In Scout’s PlanetBox lunchbox, there’s a pair of homemade whole wheat pizza crusts on a bed of green oak leaf lettuce. Pizza toppings include thinly sliced organic (O.) celery, blueberries, sliced strawberries, and Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) Sliced Honey Roasted Almonds. Blackberries add a sweet treat. TJ’s Raw Creamy Unsalted Almond Butter is the “sauce” for our pizza. And, the two skewers up top hold “Salad on a Stick”: red oak leaf lettuce, O. grape tomatoes, O. Persian cucumber coins, black olives, and O. yellow bell pepper. (Take a peek below at an assembled “pizza”.)
Back in February, I applied to take part in Jennifer Tyler Lee’s “The Healthy Lunch Challenge”. Jennifer is the Mom that created the award-winning “Crunch a Color” nutrition games that make healthy eating fun! You’ve probably spotted her on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Pottery Barn Kids, and/or The Huffington Post sharing her new food adventures. I love a challenge, and was over the moon to be chosen to participate in this one…healthy lunches…lots of color…I’m all over it!
Jennifer said, “I’m looking for real moms to share easy, healthy lunches that their kids love to eat….” So, I put on my thinking cap and came up with a healthy new twist on the old PB&J…DIY Almond Butter Pizzas. Raw unsalted almond butter on a homemade whole wheat pizza dough crust provides a nutritious canvas for bright fruits, crisp celery and crunchy almonds. It was easy enough to double my dough recipe for Sunday pizza night, and bake off a dozen plain little 3.5″ circles for the freezer. The hard part was keeping Scout from eating them all before I had a chance to use them! I prefer to make Scout’s lunch in the morning, and it’s a snap with the frozen crusts plus the fruits and veg washed and ready to go in the fridge. But, if you’re rushed for time in the mornings, this is a great lunch to assemble the night before. No need to thaw the pre-baked crusts, they’ll be just right come lunchtime.
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (Adapted from KitchenAid Recipe Guide)
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2-3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill Brand)
- Warm the mixing bowl (so it’ll keep the yeast nice and toasty) and dissolve the yeast in warm water.
- Add the sea salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
- Attach bowl and dough hook to your KitchenAid mixer, and mix at speed 2 for one minute.
- Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on speed 2 for two minutes.
- Place in greased bowl, turning the ball of dough until it’s completely covered in a thin film of olive oil
- Cover with a warm, wet cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
- Punch dough down, and roll it out on a floured surface.
- Cut into individual crusts with a floured 3.5″ cutter.
- Bake crusts on a parchment lined baking sheet at 450°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before freezing in an air-tight container.
Be sure and visit Crunch a Color’s website to see what ideas the other participants have for you, and stay tuned to see who ends up in “The Healthy Lunch Challenge Top Five”…I’ve got my fingers crossed! Make sure you check out Jennifer’s “Healthy Eating Game” that encourages diners of all ages to add colorful fruits and veg to the nutritious grains and proteins on their plates to rack up points for the win! My family is loving our set of “Conversation Starters”. The questions range from fun (If you could have one superpower, which one would you choose?) to thoughtful (What makes someone kind?), and encourage us to slow down at dinnertime and engage each other.
I also want to shout out a little love for the fabulous Kelly Lester of Easy Lunchboxes, who partnered with Jennifer to run this roundup. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kelly a bit over the last few months, and not only is she one of the nicest people you could hope to meet…she’s also personally responsible for keeping an unfathomable amount of waste out of our landfills and oceans with her reusable lunchbox system. I had heard nothing but passionate raves for her ELB’s (Easy Lunchboxes), and when I finally had the chance to hold one in my hands, I understood why. They’re built for the long haul, made to withstand the rigors of the playground or employee dining room…definitely not a “disposable” product.
Not pictured is a cloth napkin, Scout’s EO hand sanitizer and her Klean Kanteen of ice water. The bamboo spreader tucked inside the PlanetBox. I use two different ice packs to keep Scout’s lunch at a safe temperature. A sheet of Cryopak Flexible Ice Pack for Lunch Boxes goes underneath her PlanetBox, and a Kids Konserve Ice Pack and Sweat-Free Cover goes in the mesh pocket of the case.