Another school year means another year of getting creative with lunchboxes. Granted, the little guy is in Kindergarten, so he’s not technically there for lunch every day, but they have snack time (and my daughter has afternoon snack in addition to lunch!), so we have a full house of lunch on the go to prepare.
My kids love packing their lunches. I have a hard time holding them back so I can ensure they come up with a balanced meal. Sometimes it’s all fruit, other times all grains, but it’s always completed with enthusiasm. Far more enthusiasm than I usually have for the job.
I’m lucky that my kids are mostly adventurous eaters. Hummus is not that unusual, meanwhile I only just tasted it for the first time in the last 2 years. My daughter can’t get enough of single-serving-sized Brie. My son’s weakness is for raw broccoli. He’ll eat it all before I can use it for a recipe.
This year, I’m tasking myself with making more of their snacks. I got pretty complacent halfway through last year and relied far too much upon hot lunch, despite my initial desire not to. None of that this time around! No excuses!
Muffin Mondays make great additions to snack and lunch bags. In addition, this week I made Chocolate Granola Bars. An ice pack is recommended for the lunchbag, as they get a little melty in your hands at room temperature, but they’re worth the mess. And since I made them, I controlled the ingredients. Not much sugar here, but both the kids gave them their seals of approval.
Chocolate Granola Bars
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1½ cups crisped rice cereal
- 1½ cups old fashion rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- ⅓ cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup brown rice syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup smooth natural peanut butter
- Grease and line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a very large bowl, mix together the chocolate chips, cereal, oats, coconut, and almonds. Set aside.
- In a small pot, boil the brown rice syrup and coconut oil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add to it the peanut butter, stirring until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix with a large silicone spatula until evenly distributed. The chocolate chips will melt a bit--this is perfectly okay.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, using wax paper and your hands to press it down evenly.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour before attempting to cut.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
I’m going to try to make this somewhat of a series to help the other stumped parents out there. Look for more What To Pack For Lunch!