Lunch box treats
Packing lunch boxes can be a frustrating part of the kids going back to school. Am I alone in this? While my kids are now home schooled, there are occasions that we do pack lunches. I’ve also spent years packing school lunches when my kids were still going to a traditional school. It’s still important to me that their lunch boxes contain a fun treat to brighten their day.
Living a gluten-free lifestyle can make choosing a fun treat a bit difficult at times. Let’s face it, many gluten-free cookies may work well when picked up off of a plate to be enjoyed right there, but to pack them in a lunch box often results in a crumbled mess. How sad is it to open your lunch box, anticipating that tasty treat, only to find a package of crumbs. Not very inviting, or anything to look forward to really.
While there are many gluten-free prepackaged snacks available, many of them are costly and in today’s economy every dollar counts. Spending an hour on Saturday baking up a batch of cookies is not that hard and making a bar cookie is even faster. Most any cookie recipe can be made into a bar cookie, or how about making some brownies. Everyone loves a brownie, don’t they?
Muffins more your style? Can’t get easier than that! Most muffins will pack nicely and can be stored in the freezer to keep them fresh for a week of tasty lunch treats. Packaging the muffins individually in zip top sandwich bags and then put them all into a gallon zip top freezer bag or two. You’ll have a tasty treat on hand for packing in those lunch boxes.
Looking for something a bit more healthy? Why not make up your own trail mix. My kids love it when they see the trail mix jar coming out. So many tasty options to put into your own trail mix. So many of the commercial varieties out there have added gluten and extras added to them that you may not want. I buy dried fruit in bulk packages, take out my kitchen scissors and a big bowl and start cutting bite sized pieces of our favorite ones. Pineapple, apple, throw in a few hand fulls of dried cranberries, raisins, peanuts (if they are not an issue), you could add tree nuts of any kind if they are not a problem, a few chocolate chips. There is really not much that can’t be thrown into that bowl. If you family likes it, add it! One word of warning, however, make a large batch because it won’t last long.
Do you remember those yummy graham cracker and frosting sandwiches your mom used to make? What a tasty treat those were! My kids absolutely love them. Most specialty food stores and even some grocery stores carry gluten-free graham crackers. There are a couple of varieties that are rather good. Making your own is super easy if the price of the store bought ones turns you off. Homemade graham crackers are as close to the originals we all grew up with as any I’ve had. If you are looking for something more nutritious than frosting to put between your graham crackers, try a nut butter or cream cheese sweetened with honey.
Another tasty treat for your kids lunch boxes is pumpkin dip. Send it in one of those nifty small reusable plastic containers with a side of ginger snap molasses cookies. This dip is also really good with slices of apple or graham crackers. Your kids will love it! In my family, we love this on pancakes, waffles and French toast, by the way. Super tasty!
Don’t let packing a school lunch for your kids scare you, or frustrate you. Have fun with it. Gluten-free does not mean fun free, taste free or treat free. Find what your kids love and take a few minutes to bring a smile to their faces during their day at school. Just a little something that shows them that they are on your mind, even while they are at school. Make the transition to going back to school a bit brighter with a special treat in their lunch box. Get creative and have fun with it!