Back to school, back to head scratching for moms! Majority of us need a lunch genie who can solve our creativity woes. Uneaten (well, especially “unopened”) lunches are the worst surprises in every household – haaay!
Ever since my daughter started school, Tom and I have prepared her lunch box meals everyday. For 15 years. We are crazy.
Needless to say, I’ve got 15 years of creative cooking and lunch box recipes under my belt and catering to the toughest customer: Aryanna. Hindi uubra kasi sa kanya yung mga kanin at ulam lang. Kailangan ‘fun’ and tasty. Pasakit levelz. Haha! Seriously, it’s a challenge as we try to make each meal healthy and yummy at the same time.
I documented some of the lunch box meals I made for Aryanna last week. They are super easy, yummy and quite healthy too. I’m sharing them with all of you para naman di na kayo ma-stress. Here you go:
Broccoli and Cheese Quesadilla
This recipe was inspired by Aryanna. You cannot make my daughter eat broccoli even if you paid her unless they are finely chopped.
Whenever I make tortilla pizza or quesadilla, I avoid using tomatoes as they make the dough soggy. I use steamed veggies or pesto and cheese as filling.
1 small head of broccoli, finely chopped
1 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
shredded mozzarella cheese (you can add shredded sharp cheddar too)
Step 1: Steam the broccoli.
Step 2: Using a food processor, chop all the veggies into fine bits. You can also use a sharp knife to do this.
Option: If your kids are not used to the taste of steamed vegetables, you can sauté them in olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. This mixture makes a tasty paste. Just don’t overcook the greens.
Step 3: Top the tortilla with a layer of shredded mozarella (you can add shredded sharp cheddar for more flavor) and chopped veggies.
Step 4: Using the broiler or an oven toaster, cook the tortilla with toppings till the cheese melt. Once the veggies and cheese are cooked, top it with another tortilla. Cook till crispy.
Step 5: Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice the quesadilla.
Yummy Broccoli Quesadilla for the kiddies and adults too!
Don’t bother making your own mushroom patties, it’s tricky. Leave it to the experts, I buy frozen mushroom burger patties from Ministry of Mushrooms. They have a stall at Salcedo Market every Saturday or visit their Facebook page.
Easy peasy: Fry them in olive oil or cook them in the air fryer or oven toaster so it’s healthier.
Bagel and Cream Cheese
Aryanna plays varsity volleyball in school and trains three times a week. I pack extra food (carbs) for her to give her energy. Bagels and cream cheese is her favorite! I buy bagels from Lartizan’s in Rustan’s grocery.
No cooking required, just a quick trip to your favorite bakery and your kids are set.
Tip: Be sure to slice the bagel already for your kids before packing.
Beef and Veggie Meatballs with Salsa Dip
My beef and veggie meatballs recipe is healthier than the usual mix as it’s packed with vegetables. Kids won’t know they’re getting their veggies eating this yummy dish!
500 grams lean ground beef
1 whole fresh carrot, finely chopped
1 whole onion, finely chopped
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup non-fat milk
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Step 1: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
Step 2: Form medium sized balls. Remember that the meatballs shrink in size as you cook them.
Step 3: Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are no longer pink in center or you can use the an air fryer and cook in 200 degrees for 12-15 minutes or fry them in sunflower oil.
1. Make dips! Instead of plain fried chicken or chicken fingers, up the level a notch or even a few notches with these easy peasy dip delights! I make fresh salsa, honey mustard, garlic hummus and peanut sauce dips. All these dips are pretty healthy especially when you make them from scratch.
2. Color their world! Add color to the lunch palette by throwing in healthy and colorful vegetables. Think French fries using sweet potatoes (rich in fiber and vitamins) and carrots (best source of vitamin A). Slice or grate those veggies in tiny bits and add them like a dash of rainbow in pasta sauces or sandwiches. The best are carrots and capsicums!
3. Style those sandwiches! Yes, even food needs styling, especially for kids. Create faces or different shapes using cookie cutters or be creative by using your paring knife. Make use of ordinary Kraft paper and draw for your kids – don’t forget to write an encouraging note Mommy words of wisdom can help your kid survive the day!
4. Game on! Make games for lunch – finish veggies to get to the prize, treasure hunt, solve the word problem, or a food puzzle mania.
5. Invest in lunch boxes. Instead of one lunch box for the whole year, why not buy 3 to 4 of them? This way, your kids look forward to what box is it for the day.
I hope this inspires you to make your kids’ lunch box meals. More recipes soon!
Shoppingero/shoppingera, let’s make kids’ meal tasty and ‘fun’!
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