A Lovable Lunch

Whenever lunchtime rolls around, students are always looking for a way to get something good to eat. But too many times we find ourselves headed to fast food places around the neighborhood.

Did you ever think about maybe trying something different that doesn’t cost you a penny and you don’t even have to drive anywhere? Also, there are a lot of healthier options.

On a weekend, reserve a half an hour of time. Gather your materials and make these granola bites, along with the sandwich and fruit salad. Put them in the fridge and bring them to school the next day. Hopefully your Monday will be a little bit better and a whole lot tastier.

Fruit Salad

For the fruit salad, take advantage of whatever foods you have nearby. This is your chance to clear out any spare fruit in your kitchen or your yard. Strike a deal with a neighbor who grows fruit if you don’t have any yourself.

Recently, I took a walk around my neighborhood and remembered the family living next door had an abundance of blueberry bushes in their backyard. They were happy to let me pick their berries in exchange for some fresh fruit salad.

Fill your bowl with the last of the summer fruits while you still can: this means berries, melons, peaches, plums and apricots.

For mine, I mixed an apple and a banana with my neighbor’s blueberries. These are fruits we always have too much of at my house, plus their varying soft and crispiness makes for a good balance.

Cut up a sufficient amount into bite-sized pieces and store them in a plastic container that won’t flatten or tear while tumbling around in your backpack. Sprinkle a tablespoon of lemon juice over the dish; the acidity will keep fruit fresh until lunchtime.

What you need:

bananas

apples

blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

(and anything else
you’d like)

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Sandwich

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches got old in middle school. I’ve started alternating those with the classic ham and cheese, but lasting throughout this school year might not be the way to go. One morning, while desperate to try something new on my typical boring sandwiches, I grabbed the first thing I saw: a jar of pesto. This new addition to my old sandwich regimen gave me a lunch to look forward to.

If you have time, toasting the bread for about a minute adds some crunch. Spread a thin layer of pesto on one slice of bread. Pesto is a creamy blend of basil, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic. Usually, people eat pesto on pasta.

As it turns out, its savory tang makes it the perfect sandwich condiment. Add some mayonnaise, a slice of turkey, Swiss cheese and arugula onto one piece of bread. Arugula adds a mustardy flavor that blends well with the pesto, plus it’s full of antioxidants and iron. However, you can still replace arugula with baby kale or spinach if you want to lessen the sharp taste.

What you need:

whole wheat sandwich bread

basil pesto

mayonnaise

turkey

swiss cheese

arugula

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Whole wheat granola bites

These granola bites are at a halfway point between granola and cookie dough. They’re chocolaty and creamy, but are still packed with the benefits of whole-wheat oatmeal. I’ve always loved oatmeal cookies but they take a long time to make and don’t keep well over long periods of time. These bites are so simple and quick to make that in only 15 minutes you’ll have enough dessert for a week.

In a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, milk and vanilla extract. Feel free to substitute the peanut butter and milk with alternatives if you have dietary restrictions. I like to mix up this dish with almond butter on occasion. It has a lighter, sweeter flavor that’s interesting if you want to try something new.

Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds or until completely melted. Stir in the rest of the ingredients slowly. Expect the mixture to be a lot dryer than cookie dough. The original recipe calls for raisins, but if you’re one of the many afflicted with raisin-phobia, you can mix it up.

Look through your pantry for any leftover sweets. I divided my mixture into thirds and added white chocolate chips, chopped cashews and raisins as toppings to each part.

Spoon bite sized portions onto a plate. Put them in the refrigerator for 10 minutes until they harden, and enjoy!

What you need:

4  tablespoons of chocolate chips

4 tablespoons of peanut butter

3 tablespoons milk

1 ½ cups old fashioned oatmeal

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons topping of your choice

½ cup shredded coconut

Yield: 12 cookies

Time: 15 minutes

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Amber Burkhart
About
After living in three different continents before she reached second grade, Amber Burkhart moved to Portland, Oregon, where she and her family found themselves at home. The diversity of her travels has led to her diverse set of interests. It's Amber's second year on Grant Magazine. But when she's not pulling news stories or profiles for the Magazine, she's also involved in constitution team, cross country and the annual One-Acts.

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