It feels like yesterday that I was wearing my unitards and scrunchies heading off to my first day of school! Now I am 2 days away from being a quarter century old AH! Despite not going back-to-school this year, I still consider September as a fresh start. We could all use a clean slate and rid ourselves of some nasty habits we’ve picked up so whether or not you spent your life-savings at Staples we may as well celebrate the start of a new school year.
It seemed fitting to go along with the theme of fresh-starts that my blogging besties and I make a comeback with our healthy meals series. After taking the summer off to focus on family and friends, we decided to get back at it and encourage you to start making healthier choices this school year. Alternatively you can take my route, which is tricking your children into eating their veggies by hiding them in brownies….
Now I’m not totally in the loop with kids these days but I’m fairly certain that brownies remain a popular request. Almost as popular as parents requesting hidden veggie recipes for their kids. As much as I’m sure you and your children want to eat brownies for all meals of the day it might be best that you diversify both of your meal plans, which is where Lee, Lexi and Kelly come in. Together we’ve designed a perfect breakfast, lunch and snack menu packed full of nutrition to please both parents and kiddos alike. But again, if you can’t get them to drink the green smoothie that tastes like a candy bar, you can at least agree to an extra brownie which you secretly know is an extra serving of veggies 😉
Oatmeal is sooooo last year. It’s all about quinoa for breakfast these days! Lee’s Vanilla Bean Breakfast Quinoa is high in protein and can be topped with your mixings of choice. It is sure to keep you full until lunchtime.
As a teacher Lexi knows exactly what kids are looking to eat so she not surprisingly knocked it out of the park with these Crispy Chicken Strips. They’re also nut-free which makes them school-friendly! For the record, I’m not a kid and I intend to make these this week.
I know I used to go right for the snacks when I would bring my lunch to school. Of course then it was Jos Louis (remember those?!) which I’m fairly certain included 0 nutritional ingredients. My Hidden Veggies Two-Bite Brownies with a Caramel Drizzle include TWO veggies, spinach and sweet potatoes, are completely gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and nut-free but still taste AWESOME. Scroll down for the recipe.
Then of course there’s the after-school snack! Kelly’s adorable daughter loved this Almond Joy Green Smoothie so I trust her whole-heartedly that your kiddos will love it too. I mean helllllllo it tastes like a candy bar!
Dinner is up for grabs and after a long day you may not want to spend a ton of time making it, but at least you can feel better knowing you had a day packed full of healthy eats. So indulge yourself a little and then wake up and start those healthy eats all over again 😉
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar*
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the caramel drizzle**
- 1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked in water for at least 2 hours (reserve water dates were soaking in)
- 1/4 cup date water (water dates were soaked in)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Fill up a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling add sweet potato and let cook for 10-12 minutes or until soft.
- Remove from stove and pour into a colander to strain the water. Run cold water over sweet potatoes for 1 minute to cool them down.
- Add sweet potatoes to a food processor or high-speed blender and add in baby spinach, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.
- Add in eggs and blend until just combined.
- Add in coconut palm sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Blend until smooth.
- Grease a regular muffin tin with coconut oil or non-stick spray and pour batter into cups filling only a 1/3 of each cup.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes. Bake less for fudgier brownie or longer for more crumbly.
- Let sit for 20 minutes before removing from muffin pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.
For the caramel drizzle**:
- Clean out the food processor or blender and combine all drizzle ingredients blending until smooth. You will need to scrape down sides every once and a while. Mine takes about 5 minutes.
- Scoop mixture into a ziploc bag and cut off a small corner.
- Squeeze to drizzle over brownies.
We all know that this time of year can be SUPER expensive. With new clothes, school supplies and healthy food, it’s easy to go over your budget. To make things a bit easier for you guys we’ve teamed up to offer TWO lucky readers a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. That’s $100 each! To enter just use the rafflecopter below!