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

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

Ingredients

    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

Instructions

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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67 Comments

    • Deliciously Organic

      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. :)

  1. 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

      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!

    • Deliciously Organic

      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!

  2. Connie Q

    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.

  3. 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!

  4. Debbie

    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

      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.

  5. 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!

  6. Michelle

    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?

  7. Cassie

    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!

  8. Christina Hauf

    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 :)

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