Healthy veggie-kid ideas for portable meals - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-13-2012, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm trying to think of stuff for the upcoming school year, but also the rest of the summertime when we'll be running around and need to grab a bag of food for the outing.

 

 

 

My kids tend to prefer stuff on the normal-kid snacky/almost junky realm (pirate booty, super plain cheese sandwich where they pick at the cheese and bread with their fingers, licking the ranch dressing out of the teeny bowl instead of eating with mom's lovely prepared carrot sticks eyesroll.gif, fruit bars).  Yes we eat the regular amount of fruit, and sometimes get really into veggies, but I think they're bored and mom is tired of having to come up with new ideas just to end up having them rejected.

 

 

 

Ideas I can sneak in for them that might be new, exciting?  Good portable snacks/meals we can try out?  Stuff your picky kids like that's also actually healthy?  Favorite packed-for school or outing snacks/meals at your place?

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Old 07-13-2012, 04:47 PM
 
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Do you have little thermos containers? Those work really well for us. Various quinoia based lunches or whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and spinach or beans and rice.

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Old 07-16-2012, 08:22 AM
 
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Thermos containers are a great idea. My DD loves whole wheat ravioli, so I buy her ones stuffed with cheese and spinach to get greens into her. On the non-heated side of things we do yogurt and applesauce and raw fruit (although you've probably done all that and that's what they're getting sick of). Have you tried kale chips? Those can seem almost like a junk food snack, and you can flavor them lots of different ways. I recently made vegan "cheese" out of cashews--you could send them with that and maybe some crackers and they'd get a nice boost of nuts. Noodles with peanut sauce are good cold and can be mixed with veggies if desired. My DD loves sugar snap peas (as do I!) and those travel really well. Hope that helps a little!


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Old 07-16-2012, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the ideas.  

 

Dd1 hasn't (in the past) eaten much of grain salads/warm grains at school.  She does like super simple bean burritos though (just mashed beans & tortilla) and simply doesn't really eat them at home - so that's good to remember.  Cold cheese ravioli or tortellini would probably a good idea, tossed in olive oil.  Everyone would like that.  And I'm reminded how much they liked blanched green beans (plain or with ranch dip).

 

Our kids hated the kale chips eyesroll.gif . (They're delicious though, aren't they).  And one of our girls can't eat nuts, so we don't do much with them around home. 

 

I should dig up some easy homemade veggie sushi ideas, that's a good portable way to get some more veggies - and it's always been popular with the kiddos in the past (I've just been lazy about getting to it, since it seems to mess a lot of large dishes).

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Old 07-16-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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The kids really like rice cakes for snacks, but they can also substitute for bread for a PB sandwhich (or I see you don't do nuts, so some other spread like hummus maybe?)

 

Mine also love pita sandwiches-we make them with hummus, spinach, tomatoes, and whatever other veggies I have on hand and they gobble them up.  Not sure what makes them so exciting, but whatever works!

 

Homemade popcorn, yogurt mixed with fruit, string cheese...nothing else too exciting comes to mind.  I do not buy hardly any packaged snacks (more for budget reasons, though of course homemade is healthier) so we usually just bring whatever we have. 

 

Dsd used to love when I packed her "breakfast for lunch" for a school lunch, usually leftover pancakes, yogurt, and fruit, so that might be a fun change.   She also likes to bring soup in a thermos for a switch from the usual sandwich. 


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Old 07-16-2012, 09:03 PM
 
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We cut veggie hotdogs into octopus shapes for lunch boxes. Like this, but vegetarian: http://lunchinabox.net/2008/02/22/how-to-make-an-octodog-octopus-hot-dog/

 

Hard-boiled egg shapers 

 

Pasta salad

 

Flax wrap sandwiches rather than regular bread; which they think is novel and fun and I figure they get a bit of protein that way since they can't have peanut butter at camp so it's jelly or jelly and cream cheese in the sandwich dept. for us.

 

We do the "breakfast for lunch" thing too with yogurt and mini pancakes or granola bars and fruit to dip in the yogurt. 


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Old 07-17-2012, 09:44 PM
 
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You don't say how old your kids are, but I recently had a very similar conversation with my 7yo DS1. He goes to day camp, and the camp day is actually longer than the school day, so he's asked that I pack him more snacks (in addition to his lunch), and more varied snacks than what he's been getting. He is a kid who has always loved appetizers - I think he loves the idea of picking from lots of little things rather than eating lots of one major thing. So - more work for me, but a way to keep him interested in healthy eating, right?

 

Turns out his major interest was in getting me to purchase snacky stuff like chewy chocolate chip granola bars, fruit by the foot, etc. shake.gif I did buy freeze-dried apple chips (expensive, but they were on closeout so I got a bunch for half-price), but in the end, what worked was playing around together to figure out some things we could prep in advance and he could eat on the run. Here's what we came up with:

 

*Trail mix (he likes walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and chopped, dried apricots - I put out an assortment of possible ingredients and we had fun making various combinations)

 

*Muffins - I make a double-batch on Sunday morning, using a basic recipe and customizing it at least 4 different ways ( so we get 6 each of 4 kinds). DS1 likes to mess around with combinations and has hit on some great ones - pumpkin/apple/walnut was a favorite, as was blueberry/lemon/coconut. I freeze these in ziploc bags and then pop a frozen one in his bag every day - they thaw by late morning. (I get that these can be like cake, but I make mine with ww flour, ground flaxseed and minimal sugar so I feel pretty good about them.)

 

*Baby carrots and pita triangles with bean dip (I just whiz black beans and our favorite salsa in the food processor, but you could probably get a lot more creative wink1.gif)

 

* Guacamole and pita triangles or corn chips - I use the Moosewood low-fat recipe which is made with cottage cheese - if you eat dairy this recipe is brilliant as it sneaks in a little extra protein PLUS the lactic acid keeps it from going brownish in the container - stays a lovely pale green!

 

* Tapenade and French bread slices - not every kid is an olive-lover, but mine is, so he thinks this is a cool treat. He likes to mix up the olives we put in it

 

*Antipasto - we use olives, cherry tomatoes, random pickled veggies from the gardiniera mix at the Italian store, cheese triangles, leftover cold roasted veggies (cauliflower is great as it holds up well), etc.

 

And of course popcorn - so far I've just sent plain homemade popcorn in ziploc baggies, but there are lots of ways you can jazz up popcorn by using different spices, etc. We have a friend who makes his with olive oil then grinds on black pepper and a bit of fresh-grated parmesan, which is amazing!

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Old 07-17-2012, 09:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caryliz View Post

 

And of course popcorn - so far I've just sent plain homemade popcorn in ziploc baggies, but there are lots of ways you can jazz up popcorn by using different spices, etc. We have a friend who makes his with olive oil then grinds on black pepper and a bit of fresh-grated parmesan, which is amazing!

Popcorn with nutritional yeast (Lewis Labs is good) is very tasty - I make it with a mix of butter/olive oil, but just olive oil (or whatever) works, too.


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Old 07-18-2012, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Some great ideas - breakfast stuff (might work, we love breakfast), simple bean dip (I think dd1 would love that - she doesn't like guacamole, but the other does and the cottage cheese in it sounds intriguing. . . I may try anyway), antipasto and olives, and of course popcorn (though we did this once before and she barely seemed to eat it.

 

Yes - I do think my kiddo prefers smaller amounts of stuff for school, but she really prefers only 3-4 things (and she's a slow, playful eater which doesn't always help for a timed school lunch).  Kids are 2 & 6, btw.

 

Thanks again everyone.  orngbiggrin.gif

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Old 07-18-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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There are a lot of great ideas here!

 

I make apple sandwiches, like in this link.

 

My daughter was always jealous of the kids that have go-gurt, so I used another idea from the link above, and pack her yogurt or frozen yogurt smoothie in the reusable silicone container. Her school has a refrigerator, but if yours doesn't, you can just freeze it, and it will thaw out by lunchtime.

 

I also bought these tiny super cute Japanese animal utensils, for my DD they make eating anything that much more fun. :-) I also have a bear and flower mold I use for rice, tortillas, things like that.

 

I give DD beans & rice at least once a week, I usually cook a large batch over the weekend. Hard boiled eggs are another favorite.


 

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Old 07-18-2012, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 nyssaneala -- What re-useable silicone container have you found for the homemade squeezey yogurts?  My kids would love those - our cheapest option for them just changed to a not-vegetarian recipe (added gelatin now) so we haven't gotten them any longer, and I won't get the others unless they're on sale.  I'd love to do homemade ones.

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Old 07-18-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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I use the Norpro ones, and really love them. I got them on Amazon. Here is the link.
 


 

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