The kids went back to school today! Today, then, officially marks my first day back in full-time-ish work – eek. We had the usual back-to-school fun of haircuts, new shoes, snack and lunch planning etc etc about a month before most other schools go back because we’re in a year-round school with a more balanced 11 month calendar Aug-Jun.

I read an article a couple years ago about packed lunch boxes not adequately keeping food cool until lunchtime. My favourite time-saving and food-keeping tip is to make snacks and lunch items ahead of time and freeze them. I don’t freeze sandwiches like the article suggests (frozen ham sounds delightfully unappealing), but I do make the sandwiches each morning out of frozen bread to help keep them cool. Another great tip is to freeze juice boxes and use them as ice packs (I never do this because of the sticky mess they can make, but maybe your kids can handle a juice box and straw better than mine!)

Here are some of my go-to recipes of things you can make ahead of time, pop into the lunch box and they are defrosted by snack/lunch time…

Spelt Crust Pizza Buns
We are huge pizza fans in this household, and typically make our own as my husband has a dairy “fussiness” and stays away from cheese. My son ate these pizza roll-ups every second day for the first few months of school last year. I suggest going easy on the salt as I found the crust a bit salty. I changed up the toppings and often used pizza or tomato sauce to make them even more pizza like.

Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins
Since finding massive bags of spelt flour at Costco, I went all out on spelt recipe testing and this one was a big keeper. I modified it a bit to make it nut free (substituting milk for the almond milk and leaving out the walnuts).

Homemade Bear Paw Cookies
The number one requested snack in our household! Also, super simple to make and the kids love to help out. Our entire last batch was rolled and shaped by the kids which meant an amusing variety of shapes and sizes. They seem to love making the little paw indents, although I usually don’t bother and like to get them in the oven pronto so we can eat some while the choc chips are still gooey. Yummo!

Spelt Banana Bread

Spelt Banana Bread fresh from the oven
Spelt Banana Bread fresh from the oven

My newest find – mainly because I had 4 over-ripe bananas and needed a recipe pronto. The bonus was that I happened to have all the other ingredients on hand. The kids aren’t big banana fans so I added chocolate chips to sweeten the deal. Big thumbs up for this one so far.

Other healthy-ish snack ideas:

  • Fruit/Veg Sticks (with dip if you like)
  • Fruit cups/apple sauce (don’t forget the spoon/fork!)
  • Crackers and Cheese
  • Pretzles
  • Cereal
  • Dried Fruit
  • Pepperoni sticks
  • Fruit snacks/leather (search for a homemade recipe if feeling daring)
  • Sushi
  • Popcorn
Today's lunch/snack ready to go
Today’s lunch/snack ready to go

Please share your go-to lunch and snack tips and recipes!