Looking to switch up the lunchboxes? Try these Veggie Mac & Cheese Bites! Perfect to make on a Sunday prep day for a whole weeks worth of lunches.
It’s that time of year again: Back to School! I feel like summer just began…because it did! We got out of school on June 15th and now, two months later, we’re headed back next week. To be honest, starting earlier was kind of a blessing since I have a nocturnal newborn–once I drop the kiddos off at school next week, I’ll be napping during the day!
My typically adventurous eaters have started to become picky lately and I’ve been searching for delicious, yet simple ideas for their lunchboxes. What is so bad about crust, kiddos? Oy! These mac & cheese bites are filled with veggies and perfect when they’re not super warm. The girls tested these out last week and they loved them!
Our biggest issue with lunches is the time limits–I have 3 slow eating chatty Cathys, so I need something filling that they can quickly eat. Pairing these mac bites with a fiber filled fruit salad and milk is both nutritious and filling enough to hold them over until after-school snacks. Win-win!
Instead of traditional macaroni noodles, we used radiatore which have tons of nooks and crannies for the cheesy sauce. Use whatever you have on hand! Medium or small shells are great, too.
Veggie Mac & Cheese Lunchbox Bites
Switch up your lunchbox with these fun veggie filled mac & cheese bites!
- 3/4 cup white onion
- 2 medium carrots peeled
- 5 florets Eat Smart broccoli
- 1.5 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
- 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Earthbound Farm Organic spinach
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound shaped pasta, cooked as directed We used radiatore, but elbow noodles are great too!
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350º
In a chopper, puree carrot, onion, broccoli and spinach until smooth. Set aside.
Using a medium bowl, mix colby jack & mozzarella (save about 1/2 cup of cheese for topping), egg, butter and olive oil. Add warm pasta and pureed veggies. Mix to incorporate.
Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Spoon in macaroni mixture. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until brown.
Adapted from this Produce for Kids recipe.
Every year, I collaborate with Produce for Kids for their awesome campaigns. From now to September 22, you can take #PowerYourLunchbox pledge…plus find over 50 recipes like the one above! They’e raised nearly $60,000 for Feeding America®–each online pledge earns a $1 donation.
This year’s partners are:
- Avocados from Mexico
- Bee Sweet Citrus
- Crispy Green®
- Eat Smart
- Earthbound Farm®
- Eric Carle®
- Pero Family Farms
- Sun World®
- Vegy Vida®
Other ways to participate:
- Take the pledge as a classroom. Elementary and preschool classrooms who take the pledge can pledge on behalf of all the students in their class, and access fun free classroom resources.
- Show off healthy lunchboxes on social media. Produce for Kids’ Instagram and Twitter followers can use the #PowerYourLunchbox hashtag to show off their healthy lunchboxes to have their lunchboxes featured on the Produce for Kids Facebook page.
- Party with Produce for Kids on Twitter. Parents looking for even more tips and resources for healthy lunchboxes are invited to join Produce for Kids and partner companies at the #PowerYourLunchbox Twitter party on August 17 at 4 pm ET. The party is Produce for Kids’ most popular party of the year! Families can win prizes including Eric Carle lunchboxes.
What do you pack in lunch boxes? Share your tips and tricks below! Don’t forget to take the pledge!