Top 8 School Lunch Tips from Weelicious

weelicious lunch book

I just got a new cookbook in the mail that I know you guys will LOVE. It’s by my friend Catherine at Weelicious and it’s all about packing school lunches! Complete with beautiful visuals (showcasing fruits, veggies, pantry staples and more), lunch theme ideas, picky eater strategies, a food allergy guide, and 160 beautifully photographed recipes – it’s safe to say she’s thought of everything. This new Weelicious Lunches book officially goes on sale next week (already available for preorder on Amazon) so in the meantime I’ve asked Catherine to share her top 8 school lunch tips with us below. Also, in case you missed it over the summer be sure to check out her “Toddler Bites” guest post on our site as well.

Top 8 School Lunch Tips from Weelicious

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Real Food Tips: School Lunch FAQs (the answers to all your questions!)

PB Alternatives

When I post my daughters’ “real food” school lunch pictures on Facebook it often provokes a lot of questions. So here – all in one place – are some answers for ya! Now let’s just hope we can get all those with the questions to actually read this post :) If I left out any of the more common ones please let me know in the comments below…I know some of you are just as familiar with these daily school lunch questions as I am!

1) Where do you get those snazzy divided lunch containers? And what does the lunch look like after being tossed all around on the way to school? Don’t the yogurt and applesauce leak into the other compartments?

We actually own quite a few different lunch containers, but I do find myself reaching for our BPA-free Ziplock divided containers most often. And there are two main reasons why – First, each compartment is truly leak-proof therefore liquids will stay put no matter how much the box is tossed around on the way to school, and secondly, they are lightweight and easy to wash and open (okay, I guess that is technically 3 more reasons – but we really like these). Plus at the uber reasonable cost of $5+ for 2 containers they are a great deal!

The divided lunch containers can be purchased at…
– Target (stores only)
– Walmart (online and in stores)

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Camp Junk Food

camp

Okay, so I know the title here is rather harsh. Let’s be honest – I totally expected my 8-year-old daughter to eat junk food while away at her very first overnight camp last week. Both of my children (and my husband for that matter) have what I call a “stomach of steel.” They can eat and do just about anything with no ill effects whatsoever, so I knew there would be no immediate consequences (like a food sensitivity) for her to contend with. But just because one may feel fine after immediately eating highly processed junk food doesn’t mean it isn’t doing any damage. Just like you might feel fine while getting an x-ray, that doesn’t mean you aren’t being exposed to radiation because – believe me – it’s there.

So even though my daughter has no specific food-induced medical conditions to worry about, we still had a friendly little chat before she embarked upon her very first week away from home without a parent or grandparent by her side. As I’ve shared before, I absolutely do NOT want my two young girls to ever “worry” about food (or anything for that matter). But that doesn’t mean I won’t educate them along the way when it’s appropriate (just as I will with many other important topics in life). So I told her that there would be junk food at camp and eating it was totally fine, BUT my advice to her was to eat a lot of what she knew was good (i.e. for sure a whole food – straight from the earth) and just a little bit of what wasn’t. And what did she do in my absence? Eat Froot Loops for breakfast daily – “with pineapple on the side!”. As I mentioned she is a completely typical 8-year-old so this is what happened when she was left to her own devices :) I guess I should be thankful for the serving of fruit? And truth be told – I was thankful for that and told her so. I was sure to reinforce the positive and not at all harp on any of the “negatives” of the week.

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Special Deal: Deliciously Organic Cookbook and Meal Plans!

Deliciously Organic Meal Plans

As you gear up for new school schedules, it’s a great time to get organized in the real food department as well. So we have some fun offers for you today from my friend – the very talented Carrie Vitt with Deliciously Organic! She’s offering our readers two very special deals – one is on her beautiful cookbook (that uses only unprocessed ingredients) combined with 6 months of meal plans, the other is on her weeknight “Real Food, Real Fast” meal plan combined with some fall recipes and holiday menus. The details on the two different packages are below…

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How to Make and Freeze Homemade “Uncrustables” (plus 3 uses for the crust!)

seal the uncrustable

Let’s face it – even if your kids don’t mind the “crust” of the bread…eating a sandwich without the crust is sometimes just a little more fun. My kids do currently eat the crust at our house so homemade “Uncrustables” are not something I plan on doing every day, but will I do it on occasion just to switch things up? Absolutely. One complaint from blog readers about making these sandwiches without the crust though is that they hate to waste food. So in addition to showing you how to make [and freeze] your own homemade “Uncrustables” I’ve got some solutions for those bread ends as well.

First of all, why make your own “Uncrustables?” Three main reasons…

1) You can control the ingredients (see “Exhibit A” below).
2) It (can be) cheaper
3) I am not going to lie…they are NICE to have on hand on those nights (or mornings) when you have no clue what to pack for school lunch! Or for when you just don’t have any fresh bread in the house. It happens to the best of us.

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Real Food Tips: 10 Recipes to Freeze For School Lunches (which makes packing a breeze!)

10 Recipes to Make Ahead and Freeze for School Lunches (from 100 Days of Real Food) #schoolunches #realfood

If you want to send your child off to school with wholesome, “real food” lunches this year, planning ahead is key! I know it’s tempting to just grab and go with those little prepackaged bags of cheese crackers and tubes of flavored yogurt, but giving your child nutritious foods throughout the school day can help them stay alert and do their best.

Now if I had to wake up each morning and make homemade “real food” school lunch recipes from scratch, well…that would just never happen! So instead I make lunch items when it is convenient for me and freeze them. I think it’s safe to say freezing foods in advance is my number one school lunch “trick” that makes the lunches I pack even possible. And my number two school lunch trick is to always pack – or at least start packing lunch – the night before!

So before we dive right into the list of things you should make and freeze right now at the beginning of the school year, here are a few freezing tips…

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What is Baby Led Weaning?

baby in high chair

Recently the term “Baby Led Weaning” (BLW) was introduced to us here at 100 Days of Real Food, a term that, believe it or not, none of us had heard of before. Our small team collectively has 11 kids (4 of which are mine) and without a doubt, we are tuned into lots and lots of real food-related information. Yet none of us knew about or (thought we) had personally used Baby Led Weaning with our own children. We were encouraged by some readers to take a look into the philosophy… and so we did. Interested in learning about this method – and how it might help introduce baby to real food – we did a little research on the subject so that others, like us, who may not know the term or ideals, can become informed.

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Recipe: Simple Yogurt Crunch

Simple Yogurt Crunch

It’s no secret that I love to start my day with a bowl of homemade granola cereal, but with numerous ingredients involved and a whopping 75 minutes to bake the reality is this just isn’t a breakfast I always have on hand. Especially with all the traveling we’ve been doing this summer, I’ve had to get creative with quick and easy alternatives when away from home. So I am excited to share my second favorite breakfast with you today…Simple Yogurt Crunch! This is such an easy dish and the heartiness of the nuts will keep you feeling full all the way until lunchtime (unlike most breakfast cereals, which are often made from refined grains that are not filling).

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Recipe: Asian Coleslaw (with Radish MiniSticks!)

asian coleslaw with radish ministicks

Like most people who often cook from scratch, I am just used to peeling and chopping all my own vegetables, making my own dough, and – not to be overlooked – doing lots of dishes! So when I recently decided I’d like to try making a “real food” coleslaw dish, I looked at the green and purple cabbages in the produce section of the supermarket and thought 2 heads of cabbage was an awful lot to buy (and chop up) for one small colorful dish of coleslaw. I asked the produce manager if he could cut the cabbages in half for me when he pointed me in the direction of pre-cut, bagged cabbages just for the purpose of making coleslaw – duh! I am so used to not being able to buy “convenience” food anymore that it didn’t even dawn on me to buy these ingredients pre-cut and ready to go. What a time saver (and a more appropriate amount of food)!

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