My friends at the American Dairy Association Mideast asked me create a dairy inspired lunchbox recipe that will help get your kiddos off to a healthy start at lunch time!
Ah yes the kids are back in school. It’s day two here and I’ve already got a case of the lunchbox blues. This is not for lack of trying to make my kids lunches exciting. Last year my third child actually ate a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich every single day. I think he had a vendetta against my culinary creativeness! So when the ADA Mideast asked me to think outside the box with moo and improved lunch ideas I said bring it on! I am up for the challenge. Getting my kids to eat something different in their lunchbox, while packing in a serving or two of the recommended daily amount of dairy, would be no small task!
Why is it so important to make sure your children have dairy at lunch?
-Dairy foods are a tasty, convenient and cost-effective way to power up with protein! On average, one serving of milk, cheese or yogurt provides eight grams of high quality protein.
- Experts recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods everyday. So if you can get one in at breakfast and another at lunch you are over half way there!
- Milk is the No.1 food source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium in children’s diets.
-Chocolate milk is the most popular milk choice in schools. Studies show that children who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs; do not consume more added sugar, fat or calories; and are not heavier than non-milk drinkers. So if the only way your kiddos will drink milk is with chocolate syrup or ovaltine stirred in I say let them have it!!
With some input from my kids I decided to create two sandwich spreads with low-fat cream cheese. The first spread is a sweet spread using 1/3 less fat cream cheese, all natural creamy peanut butter, and honey.
The recipe is below and the possibilities for using this spread are endless! I used flat bread and spread the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread in a thin layer across the whole piece, then at one end I lined up my kids favorite fruits, starting at the end with the fruit, I rolled the sandwich up and gave it a firm press when it was all rolled together and then I cut it in half or you could also cut it into 1 inch pinwheels.
Fruit is not the only ingredients you can can roll up in this wrap. Feel free to get creative!! A few other ideas would be granola, or nuts. You could also do a combo of fruit and granola or nuts. You can also make this with sandwich bread, you don’t need to buy any special flat bread to make a delicious rolled up creation for your kiddos lunchbox.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Sandwich Spread
makes 1 1/2 cups
1 brick Low-fat Cream Cheese (8 ounces)
1/2 cup All-natural Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons Honey
Place ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip until smooth and completely combined, take the time to scrap the bowl at least once and then blend on high-speed again. Store cream cheese peanut butter spread in an air tight container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Sandwich and Wrap ideas:
~This spread can be used on bread, wraps, bagels, used as a dip for fruit or pretzels.
~When using on flat bread spread a thin layer of the cream cheese spread to all the edges place your fruit, granola, or nuts (or whatever you like!) on one half of the wrap, start rolling the wrap tightly from the side with the extras on it, when you get to the end give it a firm press to seal the edge, cut in half or into 1 inch pinwheels. Store in a small container or a sandwich bag for your #dairyfuel lunch enjoyment!
Next up a savory choice.
Now this is for my first born who unlike his brother with his sweeter lunchbox choice takes a turkey and cheese on whole wheat to school every gol dern day!
This roll-up is so easy to throw together you barely need to open your eyes to do it…or better yet make them up the night before and Voila! you can sleep in an extra few minutes in the morning! Spread a thin layer of Chive Cream Cheese Spread over your flat bread, sprinkle half of it with grated cheese, lay a slice of ham or turkey on one half, start rolling from the side with the cheese and meat, roll tightly and give a firm press when it’s all rolled up to seal the deal! Cut in half or into 1 inch pinwheels.
Chive Cream Cheese Sandwich Spread
makes 1 cup
1 brick of Low-fat Cream Cheese (8 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh chopped Chives
1/2 teaspoon Seasoning Salt (I prefer Morton’s Natures Seasonings)
Place ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip until smooth and completely combined, take the time to scrape the bowl at least once and then blend on high speed again. Store chive cream cheese spread in an air tight container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Sandwich and Wrap ideas:
~This spread can be used on bread, wraps, bagels, used as a dip for vegetables or pretzels.
~When using on flat bread spread a thin layer of the cream cheese spread all the way to the edges place your cheese, meat, or vegetables (red bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, spinach, celery) on one half of the wrap, start rolling the wrap tightly from the side with the extras on it when you get to the end give it a firm press to seal the edge, cut in half or into 1 inch pinwheels. Store in a small container or a sandwich bag for your #dairyfuel lunch enjoyment!
Getting our kiddos the proper nutrition everyday is no small task in this world of premade and packaged food, but making sure they get in their 3 recommended servings of dairy foods every day can be easy if you “think out of the box” the lunchbox that is!!
Maybe you’ve packed this lunch for your non sandwich/wrap loving kiddos, but if not cereal with milk is a healthy way to serve up dairy in your their lunchbox and help them fuel up for an afternoon of learning!
Thanks for joining me today! I would love to hear your about your creative ways of packing your lunchbox with aa well-balanced meal.
I would be over the MOOn if you would join me for the Back-to-School #DairyFuel Twitter Party on Sept 11, 9-10p.m. The American Dairy Association Mideast (@ADAMideast) will be hosting! So join us to celebrate a legen-DARY upcoming school year! Share your favorite weekday recipes, healthy eating tips and suggestions for staying active and discover moo-volus new ideas for fueling up for back to school.
I hope to see MOO there!