One thing that people do not realize in general is that all plastics continue to cure after they are formed, although it is at a much lower rate. In general heat accelerates the curing, doubling the rate of cure for every 18 degrees F increase. so refrigerators and freezers have much less outgassing from the continued curing. I do agree that about the best compromise is the stainless steel dish with a plastic lid since a stainless lid will not seal very well. Sunlight also accelerates the curing too. You can prove this for yourself usually by putting the plastic in an oven and “cooking” it on high heat: the smells that result are some of the out gassing products and the burnt plastic is where all plastics will end up eventually, although it might take thousands of years in a land fill. This is also why you should NEVER use plastics in a microwave too.

  10. Great post, but last I checked, Food for Life tortillas had gums & cellulose. I will check again. My super healthy lad and daughter usually get dinner leftovers as the main course and are totally fine with eating it cold!

    It is possible to do clean lunches and felt great when the lunch monitor complimented me when I joined my son for lunch. He was busted helping himself large amounts of the nasty ketchup and disgusting Ranch dressing they put out in pumps for the kids, sadly. Teachers also constantly do things like ice cream parties and candy for rewards, and it’s tough for little ones to turn it down when all their peers eat it, but he often does.

    1. Where does one find a coconut wrap? Just checked Food for Life tortillas and the wheat-free ones do have xanthan gum & cellulose. : (

  11. These look great. I would have loved these when I was a kid. I know a lot of people will say that kids would never eat this; however, I was 6 when I got my first cookbook and that started my enjoyment of making my own food. I never had the lunchables.

  12. Looks delicious! What do you use to cut the parsnips? I Find when I cut thing for chips by hand, I get an very uneven bake.

    Thanks!

  13. Hi! I’m almost a mother of 3 and I love your blog and I make every effort to feed my family with organic whole food. One thing I have learned is that you will have all these plans of what you want to feed your children and it won’t happen lol. More so when they are younger. My two year old will starve himself before eating sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I tell my children no when he hey ask me for crap food but just to warn you it will be a fight at some point, especially when they see kids at school with soda and lunchables. It’s a constant fight with my 7 year old, but luckily he lives my homemade pizza Lunchable :). You have to get creative and hide veggies with kids a lot.

  14. My kids would not eat this. Thanks for the info – you are a inspiration to me personally.

  15. A lot of people I know, see the word Organic and think it’s safe and do not read the labels. Remember, NATURAL FLAVOR: Natural Vanilla Flavor, Natural Strawberry Flavor, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Natural Beef Flavor; I think you get the idea. Read! Read! Read!

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