Saturday, August 25, 2012

Looking to A Bright School Year with Nourishing Lunches

Ladies and gentlemen, start your in our neck of the woods, the school year is about to kick off. For some of you, it may have even already begun! Read here for my tips on securing your family members' (and kids'!) buy-in on packed real food lunches.

Don't mind me. I'm just hanging out, hoping to end up in somebody's lunchbox.

I've been on a couple of different vacations with extended family in the first couple of weeks of August, and now the prep for going back to school is suddenly very much upon us.

I have a lot on my (har) plate this coming year. I want to get more consistent about getting a lunch packed for my husband every day - he usually, unfortunately, gets the short end of the stick for lunch packing if I'm suddenly out of time or lunch materials, and when that happens, he often grabs a couple of bananas and some snacky food like almonds to get him through the day.

Adding to the schedule is my oldest's first full day school year as a kindergartner - and yes, that means me packing her lunches 5 days per week. My youngest is slated to start a two morning per week preschool that's another two packed lunches in a week!

With the gearing up of packed lunches around here you can be sure to see more examples of packed lunches. I'll also be doing a series in September on dips and dressings that you can include in your lunchboxes; kids love to be able to dip, so including a dip or sauce in a lunchbox is a big selling point.

Sugar snap peas with a basil avocado ranch dip.

You'll also be getting a good look at GAPS diet compatible lunches via my two and a half year old's lunchbox. This adds another level of challenge - because my littlest is dairy free and GAPS excludes certain paleo staples like sweet potatoes. It will be her first regular meals-away-from-home experience, so bone broth and "aromatic" kimchi aren't exactly tidy options. I'll also be in charge of providing her with a GAPS-compatible snack on her school days.

I've had the opportunity to try out some new things here and there this summer, too. A hard apple cider, and a decadent new cashew butter. We also have tried a few new school supplies for the upcoming year, like Mama K's gluten free play clay.

Left to Right: Things I've loved trying out this summer.

  • Angry Orchard's apple ginger hard cider (naturally gluten free), which I found at Giant. This is very sweet, like Martinelli's.
  • Artisana's 100% organic raw cashew butter, available at Vitacost. Gluten free. ONE ingredient: organic raw cashews. That's my kind of ingredient list! It's also a GAPS staple for making pancakes and adding fat to my 2.5 year old's diet. I sometimes combine a tablespoon or two  of the cashew butter with an egg and some butternut squash puree for a fast breakfast for her.
  • Mama K's aromatic play clay, found on Amazon, is a gluten free play dough in 5 colors with subtle natural scents: Green (lemongrass, to inspire), orange (sweet orange scent, to uplift), yellow (bergamot aka Earl Grey, for tension), purple (lavender, to soothe), and and pink (geranium, for balance). My husband and I are scent sensitive, but I found these to be lovely and subtle in their scents. I'm bringing a couple of these to my youngest's preschool for her to use instead of Play Doh, which is made with wheat flour.
Did you have a good summer? What did you enjoy trying for the first time? What are you looking forward to trying out with the start of the school year?


This post contains affiliate links for Amazon and Vitacost. Shopping Amazon and Vitacost through Primal Kitchen affiliate links supports Primal Kitchen at no additional cost to you, so thank you!!


  1. I had the Angry Orchard this summer as well. I like the ginger kick and I was able to feel "normal" at social gatherings when I brought it along. As normal as I get anyway. And that's not saying a whole lot.

  2. Hi! Two things...
    1. Thank you SO MUCH for all your lunch box posts! It is immensely helpful to glean ideas from your photos and descriptions of the food you packed for all 183 of those lunches. I'm having my all of my kids scroll through to pick out things they would happily eat as I ease them toward a more paleo lifestyle. Bless you!
    2. I'm not finding your recipe for the yummy-sounding basil avocado ranch dressing pictured with sweet peas. Could you please share? My daughter selected it as one of her top options. :)

  3. Whoops - I meant sugar snap peas. :)

  4. Loove your blog! I finally started my own blog, and am so excited to get my laptop lunch box in tomorrow. Its definitely been a looong week waiting on it! I love the idea of primal and am trying to venture off that way! Thanks for all the great ideas!


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