Back to School Healthy Lunches: REAL FOOD for Real Healthy Kids!

by Nicole Pierce, ND

We’re a few weeks into the school year, and some of us parents may be tempted to forgo packing a lunch and let our kids get a quick and easy (though less than healthy) hot lunch. But there are many quick and easy ways to send your kids to school with healthy food that will keep them active and attentive throughout the day. A favorite theme in my household is Breakfast for Lunch! Along with gluten-free pancakes (room temperature and smeared with almond butter and homemade jam), my kids love these baked mini meat, veggie and cheese cups. For quicker morning prep, make a big batch on the weekends then reheat throughout the week and pack in a stainless steel thermos.

Baked Mini Ham Cups

Naturally gluten-free and grain-free; a delicious bite-sized treat!

Adapted from MOMables.com

Serves: 24 mini cups

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 24 ham slices (depending on thickness)
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • Finely chopped toppings such as peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach.

Instructions:

  1. Grease a mini muffin tray, and preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line each muffin tin cavity with a slice of ham, creating a cup. If your slices are larger in diameter, you can cut them in half and fold them inside to create the cup shape.
  3. Spoon egg into each ham cup, filling about three-quarters full.
  4. Add the cheese and veggie toppings.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted.

Allergy-Free Pancakes

Adapted from MOMables.com

Serves: Yields 10-12 4″ Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (flax meal)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup milk (or nondairy substitute)

Instructions:

  1. Grease a griddle or frying pan, and preheat over medium heat.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, flax meal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, applesauce, and milk. Slowly mix half of the liquid into the dry ingredients, stirring continuously, and the rest ¼ cup at a time to avoid a runny batter. Mix until you get the lumps out of the batter.
  4. Cook the pancakes for 1-2 minutes on each side, using about ¼ cup of the batter for each one.