Before School Breakfast and School Lunch Ideas:
By Christina Ossa
Volume 2 Issue 4
February 10, 2022
Original photography by Christina Ossa
The hard work that we devote to school often causes us to skip meals, becoming too caught up with school work or other responsibilities. But, not surprisingly, eating three meals a day is crucial to not only your physical health but your mental health as well. While it’s understandable that some of us may skip meals throughout the day, this is a gentle recommendation for you to try cooking simple meals for yourself. These small, simple meals I’ll provide for you are low maintenance and would only take 5-10 minutes of your time. Instead of ignoring breakfast because you were up late studying or finishing assignments, wake up 5 or 10 minutes earlier to pack yourself a snack or a proper meal for lunch! Even if you may not have time in the morning (which is also understandable), you should make an attempt to cook yourself a quick breakfast using these recipes as a guide. Food provides crucial nutrition and nourishment for our bodies, so if you neglect to eat, this would not only cause you to feel faint throughout the day (lack of energy) but diminish your motivation, drive, and willpower while doing your work. So, to help you, here are some recipes for snacks, breakfasts, and lunches that I personally take to school or make at home nearly every day!
The Elevated Ham and Cheese Sandwich:
While many of our parents may have packed this lunch for us, solely ham and cheese in a sandwich is pretty dull. So, to spice up the classic ham and cheese sandwich, I also add a special mayonnaise that would only take 5-10 minutes to prep a batch. Each batch lasts multiple days (ranging from 5-7 depending on how many sandwiches you take for lunch), and the simple addition of spiced condiments makes a world of difference. Adding lettuce, which you can pre-wash for the week on a Sunday afternoon/night, and tomatoes or any desired vegetables you may want on your sandwich also brings a great addition to flavor. The addition of vegetables to your sandwiches also benefits you nutritionally since a simple ham and cheese sandwich would only provide minimal nutrition compared to an “elevated” meat and cheese sandwich. Adding other meats to a ham and cheese sandwich, like turkey, salami, or roast beef, also elevates the complexity of the sandwich. This provides more nutritional value and, most importantly, makes the sandwich taste much better. Also, instead of using white bread (though it may be simple to use), I recommend using a higher quality bread to give the sandwich a more flavorful taste. White bread is pretty plain, but replacing it for bread like baguettes or rolls from a local bakery is more interesting. It not only gives your sandwich more nutritional value (since white bread is not very good for you) but also supports local bakeries and bread shops. Also, instead of defaulting to American cheese for your cheese of choice, try something different that might taste good with your sandwich! Multiple kinds of cheese go well with this sandwich, such as cheddar, Muenster, or pepper-jack. The simplicity of ham and cheese on bread is a good base for a sandwich. Still, with the addition of the items I listed, you’d not only receive more nutrition from your sandwich but appreciate and enjoy eating it much more.
Add-Ons to Sandwich:
-Meat(s): Ham, Roast Beef, Turkey, Salami, etc. -Vegetables: Lettuce, Spinach, Tomatoes, etc.
-Higher Quality Bread (Rolls, Baguette, etc.) -Cheese of Choice
-½ tbsp Mustard -1 tsp Horseradish (optional)
-5 tsp Hot Sauce (optional if you dislike hot sauce) -1 tsp pepper
-½ tbsp Honey/Brown Sugar (melted) -1 ½ cups Mayonnaise
-If you don’t have honey, then you can also use brown sugar by melting it carefully (over medium-low heat) in a pot
-Add all ingredients to a small bowl, combine, then use when evenly combined
-Cut a loaf/piece of bread in half, toast it if you like your bread toasted (if you have time, of course)
-Spread the mayo across both sides of the sandwich, if you like large amounts of mayo on your sandwiches, spread spoonfuls/heapings of mayo
-First, add your meat of choice to the bottom piece of the bread, then layer on a slice of cheese (whichever you prefer!) as a second layer
-Next, add your washed vegetable of choice firmly on top of the other layers
-Top the sandwich with the top piece of bread and enjoy!
Peanut-Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats:
This meal is perfect for an overnight-prepped breakfast, especially if you barely have time to make breakfast in the morning. You can prep this meal the night or even for the week on a Sunday before school if you make large amounts of this recipe. It provides perfect nutrition, powering you for school each morning since oats are an excellent food source. Also, even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can easily sub out regular milk and yogurt for plant-based milk and yogurt. Peanut Butter (or, if you prefer, Almond Butter) is also a great source of protein, and the more thick texture of the peanut butter pairs perfectly well with the liquid consistency of the milk and oats. While chocolate may not provide the most nutrition from the ingredients in this recipe, chocolate can actually be a great source of antioxidants since chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) contains antioxidants called flavonoids. Chocolate eaten in moderation gives excellent health benefits and nutrition for our body, and the plus side is that it also tastes fantastic and adds a significant depth of flavor to the oats and peanut butter. The sweetness of the chocolate also offsets the gooey texture of the peanut butter, combining perfectly with the oat mixture. Eating breakfast in the morning may seem optional or unnecessary since it seemingly doesn’t affect us much throughout the day. Still, breakfast is a crucial base for your energy while attending school. And, if you want a low-maintenance breakfast that will not only satisfy your hunger but provide energy and nutrition to last you through the day, then this recipe is perfect for you!
-1 cup Oats -1 cup Milk (you can also use plant-based milk)
-½ cup Yogurt (or plant-based yogurt) -2 tbsp Honey
-4 tbsp Peanut/Almond Butter -½ A Chopped Chocolate Bar or ½ cup chocolate chips
-Grab a small bowl (or large/medium based on batch size) and add your oats, milk, yogurt, and honey
-Transfer to a correctly sized mason jar or plastic/glass container, place in the fridge overnight
-The next morning, add the peanut/almond butter and chocolate chips/chocolate bar (you could use dark chocolate or milk, whatever you prefer)
-Combine with a spoon and enjoy!