Thank you, Grain Crazy, for the invitation to guest post on healthy lunch box ideas. This has been so fun. My name is Janet Barton. I have a blog called Simply So Good. I have to admit I haven't packed a school lunch for about 4 years now. Believe it or not the day will come when your baby graduates from high school. I was downright giddy at the thought of no more PTA, Parent/Teacher conferences, homework, and especially packing lunches.
I decided that I would pack a lunch that my 6 year old granddaughter, Emi, would like. When Emi was just 3 years old, she would help me make her favorite snack. She loved dipping pita bread into white bean dip. The white bean dip is quick and easy to make and will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Emi is proud that she chooses healthy foods and loves them. Her favorite snack to take to school is a cup of fresh berries.
The lunch I have packed for Emi has a small container of white bean dip with whole wheat pita chips, carrot sticks and red pepper slices for dipping. Of course, I had to include fresh fruit.
Moms go to great lengths to encourage their children to eat healthy. If that doesn't work, we sneak it into foods when no one is looking. I was talking with my daughter a few days ago. She has 4 children between the ages of 14 months and 9 years. They had requested crepes for dinner. She decided to throw in a couple of handfuls of spinach into the crepe batter. When her kids asked her why they were green, she told them they were made with green cocoa from the ancient Incas. They bought it and ate the crepes.
I have to admit that I have tricked my color blind husband who has a difficult time distinguishing shades of green. I handed him a beautiful green smoothie one morning. He asked what color it was. I answered "pink?".
White Bean Dip with Pita Chips
1 pkg. Whole Wheat Pita bread (6-8 pitas)
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 (15-oz can) white beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cups fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (you can substitute with fresh spinach)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of pita with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut each pita into 8 wedges, then sprinkle with the oregano 1 teaspoons each of salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes then turn the pita wedges over and bake an additional 5 minutes or until they are crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Pulse on and off until the mixture is coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually mix in the remaining 1/3 cup of oil until the mixture is creamy. Season the puree with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the puree to a small bowl and drizzle with a little more olive and garnish with additional parsley. Serve with the pita toasts. Serves 6 for appetizers.
You can find step-by-step photo instructions on my blog at simplysogood.com