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Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas and No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

by Deliciously Organic on August 29, 2011

It’s been one week of packing lunches and I feel like my head is spinning. There’s so much to do in the mornings to get my girls off to school, but I think we worked the kinks out and will settle into a routine shortly.

The girls love their new stainless steel thermoses. I’ve been making larger dinners so they can heat up the leftovers in the morning and take them in a thermos. What a huge hit!

We can also make smoothies and freeze them in small containers; by lunch time the smoothie will have thawed into a great cold meal.

I wrote a post last year about back to school lunch ideas and here are some new ideas:

Sweet Crispy Pecans
Pop Tarts – I make large batches and freeze them. Then I reheat one in the oven and place it in a small paper bag (to avoid sogginess) and it’s a great treat for the kids.
Caprese Salad – We prefer to eat this at room temperature.
Homemade Beef Jerky
Pizza Roll-ups – Spread marinara sauce on a whole wheat tortilla. Sprinkle with mozzarella and spinach or arugula leaves. Roll up, and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese has melted. 
Popped Corn with Kale Sprinkles (make some kale chips and crumble them up. Sprinkle over popped corn. I just saw this idea in the soon-to-be released The Organic Family Cookbook. What a brillant idea!)
Chicken Tenders – Heat them up and put them in an insulated thermos to keep warm. They are also great at room temperature (they stay more crisp this way too).

Here are a few of my favorite recent posts around the web:

21 Ways to Plan Ahead for School Lunches – from 100 Days of Real Food
Eat Well, Spend Less: The Art of Back-to-School Lunches – from Food for My Family
Back to School Snacks: Easy Recipes for Homemade Snacks – from Good Life Eats
Back to School Lunch Box Survival Tips – from Family Fresh Cooking


No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 16 cookies


    For the cookies:

  • 1 cup maple sugar (you can also substitute with organic whole cane sugar or sucanat)

  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 3 cups rolled oats


Place the sugar, cacao powder, butter, and milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil (do not boil for more than one minute), stirring frequently. Whisk in peanut butter and vanilla. Place oats in a large mixing bowl, pour chocolate mixture over and stir until combined. Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill in the fridge 2 hours until firm.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} August 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

No bake cookies always remind me of growing up. Yours look fantastic!


Bev Weidner August 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

These cookies take me back to childhood! And since I don’t bake and might possibly cry about it often, I can make these babies.



Annie August 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I love all the school planning ideas! These cookies look awesome. I just posted cookies as well, but no bake cookies sound great! And SO easy to make!


Maria August 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Great ideas! And these one of my favorite cookies. Made a batch the other day:) They are dangerous though!


Deliciously Organic August 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I agree. Very dangerous!


Krissa August 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Those sound delicious!


Gina August 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm

These sound I fabulous. Is the maple sugar the same as sucanat or something else? Where do you find organic maple sugar?


Deliciously Organic August 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I buy my maple sugar from Amazon. It’s much cheaper than at the store. I don’t use it a lot since it’s a more expensive sugar. You can substitute with the maple sugar with sucanat or coconut sugar. I prefer the maple sugar when baking anything chocolate, but that’s just my personal preference. :)


Brooke @ Food Woolf August 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Sweet. A perfect recipe for the anti-baking set!


Jen B. August 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Can no-bake’s be made without peanut butter? One of my boys is allergic to peanuts. Any substitute ideas?


Deliciously Organic August 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm

The cookies need the nut butter to help them firm up. You can substitute with almond butter or another nut butter.


Margaret August 31, 2011 at 2:53 am

Almond butter or other nut butter won’t work for me. My grandson is allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts. Any suggestions?


Connie Q August 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm

NUT ALLERGIES? Try sunflowerseed butter. I have bought mine at Trader Joe’s, but it is also available at our Fred Meyer.


Margaret September 1, 2011 at 5:08 am

Thanks Connie! I have tried sunbutter. I like sunflower seeds and like the sunbutter. Only one other person in the family will eat it beside me so I am looking for another alternative.


Nancy@acommunaltable August 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Even though I don’t pack lunches anymore, these are great ideas!! These no bake cookies are the best – especially when the weather is hot (which always seems to happen at the beginning of school!)


Georgia Pellegrini August 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I love the idea of no bake right now, especially in light of how it’s been 107-108 every day this week. I’m totally making this treat for us! Love your recipes.


aida mollenkamp August 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I love that you used favorite kid flavors but made them so much more interesting and a bit healthier.


Stacy Makes Cents August 30, 2011 at 3:42 am

Can you help me troubleshoot? I made a batch of these last week…..but it was my first batch since switching to a healthier diet. They did not set up. The only difference this time was that I used homemade peanut butter in them instead of some from the store and rolled oats instead of quick oats. My mom said maybe it was because there was honey in the peanut butter?
Of course they were still eaten (shouldn’t let chocolate go to waste!), but I would really like them to turn out next time.


Deliciously Organic August 30, 2011 at 6:18 am

Without being able to see the exact recipe you used – I’m guessing here, but I’d say it was probably the peanut butter combined with the honey. In my recipe I call for rolled oats, not quick oats, but that shouldn’t have made too much of a difference. Did you bring the mixture to a boil? It not, it might not have cooked enough to set. Also, if it was really hot in your kitchen (due to our hot summer temps) then maybe they couldn’t set properly. I prefer to set these cookies in the refrigerator – I think it makes them taste better too!


Miriam August 31, 2011 at 5:22 am

Sorry for eavesdropping, but from experience growing up I just wanted to share that if you boil the mixture TOO much, the cookies will be hard, dry and crumbly :) I hope you’re able to get the cookies to be just right, because it is the most fun that way 😉


Stacy Makes Cents August 31, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I used rolled oats and boiled them for 1 minute. My recipe is identical to yours. :) Thanks….next time I won’t use pb with honey. Thank you for the help!


Jenn Hayden August 30, 2011 at 5:22 am

These were delicious! Thank you for the yummy treats at the party! I will be honest with myself…I ate 3 of them!!!! Can’t wait to make them soon!


Noelle August 30, 2011 at 5:34 am

Tis the season for it being busy! Great cookies and great meal plans too!


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. August 30, 2011 at 6:42 am

These look really great! We always need back to school ideas


Lauren @ KeepItSweet August 30, 2011 at 8:21 am

I love these, I’d pack them in my own lunch!


Lucy Lean August 30, 2011 at 9:18 am

Eel! Dreading lunch boxes this year – hoping the school lunch program is new improved and organic so I can do this…


Caroline @ chocolate and carrots August 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

I love cookies…especially when that taste delicious and are easy to make! These look fabulous! :-)


Liz @ Southern Charm August 30, 2011 at 9:44 am

Wow. These cookies look amazing! These will be made tonight! Thanks for sharing!


MaryLynn August 30, 2011 at 11:52 am

Ahhh… this is my husband’s all time fave! Can’t wait to try this version, since we’ve eliminated white sugar. Thanks!


Katrina August 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm

These look so yummy!


MENA August 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Can you please tell me what type of blender you use? I heard the most effective ones costs $200-300! What do you think? Thanks! Can’t wait to get your cook book!!


Deliciously Organic August 31, 2011 at 6:00 am

While the Vitamix is the blender many talk about for it’s performance, but it has a pretty hefty price tag. I usually stick with the advice from Cooks Illustrated and their non-bias product reviews. The top two they recommend are the The Kitchen Aid 5-speed blender ($149.00) or for a much less expensive blender that got very high ratings in their test kitchen the Kalorik BL Blender at just $49.99. If they are recommending a $50 blender that does just a good a job as the $150, I’d go with the cheaper one! :) Hope that helps!


Wenderly August 31, 2011 at 9:12 am

Oh how I adore no bake cookies! These gorgeous little guys look marvelous! Thank you!


Shaina August 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Love these cookies! We had a not-so-nice name for them, but they’re so much fun and perfect for school snacks and lunch box treats.


Connie Q August 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm

These look yummy and fit in to my week of avoiding processed sugar!
For those who have nut allergies, I would suggest trying sunflowerseed butter…it has a similar taste and texture.


Shelby September 1, 2011 at 2:35 am

My children are grown and gone now, no grandchildren either! :( I really wish that back when my children were younger that the internet was much more accessible. Imagine all the ideas I could have come upon! Still, some of these will be great for me to take to my workplace for lunches! I love the smoothie idea. I also love the maple sugar in this recipe. I’ve never thought to try it but now I will!


Sandy @ RE September 1, 2011 at 6:01 am

Love how you used maple syrup. Will have to try. We’ve been on a cookie kick around out house lately (no-bake). Last time I used 1 cup almond butter and they were amazing. Miss you, friend!


Holly Brown September 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Do you take all these photos? They are amazing!! And make me hungry :)


Victoria September 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I love any cookie with peanut butter! I’ve especially been fond of no bake cookies lately too. :)


Jenn September 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm

My mother used to make these for us when I was little at christmas time. We called them macaroons


Debbie September 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

So, I guess maple SUGAR is it, huh? Just checking as that’s the only sugar I don’t have. Stopped by Earthfare yesterday and choked – $17 for a container of organic maple sugar. So, just wanting to verify before I buy…


Deliciously Organic September 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I hardly ever buy those kinds of sugars at the store b/c they are usually way too expensive. I get my maple sugar, coconut sugar and maple syrup from the Amazon subscribe and save program. You’ll save a ton! You can replace the maple sugar in this recipe with sucanat if you’d like.


Sue September 9, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Thanks for the reminder about these no bakes! I love to use this recipe for kids to learn how to cook. I’ve got a new foster kiddo, who is planning on cooking this weekend here……. I’ve got the ingredients for these & he is a oatmeal guy…..I think it will be a good place to start him off in the kitchen!


Tooma October 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm

you can also make it with cereal and pieces of fruit.


Vanessa November 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm

These are my fav!


Michelle November 6, 2011 at 10:57 am

I did a search on Amazon for Maple Sugar. It came back with 474 results. Wtih other products you have had a brand you recommended. This will be my first time purchasing Maple Sugar. Which product do you use?


Deliciously Organic November 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I like the maple sugar from Coomb’s Family Farms. I order through the Subscribe and Save program on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Coombs-Family-Farms-25-Ounce-Container/dp/B000JJHDVG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320618889&sr=8-1 It’s a bit of a more expensive sweetener so I only use it every once in a while. It’s so delicious! You can also substitute the maple sugar with sucanat.


Cassie May 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I was just talking to someone about this cookie type, when my kids were in school, my son and I made a similar recipe using Carob powder, instead of cocoa, and his friends bought them for weeks from him!
Would be interested what people think of using Carob, it tastes pretty close to chocolate too!


Nanna@home June 10, 2012 at 5:23 am

Can you use “Sugar in the Raw” for this recipe? Also, I used to make these for my son using Carob powder, he loved them! Thanks for the great recipe!


Deliciously Organic June 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

Yes, sugar in the raw should work well in this recipe.


Ann August 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Just made these today but I substituted coconut oil for the butter and rice milk for the whole milk. Dairy free and still delicious!


Deliciously Organic August 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

I’m glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for the tip on your substitutions!


Lucy Morton September 5, 2012 at 3:08 am

With butter and sugar, and rolled oats-how are these ‘healthy’?


Deliciously Organic September 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

As with all desserts, they should be enjoyed in moderation. If one can tolerate grains, then oats can be a good option for a cookie. Organic butter contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, stearic acid as well as other healthy properties. I am coming from a more traditional approach to fats and wrote about this here: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/creamed-kale-and-eggs-recipe/ and here: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/hashed-browns/

All sugars should be eaten in strict moderation and these cookies are made with maple sugar which is dehydrated maple syrup. While it is still a sugar, it is a much healthier option than white sugar that has been stripped of any nutrients and bleached.


Christina Hauf August 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Carrie, I noticed your pizza roll-up and had to jump in :) we’ve been using our waffle iron with abandon and have come up with some super fun treats using and filling tortillas…
Waffled Pizza Pocket – spoon sauce (not to edge) on half of your tortilla, add meat, sprinkle cheese, fold in half and close waffle iron. Open to a pastry like (crisp and chewy) Waffled Pizza Pocket!
Waffled “Grilled” Cheese – just like the above but with cheese only.
Waffled Nutbutter Pocket – I am sure you’re getting the idea…fill half the tortilla with nut butter, fold and waffle. This one is so much like a filled pastry it is hard to quit!
There is no end to fun with a waffle iron…home made bread dough! stop me now!!
Bless you for all you do, Carrie! You’ve got a great thing going here :)


Deliciously Organic August 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

Great ideas! I should pull out the waffle iron more often! :)


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