By Anni Daulter
Anni DaulterBack to school means early hectic mornings getting everyone out the door. Preparing their lunches is another obstacle so take time to prep anything you can the night before. I like to chop vegetables for a stir fry or whip up a pasta sauce for instance the night before, so I can just quickly make it in the morning. It is also important to make sure to have all of your containers ready to go and your child’s lunch basket, bag or box all set to make sure the morning routine goes smoothly. There are some great companies that make eco-friendly containers and reusable carriers that I love and recommend.

  • Eco-Ditty
  • Sanctus Mundo
  • Life Without Plastic
  • Eco-Bags
  • Graze Organics
  • Keep a lookout for a new book I am writing on organic lunches for kids, but in the meantime, check out the following recipes to help give your kids lunches a fresh start to a new school year!

    grace’s daring sesame noodle oodle
    This recipe is named after my super daring niece. She gave it her stamp of approval, so you know it’s good! I often serve this dish with an Asian-inspired salad and baked pears for dessert. Feel free to play with the recipe by adding different vegetables. Remember to cut up the noodles for any little toddler who is just getting the hang of chewing.

    Makes 4 servings

    • 1 package linguine noodles
    • 4 tablespoons safflower oil
    • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • Juice of 11⁄2 limes
    • 5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon liquid amino acids (such as
      Bragg Liquid Aminos)
    • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
    • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons chili sauce
    • 1 teaspoon wheat germ
    • 2 pinches ground red pepper
    • 1⁄2 cup fresh snap peas
    • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh broccoli
    • 2 scallions, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

    Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain and pour the noodles into a serving dish. Set aside.

    Combine the safflower oil, vinegar, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, amino acids, agave, sesame oil, chili sauce, wheat germ, and red pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the snap peas and broccoli. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Pour the sauce and vegetables over the prepared noodles. Mix well.

    Top the dish with the scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro. Garnish with an additional lime wedge, if desired. Serve warm with a side of mandarin oranges and a refreshing mint herbal tea.

    tennie’s spanish veggie burger bites with flaxseed
    Veggie burger bites are a perfect dinner. Kids go crazy for the flavor, and flaxseed provides extra nutrition. This dish is named after my children’s grown-up godfather because he can’t eat enough of it. The burger bites are full of bean protein and dietary fiber. You can serve them anytime of year, but they are great in the summer at barbecues and go well with sweet potato fries. Serve them chopped up for your toddler or on a bun with other fixings for an older child.

    Makes 5 servings

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheets
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1⁄2 cup mushrooms, chopped
    • 1⁄2 cup chopped celery
    • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
    • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
      Grated rind of 1 lemon
      Fine sea salt
      Freshly ground black pepper

    • 2 cans (15 ounces each) kidney or black
      beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 cup dried panko bread crumbs
    • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
    • 1⁄2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1⁄3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon thyme

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with oil.

    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and bell pepper until lightly browned. Add the flaxseed, soy sauce, lemon rind, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove the mixture from the heat.

    Mash the beans and tomato paste together with a fork or potato masher in a large bowl. Mix in the onion mixture, egg, bread crumbs, cheeses, cilantro, and thyme.

    Form small patties with approximately 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture. Place the patties on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until crisp. Flip the patties halfway through cooking.