I have to make school lunches now. Two of them actually. (I know, you feel bad for me right?) And as a personal trainer and weight loss specialist, I'm all too well aware that the days of pre-packaged ham slices on wonder bread with a smear of margarine, and a fruit roll up don't cut it anymore when it comes to school lunches. (Please tell me that sounds all too familiar to you as a product of the 80's! Back then nuts were everywhere, flavored milk was super healthy—with Tang and Kool-aid running at a close second—and pop-tarts were a superfood!)
Life was good back then. However, smiling mom faces have since then been replaced with judgey-eye mom faces, and you can't sneak a graham cracker into a lunch box without getting the sideways WTF glance. I see you.
So I give in, not because of them, but because we all just know better now. We grew up on some sh*t food, but hey, I think we all turned out ok. (Because we no longer eat that sh*t food ;) Which brings me to the nut-free snack packing that takes place now because both schools my kids attend are nut-free. Reading labels is SUPER imperative because not only can there be no nuts, or nut oils, but even seemingly innocent ingredients, sans-nuts, may have been produced in a facility that has nuts. (C'mon!)
Listen, I'm over 40, and my arms have to do that thing now where they extend almost fully so I can read a freakin label. So the fine print, that's just not fun for me to read anymore. Pre-packaged foods are slowly becoming a thing of the past—that is until I buck up and buy a pair of reading glasses. (But who wants to try on reading glasses in your neighborhood drug store? You may as well be holding a megaphone while asking the cashier if the glasses make you look old. And yes, they do.)
So homemade snacks are the only snacks making it into my kids lunch boxes these days and I have a really good one for you... that your kids will eat... I hope :) Mine did.
Date Ball with Seeds (I could come up with a more creative name I realize, but it's just not coming to me at the moment. You'll have to deal with my transparency.)
Players (because I like how that sounds better than Ingredients)
10 pitted dates (I like the big Medjool ones)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
... and that's it
Place dates in your food processor and pulse until mashed up. Add in the seeds and spices and process some more until well combined. (Here you may have to stop and start so you can scrap down the sides so it all mixes well.) Get out a cookie sheet and place a piece of parchment paper over it. Then roll out the mixture into little balls and let sit in the fridge for a few minutes to set. (I actually just leave them in the fridge so they'll last for the week.)