The anchors asked us yesterday on live TV, “What is something you like to eat that’s more fun? Do you ever want things in your lunch that you see in other kids’ lunches?”
Of course my poor kids weren’t ready for the question, so after some silence I jumped in and mentioned homemade granola bars as a healthy, packable food they all love. We don’t really do “desserts” for school lunch, which is I’m sure what they thought of when she used the words “fun,” “sweet,” and “cheat and have anything in the world you want!”
Afterward my son said, “I was going to say that I really think all our food is delicious, but I thought of it right after it was too late!”
Be still my heart.
That boy. Eleven years old and he’s still melting my heart and making me proud like he did when he was a smiling little baby.
But it’s true though. Homemade food IS delicious, and we can have a lot of fun with it, too, even without having the stuff in other kids’ lunches.
I personally think it’s really fun when we can make our stuff look like what other kids bring, which is one reason I think the reusable food pouches from Squooshi are so great.
Beyond a great healthy lunch box addition, they’re perfect for healthy toddler snacks for on the go AND on a budget because they kids don’t have to touch the food and get messy. But what can go IN those Squooshi pouches so that your kids are eating wholesome, healthy food at lunch that’s, well…squeezable?
This post is sponsored by Squooshi.
Real Food Makeover #1: Pudding
Single serve cups of pudding, applesauce, and syrupy fruit are a constant in many lunchboxes these days, but the expense and the waste are a deal breaker for me (even if the sugar was acceptable, which it’s not).
It’s easy to buy a large jar of natural, unsweetened applesauce and fill a Squooshi pouch with it so the kids look cool like the other kids, but what about pudding?
Try this chia seed pudding, which can be made dairy-free and is of course already nut-free and egg-free.
It’s healthier than commercially produced pudding because it uses very little natural sweetener instead of white sugar or high fructose corn syrup, packs a nutritional punch with the healthy fat and fiber found in chia seeds, and has no questionable fillers or preservatives.
You don’t even have to cook it or dirty many dishes at all!
Real Food Makeover #2: Mashed Potatoes
I have nothing against comfort food, really, and the butter and milk/cream that typically makes other people demonize mashed potatoes as a rich, indulgent food are exactly the kind of thing I want my kids to be eating.
But I also admit that I fall back on potatoes too much, probably, rather than getting other more nutrient-dense vegetables in their little tummies. In the interest of variety (and a good low-carb option for adults), we just love this creamed cauliflower recipe.
I don’t recommend putting hot food into a reusable pouch, even though the Squooshi is of course BPA-free. But once cooled down, either to just above room temp (which is how toddlers – and my big kids for that matter – like to eat it anyway) or even leftovers cooled in the fridge, this is a great way to provide squeezable veggies + fat for your kids without spending $1-1.50 per pouch.
This creamy carrot ginger puree is another awesome one for tiny tots!
Real Food Makeover #3: Gogurt Tubes
Oh, the Gogurts.
Not only are they the bastion of sugar-laden fake food made to sound healthy, but every time my kids get one (usually as a preschool snack, ick), it’s all over their clothing in all its artificially colored glory.
Yogurt is awesome, which is why we have homemade yogurt every day at lunch, but we add zero sugar, thank-you-very-much.
A great DIY Gogurt sub is a Squooshi with leftover green smoothie, because you get the probiotics of yogurt plus vitamins and antioxidants from fruit and the goodness of greens to boot. Greens are the hardest thing to get past my kids, so I’m more than happy to tuck them into a pouch and send them on their way! Stick the whole pouch in the freezer and pack it frozen, and it will usually thaw just right by lunchtime (unless it’s too close to the ice pack…then it becomes afternoon snack!).
And the squeezing-all-over-the-shirt problem? Just get a Sip’n Top and it’s impossible really hard for kids to spill it. They have to really try hard, as my littlest demonstrated recently. In the car. Sighhhhhhh…
Another great breakfast-y and squeezable way to get the veggies in is this grain-free pumpkin pie porridge. You can use anything in the “mushy orange vegetable family”: butternut squash, pumpkin (canned is fine but doesn’t taste nearly as good as fresh), other orange squashes, or sweet potatoes. This time of year, sweet potatoes will be the least expensive per pound, especially if you grab a 3-pound bag at ALDI.
Almost all of the Squooshi products are ON SALE right now during the month of August, so it’s a great time to try some out with the additional 10% off using the code KS10%OFF! Plus, they just added new larger sizes and characters!