This is the year I start making Harlow lunch to take to school every day, and while I love being in control of what she's eating, it gets exhausting coming up with different options that she'll eat and that give her all the nutrients she needs on a daily basis. Protein can be especially difficult to come by after you've exhausted chicken and quesadillas and she's not allowed to have nuts or nut butter in her school. As luck would have it, I came by this handy list of mix-and-match lunch ideas from Parents Magazine and they suggested chickpeas as a great protein option.
Harlow already loves hummus but honestly it's not as wholesome of a dip as I'd like it to be. The calories can be high while the protein runs way lower than I thought. My BFF told me awhile back that making your own hummus sans tahini is a great way to eliminate a lot of the unwanted calories so I started experimenting and found this great hummus recipe that includes avocado!
1 | AVOCADO HUMMUS
Making this hummus is super simple. I use a whole can of chickpeas to one avocado but if you want a more avocado-y, creamy texture then you can cut back the amount of chickpeas you use. I love the flavor of chickpeas myself but I also want to maximize the amount of protein in my hummus hence using the whole can.
1-15 oz can chickpeas, water drained into separate bowl
1 avocado, diced
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbls olive oil
Combine all ingredients into your food processor. Before you blend, add about 1/4 to a 1/3 cup of the retained chickpea water. Go ahead and blend the ingredients and add more of the chickpea water to get your desired consistency. I usually add 1/3 to mine. You can use plain water, too, if you prefer or if you accidentally throw away the chickpea water. Top with paprika to give it a little color and extra flavor.
2 | ROASTED CHICKPEAS
A new chickpea-based snack we're loving in our household are roasted chickpeas! They are absolutely addictive, giving you that perfect crunch and salty flavor while providing way more nutrition than a potato chip. Parents Magazine specifically suggested packing roasted chickpeas in a kid's lunch box so we did a taste test with Harlow to see if she'd eat them -- and she did!
This recipe could not be easier and can be adjusted to your preferred spice level.
1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained
2 tbls olive oil
Cayenne Pepper (optional, not recommended for young children)
Preheat oven to 450. Combine ingredients and toss together, then spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned. Begin checking at 25 minutes to prevent burning even if you cook for longer.