Back to school time is just around the corner… sort of. Considering all that’s been going on, it can feel like a relief to return to some sort of schedule, even if it means returning to class too. These next few months, before, during, and after school snacks are going to look a little different depending on whether or not students will be resuming their education in-person or online. Taking advantage of our soon-to-be-in-season fall produce, this list of back to school snacks runs the gamut from simple homemade to packable munchies perfect for the classroom setting. Whatever this school year brings you, we’ve got you covered!
Learning from Home
Online schooling has its advantages, most of them having to do with getting to be in our own spaces while learning. Granted, the at-home setting comes with its own set of varied complications depending on a slough of circumstances, but it can mean having regular access to our kitchens, which is almost never a bad thing. So for those who find themselves, and their children, learning and working from home together, we’ve developed some recipes that make us glad to be home and that much closer to the fridge.
Part of our peak-season fall produce, sweet potatoes are a starch familiar to kids that is both approachable and packed with vitamins and nutrients to keep them strong and vitalized. These excellent sources of Vitamin C also happen to be baked and not fried, eliminating unnecessary greasiness from the equation entirely. Their seasoning packs a punch, but isn’t too hot, making these health-conscious fries the perfect kid-friendly snack or side dish.
Sometimes, a hot lunch is the most coveted thing among students having in-person class during “the old normal.” Now, with online school more pervasive than ever, these fantasies are a more easily attained reality. Ooey, gooey, and perfectly cheesy, this quesadilla is veggie forward, and noticeably delicious. Whip together a simple guacamole or salsa for dipping, and you’ve got a personalizable fan-favorite on your hands.
Pizza is one of the most popular foods among children nationwide. In fact, research shows that students are getting most of their pizza from school cafeterias, the same place where most parents and guardians hope their kids have access to options healthier than melted cheese on bread. Enter: Local Roots to the rescue. This turnip flatbread covers all these bases and more, meaning it’s not just pizza-like, but it contains some actual vitamins and minerals. That’s what we like to call a win-win.
Soon enough, it’s going to be getting a little bit colder in New York. This will mean, among other things, that we’ll be snuggling up to heartier, more warming lunches, and what’s more heartwarming than chicken soup? Revered as one of most comforting dishes ever, chicken soup is packed with enough vegetables to make it a nutritious choice for parents and guardians to feel good about and enough flavor to make it a favorite lunchtime treat among students of all ages.
Back in School
Students who find themselves returning to class in person know that these next few months aren’t going to be like regular school, and this includes lunchtime. The semester ahead is an uncertain one to be sure, but officials nationwide agree on the following: the chances of having students dine in a cafeteria setting, at least in a traditional setup, is just about impossible. Buffet walk-ups are no longer an option, meaning lunch from home could become the new normal. In some districts, six-feet-apart lunchtime slots in which students are required to dine alone are expected to be adopted.
So where does this leave us? Confused, for one. But regardless of whatever circumstances arise in the coming months, one thing will not change: students need to eat, and school lunches must therefore be reimagined. It is for this reason that we’ve taken to this same reimagining, creating some of the most packable, portable, simple, and energizing snacks and meals to keep students on their A games.
Packed with end-of-summer/start-of-fall produce like squash, plums, and peaches, these muffins are the crowd-pleasing treats we’ve been waiting for. Decadent and customizable to fit both vegan and nut-free diets, these sweets are the ideal snacks thanks to the fact that this recipe can be made in bulk, lasting through the entire week (or longer freeze them for up to three months, defrosting as needed!).
It doesn’t get simpler than this, we promise. This two-step recipe is a blend and mix sort of situation that can (again) last students all week long. Plus, it’s uncomplicated to personalize; just sprinkle on some favorite toppings like coconut shreds, cinnamon, chocolate chips, etc. and it’s set to be packed into lunchboxes. Have fun with it; the possibilities are endless!
Dips are one of the easiest snacks to stuff inside a homemade school lunch box. Students get their fill of veggies, dunking bell peppers and other vitamin-packed other dippers into flavorful mixtures like this green goddess dip. The matchstick vehicles make eating fun, simple to pack, and even easier to store.
Hot lunches can be difficult to pack, regardless of having access to a thermos, making soups often too complicated to pack for lunches. But what about cold soups? This heirloom tomato gazpacho is just a chilled tomato soup that’s a hundred times easier to store, and just as delicious as its heated cousin, the standard tomato soup. Store it in a mason jar and toss in a reusable spoon, and this fueling lunch is set to go.
Regardless of where we find ourselves when school is back in session, we’re going to be facing uncharted challenges, students and caretakers alike. But the good news is that Local Roots will be there with the same reliable farm-to-table bundles and versatile recipes as usual. No matter what “back to school” means to you, we've got your back.
Article by Local Roots Volunteer Jess Santoro (@jess_santoro)
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