Out here in the flip-slop wearin’ wild West we’re on week 4 of this new adventure called “back to school” and I think I might be getting the hang of it.
I mean, the kids are (mostly) clean and dressed everyday. And we’ve sorta got a handle on homework. And we know what happens if the kids go to bed late. (Not pretty folks, not pretty at all.)
But I’m still slightly bewildered with lunches!
Breakfast is easy. They wake up, they’re hungry, they’ll eat anything I give them.
Lunch though. That’s a different story.
Mom’s not there to say “if you don’t finish lunch, you can’t go outside to play.” In fact, they’re very likely encouraged by their classmates to “hurry up and finish so we can play!”, which sounds similar, but yields VERY different results.
Mom says it = lunch is eaten AND THEN child goes to play
Classmates say it = child goes to play FIRST AND leaves half of the lunch untouched
It’s not that the kids don’t like what’s packed. I’m using my own lunch-packing tips and they’re giving me input. Each lunch gets two thumbs up before they leave for school.
So I think the kids are kinda bored with lunch… which makes my latest back-to-school conundrum making sure lunches are exciting enough to keep the attention of the child… while still delicious (because you can’t sacrifice taste), healthy (or nutrition) and frugal (or cost) and easy (because mama ain’t got time for complicated school lunches).
So with some inspiration from Safeway’s O Organics line of foods, I came up with the end-all of be-all in terms of super-cool kids lunches:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Parfait.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Parfait
I mean, have you ever met a kid that didn’t like peanut butter and jelly? I haven’t. But if I had, I have no doubt they’d love peanut butter and jelly granola parfaits. And here’s why you’ll love them too:
- 5-ingredient homemade peanut butter granola ready in 30 minutes
- 1-ingredient jelly
- it makes eating yogurt a whole lot more fun (and they get awesome probiotics to fight against the barrage of germs that they encounter on a daily basis)
Plus it’s kid-friendly, exciting to eat and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Check, check, check!
So here’s how it works.
First you make the peanut butter granola. Which is incredibly addicting, so heads up if you’re a snack-while-you-bake mom because you should go ahead and make a double batch from the get go. When it’s done, store it in a container with a lid in the pantry for up to a week.
While that’s baking, chop up some fresh seasonal fruit. I used strawberries because they won’t be around much longer (and I’m eyeing this strawberry lemonade fruit leather), but you can use grapes, blueberries, blackberries… anything you want. Apples would be fun, and then you could make a cinnamon dipping sauce too for cinnamon apple flavored!
Oh man, I’m getting ahead of my hungry self here. Back to the fruit – when you’ve got plenty chopped up, store it in a container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Lastly, when you’re packing lunches, put 1/2 cup of yogurt in a container that holds at least 8 ounces. Grab a few handfuls of peanut butter granola and toss them into their container. Finally, measure 1/2 cup or so of fresh fruit into another, separate container. (I use these stainless steel nesting containers and they’re a perfect fit.)
When it’s time for lunch, the kids can:
- mix it all up together into the yogurt
- eat it all separately
- mix/match what they want together and separately
So really, it works for however they want to eat it (which is great for texture-sensitive kids). And they’re getting 100% homemade, healthy foods that are FUN!
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup fresh seasonal fruit, diced into ½" pieces
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 275.
- Combine peanut butter and honey in a large bowl. Add oats, coconut oil and salt and mix well, using your hands if necessary. The granola will be clumpy. Feel free to make more clumps if you prefer granola with clusters.
- Place granola onto a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes, turning gently with a spatula halfway through.
- Allow granola to cool thoroughly before storing in a container.
- Layer Greek yogurt, granola and fresh fruit in a bowl or glass, or store in separate containers for a school lunch.
- Enjoy your peanut butter and jelly granola parfait!
Additional Recipe Tips
Although making your own Greek yogurt is preferred, I know many of you are working jobs that don’t grant extra time or energy to do that. And I know that choosing organic items over conventional items is difficult in the first place, and even more where the budget and the kids are concerned. If you live near an Albertsons or a Safeway, I encourage you to check out their line of O Organics foods. They have over 400+ items and when I was walking through the store last week, I noticed that many cost less than their conventional counterparts!
If you want peanut butter and jelly granola with more clusters, try to leave the clusters in place when you place the granola on the baking sheet. You can even pinch pieces of the granola together, to form little balls if you’d like. Just try not to make them too big otherwise they’ll be chewy on the inside instead of crunchy.
Where do you stand on peanut butter and jelly? Love it? Hate it? Share your thoughts in the comments!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of O Organics. The opinions and text are all mine.