Can you believe it’s time to head back to school? Our summer was full of vacations, pool days, fun with friends and family, BBQs, parks, movie nights, parades, Independence Day celebrations, and more.
Our goal here at Hope Foods is to make it easier for you to choose healthy foods by making them delicious. Choosing healthy foods can be tough when it comes to kids: Not only are kids notoriously picky, healthy food takes time. That’s where we come in: Our two Dessert Cashew and Almond Dips are healthier choices your kids will love. Our dairy and gluten-free dip will make packing school lunches a breeze, and we promise you won’t have leftovers at the end of the school day. Here’s a formula we love, as well as some additional tips for success!
The Formula for School-Lunch Success
When making school lunches for your kiddos, it’s good to have a plan. We love this formula for a great school lunch: Protein + Carb + Fruit/Veg + Something Fun. Try to get every one of these in each lunch. Here are some examples we came up with:
Chicken & Rice:
Roasted chicken (protein) with rice (carb), roasted veggies (veg), and sliced apples with our Chocolate Cashew and Almond Dip (fruit and something fun).
Steak & Greek Veggies:
Leftover-from-the-weekend grilled steak (protein), cherry tomatoes and cucumbers on a stick (fruit and veg), roasted potatoes (carb) and gluten-free graham crackers with our Vanilla Cashew and Almond Dip (something fun).
Dairy-free yogurt (protein) with strawberries (fruit) and granola (carb), with Chocolate Cashew Almond Dip mix-in (something fun).
Coming up with a protein and carb day-to-day can get difficult. Creating a list of recipes your child loves will make each week easier. Here are a few of our favorite kid-friendly gluten and dairy free school lunches and protein ideas (here are a few that aren’t dairy and gluten-free):
This wrap recipe includes the instructions for making your own wraps, but you could simply buy a grain-free wrap at the store to keep it simple. Fill with your kids’ favorite flavors, such as chicken and rice, BBQ chicken, or add in one of our savory cashew and almond dips or hummus for a burst of flavor (like French Onion Cashew and Almond Dip or our Thai Coconut Curry Hummus).
Our Elote-Style Hummus Quesadillas are another great make-ahead lunch – just sub out the cheese for a dairy-free option. We have a lot of yummy recipes to choose from in our recipe index!
Burrito bowls are another super simple option – especially when you have a lunch box you can separate all the ingredients into. This recipe uses chicken, but you could use beef or pork as well. Make the ingredients on the weekend, and you can use the ingredients all through the week for burrito bowls and other recipes.
Our Chocolate Cashew and Almond Dip is made with a blend of organic cashews and small-batch, organic cocoa. It has lower sugar and is far less processed than other chocolate spreads on the market. Our Vanilla Bean Cashew and Almond Dip is made with organic cashews, almond butter, and fresh vanilla beans for a fresher, creamy dessert dip. It’s helpful to have one food you know your child will love in their school lunch. This is often something sweet, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to keep it healthy. With our sweet cashew and almond dips, you can include something your kids will love that is a healthier choice. Our Chocolate Cashew and Almond Dip is so yummy when you dip apples, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, or any other fruit. You can also dip in gluten-free bread or other treats. The same dippables are great with our Vanilla Cashew and Almond Dip as well. Your kids will love the flavors, and you’ll love that there’s only 4-5 grams of sugar per serving (if you’re looking for dips for savory snacks or meals, our hummus is a great way to get your kiddos to eat more veggies!)
A Cherry On Top: Adding Our Dessert Cashew & Almond Dips to School Lunches
It can be tough to pack lunches for kiddos with dietary concerns. Here’s a list of our favorite tips for dairy-free and gluten-free school lunches that will get all eaten-up.
Get a Great Lunch Box
Having a great lunch box is a big help when it comes to healthy school lunches: It helps portion out food and makes it easy to pack a wide variety of foods. Bento boxes like this one and this one for warm lunches are fun and have a lot of spaces for putting a variety of food. This insulated bag comes in a lot of fun prints your kids will love. These lunch bags can be personalized, and have a handy pocket on the side.
Plan Ahead for Variety
The key to successful school lunches is variety. Having a wide variety of gluten and dairy-free options can be daunting. Planning ahead and having a list of fun and healthy options to choose from will make your lunch packing skills to the next level of variety and ease. When you have easy go-to crowd-pleasers like our cashew almond dips to add to the lunch box, your kids will be happy, and you’ll be happy.
We’d like to hear from the experts: That would be you. What do you put in your kids’ school lunchbox? What do you put in your own? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know by messaging us via Instagram!