Lunch Ideas: Let's have some fun

Lunch. Everybody eats it. Somebody needs to make it.  Some of us enjoy it. Some of us really don't want to make lunch. Ever. Again. But, the reality is that we all need to eat to survive. Our kids surely need to eat to survive. But, we don't want our kids just surviving, right? We want them thriving on healthy, nutritious food. In an ideal world, right? Here are some ideas to make lunch more fun + more nutritious for your kids + you!

Kids food art

Strawberry Sunflower Plate

Ingredients: 5 strawberries, 1 banana, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 watermelon 

Directions: Wash and slice strawberries lengthwise. Slice banana, Rinse + dry shredded carrots. (I buy pre-shredded carrots, my kids like the texture of thin carrots the best). Slice watermelon lengthwise into thin pieces. Arrange banana slices into a circle in the center of the plate. Pile them as high + thick as you'd like. Arrange strawberries in a flower petal pattern surrounding the bananas. Overlap the layers of strawberries + continue with as many rows as you'd like. Arrange carrot slices in a stem shape, add loos pieces for grass + create two leaves by connecting two carrot slices together. Finally, use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the watermelon + place surrounding your flower. Get as creative as you'd like + add or subtract anything you see here.

Kids lunch allergy friendly

Fruit Cabobs

Ingredients: 1 small Watermelon + 3 Bananas

Directions: Slice bananas lengthwise + set on a plate. Slice watermelon down the center, then cut into slices, next cut into cubes. Place watermelon slices on a plate + set aside. Work together with your kids to create a pattern of pink, yellow, pink yellow on your cabob sticks Enjoy!

kids food art

Apple Slice Heart

Ingredients: 1 Apple or 1 bag pre-sliced apples

Directions: Wash + slice an apple, or open your bag of pre-sliced apples. Arrange in a heart shape on your table. You can arrange one + ask your child to create one of their own.

yogurt bowl kids lunch

Animal Dairy-Free Yogurt Bowl

Ingredients: Dairy-free yogurt + hemp seeds + blueberries: fresh or frozen.

Directions: Pour your yogurt into the bowl, sprinkle hemp seeds for a smile, add blueberries for eyes.

solar system food art

Fruit + Veggie Solar System

Ingredients: 1 lemon, 1 kiwi, 1 clementine, a handful of: green grapes, red grapes, blueberries, raspberries, cherry tomatoes. And, 1/4 cup heriloom pepper.

Directions: Print out a photo of the Solar System from the internet. Or, open a book with a photo of the Solar System. Next, slice the lemon into thin slices + halve the red + green grapes. Next, Peel the skin off the kiwi + cut into thin slices. Then, cut your clementine into thin slices + cut a sliver of the peel off to create Saturn's rings. Next, use a small circle cookie cutter to cut circle shapes out of the heirloom pepper. Wash + dry your blueberries + raspberries. Next, arrange your fruit into the order of the Solar System. 

Just like Dr. Seuss says in There's No Place Like Space: Mallory - Valerie - Emily Mickels - just - saved - up - nine hundred ninety-nine nickels! Sun: lemon - Mercury: green grape - Venus: cherry tomato - Earth: kiwi - Mars: purple grape - Jupiter: heirloom pepper - Saturn: clementine - Uranus: blueberry - Neptune: raspberry. 

kids rice cake lunch ideas

Rice Cake Friends

Ingredients: Small rice cakes (I used the Happy Family brand), blueberries, SunButter, grapes, apples, heirloom carrots, Enjoy Life mini chips chocolate chips.

Directions: Spread SunButter onto some of the rice cakes. Slice up carrots + apples. Create the fun faces with the above ingredients.

allergy friendly snack

SunButter Stick People

Ingredients: SunButter, celery + strawberries

Directions: Wash + cut celery stalks into equal sizes for arms + legs. Cut one long stalk for the body. Spread with SunButter. Place stick figure on plate. Wash strawberries + add for the head.

Melon food art

Melon Friend

Ingredients: Cantaloupe, kiwi + clementines.

Directions: Wash the kiwi, cantaloupe + clementines. Cut the skin off the kiwi, then slice. Cut the cantaloupe in half, then fourths. Cut out the seeds. Trim into smaller slices that look like a little smile. Peel the clementines. Place the fruit in the shape of a face on the plate.

garbage truck lunch

Edible Garbage Trucks

Ingredients: Apples, colby jack cheese (or-dairy-free cheese), celery, strawberries + blueberries.

Directions: Wash the fruit. Cut the cheese into squares. Cut the celery into small rectangles. Cut the top of the strawberries off + slice the rest. Cut the sides of the apples off, then cut into slices. Place the large apple slices on the plate with the cheese squares slightly overlapping in front. Place the celery rectangle on the cheese + the strawberry tops under the cheese + apple for tires. Add the small apple slice for the back hopper. Cut up additional fruits + cheese for "trash" to throw into the hopper before eating.

Bento box lunch

Dairy-Free Bento Box

Ingredients: 1 container dairy-free raspberry yogurt, 2 tbsp mini chips, 2 tbsp hemp seeds, 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup banana slices, 1/4 cup strawberry slices, 1/4 cup cucumber slices, 2 tbsp dairy-free cream cheese, 1 tsp dill, small lettuce pieces.

Directions: Dairy-Free Yogurt Bowl: Pour the dairy-free raspberry yogurt into your bento box. In a pattern, sprinkle sunflower seeds + mini chips + hemp seeds over the top. Create any pattern you'd love!

Fruit + Veggie Bento Box: Place the strawberry + banana slices in a pattern on one side of your bento box. Create sandwiches with your cucumber slices by spreading one slice with dairy-free cream cheese, then sprinkle with dill. top with a cucumber slice. Place a small piece of lettuce between your cucumber sandwiches. Enjoy!

Allergy friendly Lunch food art

Strawberry + Blueberry Patterned Plate

Ingredients: 1 cup fresh strawberries + 1/4 cup frozen blueberries. 

Directions: Wash strawberries. Cut the tops off of two strawberries + place in the center of the plate. Create a circle of frozen blueberries around the 2 large strawberries. Next, Cut the tops off of the remaining strawberries. Slice strawberries lengthwise. Then, cut the tops of the strawberries into a "V shape" to create a heart. Place in a circle around the plate. Enjoy!

What do you do to make lunch more enjoyable for you + your kids? Let me know in the comments.

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Fun & Easy food art for kids. Easy lunches. Toddler Snacks

Peanut Free Granola Bars: Free of the Top 8 Allergens

Who doesn't love granola bars? They are quick, easy + tasty.  They are kind of a staple for busy families, right? With allergies to peanut, tree nuts, sesame, soy + gluten, it's actually super difficult to find pre-packaged granola bars free of our allergens.  I've been making these homemade 15 minute granola bars for quite a while now + I thought I'd share with you!

gluten free granola bars

I love that these bars have only have 4 ingredients!  They are simple + healthy.  Plus, we almost always have all the ingredients needed on hand.  I love creating simple + healthy recipes that I know the kids love to eat.  Breck + Bowan love these bars.  Now, Bowan is a silly one + he sometimes picks the chocolate chips out before eating the rest.  Oh, two year olds they are silly + full of surprises + super messy, too.

5 ingredient granola bars

Peanut Free Granola Bars:

Ingredients:

2 Cups Oats or Granola

1 Cup SunButter Sunflower Butter

1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips

1/4 Cup Local Honey

I order + use Gerbs Original Seed + Honey Granola, it is free of the Top 11 allergens.  The facility is dedicated free of sesame, which can be hard to find.  Sesame-free is so great to find, as sesame is not a top 8 allergen in the US, so it doesn't have to be labeled like peanut.  Plus, this granola includes flax seeds, sunflower seeds + pumpkin seeds.  So, this granola helps to make this recipe easier as the seeds are already included! Also, oats don't inherently contain gluten, but they are generally harvested + processed in a way that contaminates them with gluten, Gerbs specifically processes the oats so they stay gluten free.  Like Gerbs, SunButter is also free of the top allergens, high in protein, folate + Omega 6 fatty acids.  I use Enjoy Life Foods Mini Chips chocolate chips.  Enjoy Life products are also free of the top allergens + the kids love the mini chips!  I try to get local honey into our diet when I can.  Local honey is thought to help reduce the severity of environmental allergies.  Bowan + I both have some high allergies to some trees + weeds out here in Colorado.  So, honey pollinated out in the Rocky Mountains is an important staple for us.  

Supplies:

Large Glass Bowl

Measuring Cups

Spoon

Cupcake Liners

Ziplock Bag

Directions:

Measure 1 cup SunButter + scoop it into a glass bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir.  Microwave for an additional 30 seconds if needed, to help it get very warm + creamy.  Measure 1/4 cup local honey + pour into bowl with SunButter.  Measure 2 cups oats or granola + pour into the glass bowl.  Mix all the ingredients together until the granola is evenly coated + covered.  Next, stir in the mini chocolate chips.  Now, scoop the granola into cupcake liners + let cool.  Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on the top of the granola if you'd like.  Let cool.

peanut free granola bars

I'm due with my third baby boy soon, so I recently made these to freeze for those hectic days to come.  With three boys under 5, I'm sure to be busy soon.  These freeze well in a ziplock bag.  Plus, they are already portioned in cupcake liners, so they are easy to take out one at a time.  It's also nice to have these on hand incase a birthday party or event comes up where there will be sweets, so I have something I can give Bowan.

10 minute granola bars

I made these quick 15 minute granola bars this past winter + brought them to a wedding.  My non-allergy friends even loved them.  I hope you do too!  Please let me know if you try this recipe out!

Cheers,

Lindsey Lee

4 ingredient granola bars

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee + Co.

Granola Recipe