Beyond the PB&J: Almond-Powered School Lunch Ideas to Fuel Young Minds
Posted on : September 15th, 2023
Providing nutritious and delicious lunch and snack ideas for your kids can feel daunting. As a parent, you want your children to get the right nutrients to fuel their bodies and minds throughout the school day. One fantastic option to consider is incorporating Maisie Jane’s almonds and almond butter into their school lunches. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of almonds and almond butter, as well as provide you with some creative and easy-to-make recipes to make school-lunch planning easy.
Tips for Planning School Lunches
Before we dive into the exciting world of almond-based recipes, let’s discuss some essential tips for planning school lunches that are not only nutritious but also appealing to your kids:
- Variety is Key: Aim to include a variety of food groups in your child’s lunchbox. Incorporate whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to ensure a balanced meal.
- Involve Your Kids: Getting your kids involved in meal planning can make them more excited about their lunches. Let them help choose ingredients and consider their preferences when planning the week’s menu.
- Prep Ahead: Mornings can be hectic, so prepare as much as you can the weekend or night before. Wash and chop fruits and vegetables, portion out snacks, and assemble sandwiches to save time in the morning.
- Pack for Success: Invest in quality lunch containers that keep food fresh and prevent leaks. Bento-style containers are great for creating visually appealing and organized lunches.
- Include Almonds and Almond Butter: Maisie Jane’s almonds and almond butter are excellent additions to school lunches and snacks. They provide a satisfying crunch and a dose of healthy fats, protein, and nutrients.
Now that we’ve covered some tips for planning school lunches let’s move on to exploring the world of almond-based recipes that will make your child’s lunchbox the envy of the cafeteria!
The Nutritional Powerhouse: Almonds and Almond Butter
Almonds are packed with essential nutrients that make them an excellent choice for growing children. They are a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Here are some key nutritional benefits of almonds:
- Protein: Protein is essential for the growth and repair of cells. Almonds provide a plant-based protein source that can help keep your child energized and satisfied.
- Healthy Fats: Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats that support brain development and overall health.
- Fiber: Fiber aids in digestion and helps maintain steady energy levels. Almonds contain dietary fiber that can keep your child feeling full and focused throughout the day.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, while magnesium and calcium are essential for strong bones and muscles.
- Antioxidants: Almonds are loaded with antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Almond butter, a creamy spread made from ground almonds, offers the same nutritional benefits as whole almonds, making it a versatile ingredient for a variety of recipes.
Creative and Nutritious Almond-Centric Recipes
1. Almond Butter and Banana Roll-Ups
- Spread a generous layer of almond butter on a whole-grain tortilla.
- Place a peeled ripe banana at one end of the tortilla.
- Roll up the tortilla, securing the banana and almond butter inside.
- Slice the roll-up into bite-sized pieces for a fun and nutritious finger food.
2. Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Dip each chicken tender into the egg wash, ensuring it’s coated evenly.
- Roll the chicken tender in the crushed almond breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere.
- Place the coated chicken tenders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the almond crust is golden brown.
3. Almond and Veggie Snack Box
- Wash and cut the vegetables into snackable pieces.
- Combine the vegetables with Tamari Almonds in a snack box.
- Add a small portion of Cinnamon Vanilla Almonds for a delightful sweet and crunchy element.
- Seal the snack box and pack it in your child’s lunch bag.
4. Almond and Yogurt Parfait
- In a glass or a jar, layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries.
- Sprinkle a layer of almonds on top of the berries.
- Repeat the layers until the glass is filled.
- Drizzle a bit of honey over the top for added sweetness.
5. Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwich with a Twist
- Spread a layer of crunchy almond butter on one slice of whole-grain bread.
- Spread a layer of fruit jam or jelly on the other slice.
- Place slices of fresh fruit on one side of the bread (e.g., strawberry slices).
- Press the slices together to create a delicious almond butter and jelly sandwich with a fruity twist.
6. Almond Energy Bites
- In a mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, almond butter, honey, mini chocolate chips, and chia seeds.
- Mix well until the ingredients are evenly combined and sticky.
- Take small portions of the mixture and roll them into bite-sized balls.
- Place the energy bites on a tray lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set.
7. Almond Butter Apple “Cookies”
- Apples, cored and sliced into rounds
- Maisie Jane’s Almond Butter
- Toppings: Mini chocolate chips, granola, shredded coconut, raisins, sprinkles, etc.
- Spread a thin layer of almond butter on each apple slice.
- Sprinkle your choice of toppings over the almond butter.
- Press another apple slice on top to create a “cookie” sandwich.
8. Almond Rice Cakes
- Spread a generous layer of smooth almond butter on a rice cake.
- Top with sliced bananas or your choice of fruits.
- Drizzle a small amount of honey over the top for natural sweetness.
With these additional almond-based recipes, you’ll have even more options to create delicious and nutritious meals and snacks for your kids. These recipes showcase the versatility of almonds and almond butter in adding flavor, texture, and essential nutrients to your child’s school lunches. Remember to consider your child’s preferences and any potential allergies when preparing these recipes.
Incorporating Maisie Jane’s almonds and almond butter into your child’s meals not only enhances the nutritional content but also introduces a delightful variety of flavors and textures. From almond-crusted chicken tenders to almond energy bites, there are endless possibilities to explore. By following our tips for planning school lunches and incorporating these creative almond-based recipes, you can ensure that your child enjoys a nourishing and satisfying school experience, one delicious bite at a time.
Recipe: Balanced Back-to-School Bento Box
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A balanced bento box is designed to provide a well-rounded and nutritious meal that includes a variety of essential nutrients to fuel the body and mind. When creating a balanced bento box, aim to include a mix of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Choose from any of the recipes above and customize by choosing one item from each category below.
Here’s a breakdown of what a balanced bento box should typically have:
- Whole grain bread, tortilla, or pasta
- Fresh fruit like berries, apple slices or grapes
- Lean meats like grilled chick, turkey, or fish
- Dairy or daily alternatives like Greek yogurt or cheese
- Carrot sticks, bell pepper slices, cucumber rounds
- Cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, broccoli florets
Get creative! You can customize this bento box idea based on your child’s preferences and any dietary restrictions they may have. Whether they’re a fan of savory dishes or have a sweet tooth, almond-infused recipes are sure to delight their tastebuds and fuel their learning!