img_9592.jpg

I’m no expert on the subject, but my kids’ diet has been heavy on my mind lately. It’s an area where I have been slacking. Why? You know why. It’s HARD! Kids are picky and it’s easier just to reach for stuff you know they will like. That doesn’t make you a bad parent, by the way. But, we gotta keep trying to incorporate healthy foods into their diets. If we don’t, who will? Not them, that’s for sure.

Listen- you are not going to see me cutting out bear-shaped sandwiches or making some over the top fancy thing they would never eat. Kudos to those who do that, but my goal is just to get the somewhat healthy food into the box and then go drink my coffee. Nothing else.

That said, I am experimenting with Bento Box ideas for my second grader’s lunch. All my research and experimentation will be documented on here of course. We moms and dads have to stick together! Don’t freak out. I know it feels overwhelming, but there’s nothing to it but to do it. A little planning which – hello, I’m doing for you – and you can put together healthier lunches for your kids with a lot less stress.

I made Sneaky Pizza Rolls last night for dinner and I’ll get to those in a sec. The kids love these and I stored the leftovers in the fridge overnight. This morning gave them a quick reheat in my air fryer just to remove a little moisture. (This is not really necessary- I just want to extra sure it’s not soggy. If you are in a rush, just nuke for 20 seconds and be done with it.)

Along with the pizza rolls, I cut up some cucumbers with ranch, strawberries, chocolate pudding, and a homemade blueberry muffin. Yes, homemade. Not a big deal. Took me like 10 minutes to prep and put them in the oven last night after they went to bed. Here is the recipe I used:

http://www.laurafuentes.com/very-blueberry-muffins-recipe/

I subbed coconut sugar for the white sugar and added a TBSP of maple syrup. The batter for these babies is super thick, but trust the recipe! I love the blogger who created this, by the way. Lots of great ideas.

This sounds like it took a lot of time. It did not. The pizza rolls were made last night for my kids dinner. I made the pudding and muffins the other day, and both of those things did not take much time either. The fruits and vegetables took maybe two minutes to cut. All in all, it took about ten minutes to assemble this lunch this morning.

Here is an aff link to the Bento Box and, no, it doesn’t leak!

https://amzn.to/2M8JD4r

Now, let’s get to these Sneaky Pizza Roll Ups. Why are they “sneaky?” Their mom (aka me) blended spinach into the marinara, that’s why! Now, let me tell you something about blending spinach into stuff. It makes the color of the food look… well, not very appetizing. This is not a concern wrapped up in the pizza rolls, but it might be when you set it out as a dipping sauce. Your two year old might not care, but your seven year might gag. If that’s the case, only make about half the sauce in the recipe, and just serve regular marinara as the dipping sauce.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup of marinara

1 cup of spinach

1 cup of cheese

1 refrigerated pizza crust (bonus healthy points if you can find a whole wheat kind)

2 TBSP Oregano

Here’s how you assemble or you might just want to skip right to the video because these directions write out about as clear as mud:

Blend the marinara and spinach in your high powered blender. Remember, if you don’t think the kids will eat an off-color dipping sauce, just blend a half cup of each and reserve another half cup of marinara for dipping.  Preheat your oven to whatever time your pizza crust directions state. (Mine said 400.) Roll out your pizza crust and pull out the sides to thin it out a bit. Spread a thin row of blended sauce across the crust. Leaving about 3 inches between, spread another row, and then another row.  Your pizza crust should look like it has stripes on it. Next, spread cheese over your rows of sauce, still leaving the empty spaces in between. Then, sprinkle oregano across the whole crust.  Starting on one side, gently fold over the dough over the row of sauce and then cut in between the rows. Fold the next section of dough over and cut again, and then do it again. You should have 3 or 4 long tubes now. Using a fork, press the sides of the dough together to seal up your “tubes.” Then, cut each “tube” into thirds. Use your fork to seal the ends to each roll-up.  Place each roll-up onto a baking plan. I lined my pan with foil and a little bit of Pam to prevent sticking. Bake until golden brown. My pizza crust said 8 minutes, but it really took closer to 15-16 minutes before they were cooked through.  Allow them to cool thoroughly! They get very hot in the middle and you don’t want your child to burn their tongue. Heat up remaining sauce for dipping, or just serve with regular marinara.

Clearly, when you watch this video, you will see that I am not going to win any culinary presentation contests. And, I’m ok with that. The idea here is “get the food on the table.” Plus, have you ever tried to cook with one hand while filming a video? Yes, I do have a tripod. Yes, I am too lazy to set it up most of the time.

Happy lunching!

xo Jaime

Written by Jaime Fox