Tag Archives: snacks

Gluten Free School Lunches for Kids

My Kids on the First Day of School

I’m trying to reduce the amount of wheat I send in my kids’ lunches. While I’ve always tried to include milk and a vegetable, reducing the wheat is even more of a challenge, because it affects the easy sandwich. While I can use gluten free bread, I’m also trying to be a bit more creative and up the protein quotient.

Here are the parameters I set when packing school lunches:

  • No peanuts (although my kids aren’t allergic, there are kids in their school with life-threatening allergies to peanuts and I don’t believe that peanuts have any place in schools where this is the case.)
  • Must include milk
  • Must include a vegetable and a fruit
  • Must include a protein
  • Something sweet is nice to end the meal with

I have plastic sandwich boxes for each of the kids (no waste) and last year I purchased silicon cupcake cups by Wilton that fit inside the sandwich boxes and serve as flexible partitions for various foods.  I also have a few convenience products for the sweet/fruit component of my kids’ lunches, but they are all organic and pure.

Here are some of the lunches I’ve sent with my kids.

French Toast Sticks (made with Udi’s Gluten Free bread) and Homemade Breakfast Sausage (just meat and spices)

Served with 100% maple syrup for dipping, organic apple slices, organic yogurt, organic fruit & veggie shredz, and organic milk.

Another Variation…Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffle Sticks with Mixed Dried Fruit (no sugar added)/Nuts and Homemade Sausage

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (made with almond flour and coconut oil)

Served with organic ketchup for dipping, organic carrots and cherry tomatoes, organic apple slices, yogurt (not organic this time…my mother in law bought it), dark chocolate square, and organic milk.

Plain Organic Unsalted Brown Rice Cake with Sunbutter for Spreading

Served with an organic apple, organic yogurt, seed/dried fruit mix, and organic milk.

Brown Rice Cake and Cheese

Served with organic carrot sticks, baby sweet pepper, Laughing cow cheese for spreading on the rice cake, string cheese, cashew and freeze-dried strawberry mix, organic fruit and veggie smoothie, and organic milk.

Organic Brown Rice Cake (Tamari with Seaweed Flavor)…can you tell my kids like rice cakes?…with Turkey Pepperoni and Cheese

Served with dill pickle (from the farmer’s market), cheese (from the farmer’s market), Laughing cow cheese for spreading, organic fruit and veggie smoothie, dark chocolate square and organic milk.

Gluten Free Pizza Bagel (made on Udi’s Bagels)

Served with turkey pepperoni, organic carrots, organic fruit and veggie smoothie, homemade fruit sweetened brownie (adapted from this recipe), and organic milk.

When All Else Fails…GoPicnic

Sometimes I don’t have time to make lunch. And my kids think these GoPicnic gluten free lunch boxes are a real treat. They only get them for special occasions (they’re $4 a pop). I also give them a choice between buying pizza lunch at school on Fridays or a GoPicnic box. They choose this about 50% of the time. These are their favorite flavors:

Now obviously some of these lunches (but not all!) require some forethought. I tend to cook up a large batch of pumpkin waffles or french toast and chicken nuggets on the weekend, and freeze some for lunches for the week. Pizza bagels can be made in the toaster oven in the morning.

What do you send with your kids for lunch?

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6 Halloween Candy Alternatives That Aren’t Lame

It’s the beginning of October. That means my kids are eagerly making their plans for the sugarfest more commonly known as Halloween. I live on a street that sees a LOT of kids on the 31st of October, and most houses are well stocked.

When the kids come home with their loot, we carefully ration it out so that they  don’t overload in a couple of days, but rather make it last for months. But even so, there’s a part of me (the part that doesn’t buy candy for my kids) that doesn’t really want to hand out candy. I don’t want it in my house, and the kids in the neighborhood are going to get more than enough of it.

But I still want to participate in the fun, and I also don’t want my kids to have to deal with the reputation of being the house that hands out toothbrushes. So here are some suggestions for things you can hand out on Halloween that aren’t candy, but also aren’t lame, so your kids can show their faces in school the next day.

  • Helium balloons. I still remember the one house we always tried to hit in our neighborhood on Halloween when I was a kid. They rented a big helium tank and handed out black and orange helium-filled balloons. A glance into their house showed that they had balloons floating all over their living room. And you could tell every kid that had been there because they all had their balloon while they were trick or treating in the rest of the neighborhood. What a fun idea!
  • Glow novelties. This is one I’ve done a few times, and it’s always a hit with the little kids, as well as the teenagers! I buy a bulk pack of glow necklaces, bracelets, or whatever I can find, and crack them so they glow right before trick or treating begins. I’ve even seen glow in the dark vampire fangs! It’s especially nice at night, and gives a little more safety to kids as they wander the streets after dark.
  • Organic fruit shreds. Now I don’t mean organic sugar sweetened gummies. But the ones that are basically organic fruit puree and nothing else added rank right up there with handing out gummy bears, in my opinion. I like this kind.
  • Bubbles. Now this may go over better with little kids than big kids. But those little bottles of bubbles (same size they use at weddings) can be tons of fun.
  • Coins. There’s one house I know of where they save up their loose change all year, and then hand it out at Halloween. Now this isn’t one you can use for self-serve. But if you’re willing to dole it out to each goblin at your door, this is always a good one. And if nothing else, you’re prepared for the kids that trick or treat for UNICEF.
  • Individual sized microwave popcorn. Now I’m a little bit torn on this one, because I’m not super fond of all the chemicals in microwave popcorn, not to mention the fact that corn in the US is genetically modified. But if you’re trying to avoid sugar, we’ve done this in the past and it’s been well-received.

What do you hand out at Halloween? Do you have additional suggestions? Please share them in the comments below!

Nutty Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (Grain-free, Gluten-free, Fruit-sweetened)

Occasionally I like to have a treat waiting for my kids when they get off the school bus. I don’t think there’s much more inviting than walking into the house after a long day and smelling fresh-baked cookies coming out of the oven.

But with this new eating plan, I’ve been trying to cut back on the wheat and sugar for them, as well as me. That makes cookie baking a bit more challenging.

I’ve been working on this cookie recipe for a while. At first, they were too soft…almost like cake. But I finally perfected it. They’re not TOO sweet, have a nice crunch, and are absolutely delicious. I hope your kids enjoy them as much as mine do!

Nutty Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 pitted dates
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) organic butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup almond butter (or nut butter of your choice), room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used raw almonds)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Here’s What To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes or until soft.
  4. In a blender, combined drained dates, banana, egg, melted butter and vanilla until dates are completely pureed.
  5. In a large bowl, combine almond butter and date mixture until completely combined.
  6. In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, salt and baking soda. Add to almond butter mixture in large bowl and stir until combined.
  7. Mix in chopped nuts and chocolate chips.
  8. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart (these will not spread much while baking.)
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
  10. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then remove from baking sheet.
  11. Enjoy!

I hope you and your family enjoy these cookies as much as we do!

Healthy Chocolate Truffles (Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free)

You know how sometimes you just need some chocolate?

And not that virtuous square of dark chocolate. I mean some creamy, delicious chocolate that rolls around in your mouth and tastes like heaven? If you know what I’m talking about, then this post is for you.

One of the important things with a lifestyle change like giving up wheat and refined sugar is having some go-to snacks stashed away for emergencies. I keep a container of raw mixed nuts and seeds with freeze-dried strawberries that I mix up available for snacking when I’m starving (it ALWAYS fills me.)

But when I need something a bit more decadent, like when I’m enjoying a glass of red wine before bed in the evening, I reach for these babies. These are my healthy creamy chocolate truffles, and there’s not a drop of refined sugar in them. Instead, they’re sweetened by pitted dates, and pack a nutritional punch of protein and antioxidants. Yummy AND good for you? You bet!

I roll them in coconut, but you can use more cacao powder, nuts, or whatever you desire. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Healthy Chocolate Truffles (Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free)

Ingredients

  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Here’s What To Do:

  1. In your blender or food processor, combine dates, cacao powder, almond butter and coconut oil on low speed until dates are fully pulverized and the mixture is creamy.
  2. Place coconut in a small bowl.
  3. Scoop chocolate mixture out by teaspoonfuls and roll in coconut to form truffles.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
  5. Scoop out any remaining chocolate truffle mixture with your spatula and lick until the blender is clean! 🙂 (Watch your fingers!)

Would love to hear how you like these! 

What wheat and refined sugar-free snacks do you keep on hand?