The Bean starts junior kindergarten next month (gasp!) and while I should be focused on the important things (you know, reading, writing, teaching her to tie her shoes), I’m mostly just thinking about lunch.
Yes, come September 8 the Bean will be a kindergartener, and I will be a lunch-packer.
It’s a job that I figure will last at least a decade (a tad optimistic, seeing as I also have an 18 month old living under my roof), and one that I intend to take very seriously. At least until October.
And since this is a blog all about how I feed my hungry family, you can expect a little bit of school lunch content from this point forward. I hope that’s ok with you.
I’m starting with dessert, naturally. It wouldn’t be a school lunch without some sort of sweet treat, right? In my youth, there were usually Chips Ahoy or Fudgee-Os at the bottom of the bag, and maybe a couple of homemade chocolate chip cookies when my mom had time to bake. I also recall toting leftover apple pie or berry crumble now and again—usually on a Monday after a big Sunday dinner. (I also vividly remember accidentally dumping an entire container of apple pie on a student six years my senior—a trauma from which I have never fully recovered.)
These Double Chocolate Lunchbox Bites have all the appeal of my old Fudgee-Os, but without all the sugar and other unmentionables. Whole grains, healthy fats and protein are rolled into a sweet little nut-free no-bake healthy energy bite that will fuel your little guy or gal through a busy school day. Even if it’s the only thing she eats.
This recipe is relatively adaptable, so you can use whatever you have on hand. If your school doesn’t have any nut restrictions, you could swap out the sunflower seeds for almonds and the sunflower seed butter for a nut butter. If you can’t get your hands on hemp hearts, try chia seeds or flax seeds. And honey could likely stand in nicely for the maple syrup.
I recommend storing these in the freezer; they will keep their shape and freshness that way. Just pop them into your kid’s lunchbox in the morning, and they will be soft and chocolatey by snack time.
- ½ cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
- 1 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ cup sunflower seed butter
- ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
- Pinch of sea salt
- Use a food processor, coffee grinder or nutri-bullet to coarsely grind the sunflower seeds. (You should just pulse it a few times, so that you are left with some whole seeds and some broken seeds.)
- Dump the ground sunflower seeds into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and stir well to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator to set slightly. This will take about half an hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the mixture from the fridge and use your hands to roll it into approximately 1 inch balls. Place the balls on the parchment-lined baking sheet and put the sheet into the fridge until the balls are very firm.
- Transfer the balls to a large freezer-safe container, with parchment paper between each layer.
- Pack a couple of frozen balls in a lunch box and they will be chewy and chocolatey by snack time!