School Lunchbox Ideas

Now that the school year is off to a start perhaps you are looking for new lunch ideas for your child.  Do you have a picky eater? Trying to branch out from sandwiches and mix up their lunch box repertoire? After working in Early Education for many years I have come up with many healthy and nut free options, since most schools are now nut free.  Here are just a few (please remember that based on the age of your child you will need to cut/slice food to appropriate size):

high-grade-stainless-steel-sealing-insulated-lunch-box-0-9l-21-15-6-5cm-free-shipping
Lunch Box Ideas
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Rice Cakes and Sun Butter
  • Deli Meat Rollup
  • Pasta (Tortellini, mac and cheese, spaghetti, etc.)
  • mini waffles or pancakes
  • muffins
  • Pita with hummus
  • Sweet and Sour Kielbasa
  • Quesadilla

Pair these main options with:

  • Yogurt
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Steamed veggies
  • Cheese Stick
  • Cottage Cheese
  • 3 bean salad
  • Tabouli
  • Yogurt covered pretzels
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Avocado slices

Why not pack your own lunch at the same time!  You’ll definitely feel like you are eating healthier and saving more money than ordering lunch every day.  Leftovers from dinner the night before are also great lunch ideas!

What was in your lunch box today?

Here are some of our favorite lunch boxes – amazon links:


Whole30 Days 27-30!

The last horrah!  We made it to the end…more on that later.  I again only took pictures of new or interesting meals, but take a look at what our last 4 days consisted of:

Day 27:

7.31 Whole30 breakfast
Fruit Salad and scrambled eggs with Pesto. Got the green eggs…just missing the ham!
7.31 Whole30 Dinner
Salisbury Steak, Green Beans with Balsamic Vinegar and Mashed Potatoes with Ghee

Day 28:

8.1 Whole30 Snack
First day of August and my office A/C is so frigid that I broke down and needed a mid-day hot coffee. Still struggling to drink it black, but I’m getting used to the taste.
8.1 Whole30 Dinner
Homemade taco seasoning simmered with beef, topped with salsa and guacamole inside a lettuce wrap

Day 29:

8.2 Breakfast
Breakfast on the go…banana, cashew larabar and ice water.
8.2 Whole30 Dinner2
Perusing the natural aisle we found a new brand to try, frozen spinach cakes. Brian loved them, I thought they were only ok.
8.2 Whole30 Dinner
Spinach cakes, compliant bacon, turkey meat sautéed with green peppers and sweet onions.

Day 30:

8.3 Whole30 Breakfast
Almond Butter, Banana and coconut milk smoothie with a side of fresh strawberries
8.3 Whole 30 Dinner
Stir fry with peppers, onion, broccoli, beef with a Tahini sauce dressing. Organic sweets and beats on the side.

We did it!  We made it!  We survived!  30 days was hard work…but it paid off.  First thing I splurged on was an iced coffee with cream and sugar…boy did I miss that!

Overall I lost 11 pounds and my husband lost 14.  I never once stepped foot into a gym…I didn’t do anything differently other than change my diet.  I think that is pretty impressive!  

Come back later this week for our overall impression and tips.  And if you’re participating we would love to hear your best practices as well!

Whole30 Days 20-26

As we rounded the home stretch to our first Whole30 I made my biggest mistake.  No weekly meal plan.  It resulted in last minute trips to various grocery stores, repeat meals and panicking at the last minute trying to throw something compliant together for a meal.  I learned my lesson!  In order to really follow the Whole30 you have to have a plan in place, it saves so much time, so much money, and really helps mentally prepare yourself for the coming week.

Here are some of our meals:

7.22 Whole30 Breakfast
Breakfast of fried eggs, fresh fruit and a tall glass of water

My newest favorite kitchen gadget is the mandolin I received for my birthday.  It makes perfect french fries, my most favorite food ever!  I could have eaten just a plate of french fries alone for a meal!

Whole30 French Fries
The mandolin makes the perfect french fries, we baked them in the oven to make them Whole30 compliant!
Whole30 French Fries
Potatoes sliced by the mandolin and tossed in light olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper and a little bit of paprika. Baked to perfection in the oven
Whole30 Brunch
We re-fried left over potato medley and topped them with 2 poached eggs and complaint “faux” hollandaise sauce. A side of compliant bacon made the perfect Brunch.
Whole30 DInner
Turkey burgers topped with pineapple, mango salsa, avocado oil chips and broccoli
Whole30 Breakfast
Smoked Salmon was the perfect breakfast addition when I needed a break from eggs. I had this with a side of fresh fruit and was good to go!
Whole30 Dinner
Back to the oven baked French Fries, because they were that good! More broccoli and a perfectly grilled steak.
Whole30 Restaurant Dinner
One of the rare times we’ve braved going to a restaurant…ice burg lettuce, grilled chicken, apples and dried cranberries. Dressing on the side.
Whole30 Dinner zoodles
Back to the zoodles! We have had so so so much zucchini on this diet
Whole30 lunch
Quick stop at Whole Foods, well balanced salad with avocado dressing and a cold pressed grapefruit juice. Perfection.

Stay tuned for our last 4 days, and what our final results end up being!

Whole30 Days 13-19

This week marked the halfway point of our Whole30 journey!  We are feeling good and I’m proud that we haven’t slipped up so far.  Here are our thoughts so far:

Pros:

  • Well Rounded Meals
  • Sitting Down to Breakfast starts the day off right
  • Making Healthy Choices
  • Becoming more aware of the hidden sugars and ingredients lurking in processed foods
  • No more headaches
  • Less Craving
  • Fewer trips to the grocery store with a solid meal plan
  • Discovered foods we didn’t know we would like

Cons:

  • Lot’s of meal prep
  • Expensive grocery bills – organic foods are killer!
  • Turning on the oven in 90 degree weather…
  • Lack of motivation to create a full meal after a long day (this is when we used to fall into the takeout habit)
  • So. Many. Dishes

Honestly we haven’t noticed any of the main things we were looking for, ie: more energy, better sleep at night, clearer skin, etc.  And we obviously won’t know whether there was any weight loss until the end.  Overall the pros outweigh the cons, but there certainly haven’t been any life changing moments.

On to the meal plan!

Whole30 Meal Plan
Weekly Meal prep for Whole30 Days 13-19
Whole30 Meal Plan
Whole30 Meal Plan for Days 13-19

We are continuing to use our meal planning app, which is a great way to keep us on target and share meals for the week.  This is not endorsed, but we are using the free version of “Meal Planner” from the apple store.  I give it 2 thumbs up.  You will see meals being repeated, we are falling back into comfort zones, easy meals, and ones we have found we really enjoy.  I don’t have photos for every meal, just the new or really great ones!

Without further delay… da photos:

Whole30 Breakfast
Sunday Breakfast, 2 scrambled eggs and trail mix. Dried fruit and nuts, lots of healthy fats.
Whole30 Lunch
Sunday Lunch: Zoodles with a cold heirloom tomato sauce and pesto
Whole30 Dinner
Sunday Dinner: Compliant Hotdogs, avacado oil chips and broccoli slaw with compliant ranch

We have received some skepticism regarding how there could possible be a “whole” hotdog, aren’t they super processed food?  The best brand we have found is Applegate.  Again, NOT endorsed, we just love them.  Applegate creates natural and organic meats.  Here is their label, which shows that the hotdogs are made from grass fed beef and other simple ingredients.  No preservatives, no antibiotics, no added sugar, no nitrates.  We highly recommend them, not the easiest brand to find, but we found them at Wegmans.

Applegate Hotdog, Whole30 approved
Applegate Hotdog Label, Whole30 approved
Whole30 Lunch
Monday Lunch, Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Mango Salsa, Avocado Oil Chips and Guacamole
Whole30  Dinner
Monday Dinner: Garlic Shrimp on a bed of Zoodles
Whole30 Breakfast
Tuesday Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs and chicken sausage (Also Applegate brand!)
Whole30 Dinner
Tuesday Dinner: Crockpot Pot Roast and potatoes. Seasoned with pineapple juice not from concentrate, coconut aminos, garlic and onion
Whole30 Dinner
Wednesday Dinner: Pan fried polish sausage, carrots and oven roasted sweet potatoes. We tried the sweet potatoes with cinnamon, not bad!
Whole30 Lunch
Thursday Lunch: Pico de gallo, avocado, bacon and hard boiled eggs wrapped in lettuce.
Whole30 Dinner
Thursday Dinner: Onion burgers topped with guacamole and a oven roasted potato medley
Whole30 Dinner
Friday Dinner: More Zoodles topped with Applegate Hotdogs. This was one of the hottest days this summer…I had to adjust our meal plan to avoid turning on the oven!
Whole30 Lunch
Saturday Lunch: Bed of arugula and spinach topped with cherry tomatoes, blueberries, red peppers and smoked salmon. Odd combination, but it was really very good.

We had a lot of really good meals this week, and a lot of repeated meals.  But I think that is ok.  I am finally getting comfortable with the ingredients I can use that I’ve been able to branch out from just strictly following recipes, which has felt pretty good.  Would you like to see some recipes on a later post?  Let me know if you do, I would be happy to share!

Whole30 Days 7-12

If you would like to read about the beginning of our Whole30 journey check out days 1-6 HERE.

Currently we are almost wrapping up week 2, which means we are almost half way done!  I still don’t feel any major differences, but my headaches are pretty much gone.  It must have just been from detoxing my body off of sugar and caffeine.  You are allowed caffeine on the Whole30, but without cream and sugar in my coffee I have virtually stopped drinking it.  My husband did notice that by Friday afternoon he was seriously dragging.  He gets up and does early morning workouts and then is pretty active all day long outside in the heat, so we are thinking we need to up his caloric intake.

I do think that clean eating has started to become a habit for us.  The extra time it takes to meal prep can be frustrating.  I have definitely had more than one occasion where after a marathon day at work I would so much rather stop for take out rather than coming home and preparing a whole meal.  And the dishes….SO MANY dishes.  But so far we have resisted, 12 days down without a single cheat.  We did go out to dinner once, I got grilled Salmon and broccoli and my husband got lettuce wraps…so impressed with us!

I downloaded a free app this week called “Meal Planner Pal” and it has been great!  You can add in Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks for a whole week.

meal plan1
Meal Planner Pal from the App Store

Then, you can choose who to email it to.  So I was able to share the whole week’s worth of meals with my husband.  It has definitely helped us stay organized and stay on plan.  Here is what it looks like when you receive an email:

meal plan 2
Meal Planner Pal free email…sharing our weekly menu with the hubs just became that much easier!

I also made a big pitcher of green tea to last us through the week.  I just brewed mandarine green tea and then added frozen peaches and fresh mint from the garden.  It was a great morning replacement for my normal cup of coffee.

peach tea
Mandarine Green tea with frozen peaches and fresh mint

Now onto some of our meals!

Breakfast:

breakfast 1
Sweet potato, onion and compliant sausage hash. It was nearly impossible to find a compliant sausage, but it was well worth the hunt! We added a fried egg on top a couple times this week for a breakfast choice.
breakfast 3
Any tupperware fans out there have the egg cooker? This has been a saving grace for us with on the run breakfasts! It will cook your scrambled or poached eggs in under 2 minutes in the microwave. That’s why so many of my omelets have this shape
breakfast 2
Banana and a Larabar. Larabar’s were our best find this week. They are all natural fruit and nut bars, perfect for a meal addition or snack on the go and totally compliant.
Breakfast 4
Two fried eggs and a fruit salad
Breakfast 5
2 friend eggs and a trail mix (dried apricots, raisins, almonds and cashews)

I think we are starting to get a little bit sick of eggs, and I’ve been trying to limit our fruit intake and replace with more vegetables.  So I need to really do some research on breakfast ideas for this week!

Lunch:

lunch 1
Home made chicken salad (left over roasted chicken, compliant mayo, red onions, red grapes and celery) avocado and strawberries
lunch 2
Spinach salad topped with grilled chicken and a light italian dressing
lunch 3
Black olives, banana, smoothie, larabar, sweets and beats and guac. A snacky meal but surprisingly really filling!
lunch 4
Sweet romaine lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli topped with grilled steak tips and light italian dressing
lunch 5
Cobb Salad…sweet romaine lettuce, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, avocado, bacon and left over grilled steak tips.
Lunch 6
Turkey burgers topped with pineapple mango salsa, avocado oil chips and guac

Dinners:

Dinner 1
Beef and bacon stuffed orange peppers, black olives, home made kale chips
Dinner 2
Sweet potato and zucchini latkes and baked white fish
Dinner 3
Home made guacamole on taco meat
Dinner 4
Oven roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli and grilled chicken
Dinner 5
zucchini noodles with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs
Dinner 6
Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli

Overall our meals have been time consuming but pretty filling and delicious.  One of my favorites were the sweet potato and zucchini latkes.  I shredded 2 zucchinis and 2 sweet potatoes and added one egg.  I sprinkled in some almond flour, onion flakes, and a few spices to taste.  Formed them into pancakes and fried in light olive oil.

zucchini latkes
sweet potato and zucchini latkes

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a huge sweet potato or zucchini fan, but these were delicious!  I have also really enjoyed the zucchini noodles we have made.  Maybe my tastes are changing after all…

And for a sweet treat on a night when I needed dessert we cut up a granny smith apple and added almond butter.  Yum!

Dessert
Granny Smith apple and almond butter

2 more weeks to go!