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CSA Inspired School Lunches by Early Morning Farm CSA

It’s hard to believe that we are well into August! Everyone will be heading back to school soon (some of our college help is leaving soon) and some of you may have little ones headed to school for the first time. This winter we put all of our ideas into a series of posts called Promoting Healthy Habits.  A lot of our ideas and tips are perfect for your child’s lunchbox! If you’re looking for easy lunchbox containers, I love all of the Lunchbots products, especially their thermos, it’s shorter and wider than most thermoses so it’s easy to fit inside a lunchbox and eat out of. I send warm pasta and soup to school with my son during the cooler months and it always comes home empty.

For finger foods and foods you want to keep separated, try the divided container by lunchbots. They’re easy to open, and contain just the right amount of food for younger children. Do you have any lunchbox favorites or tips? Let us know in the comments! Our Academic Season Shares start August 25th, 12 weeks of certified organic local produce, just in time for back to school! Sign-up online or contact us for more info!

backtoschool2Carrots. Ask any CSA member, you can taste the difference in our fresh carrots! Peel and cut into sticks for dipping into hummus or spreads, steam in small cubes, tuck grated carrots into pasta, a quesadilla, or sandwich. Try carrot fritters, pictured above. They’re sweet and the leftovers can easily be packed in a lunchbox.

Kohlrabi. Here’s a surprising one, young kohlrabi is fresh and crispy! Cut up into sticks for dipping or snacking. The fall storage variety is tastier cooked, try our Apple Cider Braised Kohlrabi, it’s naturally sweet from the fresh apple cider. Or make crunchy kohlrabi pickles!

Beets. Another surprising kid-friendly vegetable is beets! Beets are naturally sweet, and if introduced at a young age kids often love them! We made a beet pizza that’s great hot or cold. You can also try pickling them, roasting (roasted vegetables pack well cold in a lunchbox), or for a special treat try our Beet Brownies!

CSA Inspired School LunchesGreens. While your little one might not want to start chomping on raw or sautéd kale right away, there are some great ways to ease greens into your child’s diet. Try whipping up some kale pesto to toss with pasta, blending a kale smoothie, or crunchy kale chips. Pesto can be tossed with pasta and sent warm or chilled. If your child attends a nut free school (mine does) just sub sunflower seeds for the nuts. Smoothies travel well in a mason jar with a lid or thermos.

Summer Squash. Summer squash is soft enough it can be enjoyed raw, cut into sticks or cubes. To roast season with just olive oil and sprinkle of salt, and toss with pasta or brown rice in a thermos. Our zucchini cupcakes are only sweetened with maple syrup – without the frosting they’d make a great muffin!

Tomatoes. Tomatoes are another naturally sweet and soft choice for kids. I have seen two children bite right into huge heirloom tomatoes this week! Caprese salad cut into bite size cubes is great for kids – it’s soft and mild tasting. Try skewering onto toothpicks for a fun lunchbox addition.

CSA Inspired Lunch Box IdeasCucumber. I once prepared myself a big plate of fresh cucumbers drizzled with rice vinegar and lime juice, only to watch my toddler son devour the whole thing! Remove the skin and seeds and squeeze some lime juice and/or rice vinegar on top. The cucumbers will be perfect by lunch time.

Winter Squash. It’s no secret that butternut and acorn squash are a grate addition to baby food, and they are also great choices for older kiddos, too. Roasted squash is a great addition at any meal. Butternut Squash Soup is sweet and satisfying, pack it in a thermos. It also freezes well, so you can freeze individual servings for thawing later.

Broccoli. I’ve encountered a surprising amount of children who already love broccoli, even picky-eaters! My three year old son, who eats a lot of veggies, doesn’t really like the texture of the broccoli florets, but he does like the stems. Peel the skin of the stems with a vegetables peeler and cube or cut into sticks for dipping into hummus or dressing. If nuts aren’t an issue, peanut sauce is also good with broccoli.

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