Healthy back to school lunchbox desserts

Michele Borboa, MS

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Make your favorite student these healthy back to school lunchbox desserts – they are budget-friendly, loaded with wholesome ingredients and can be baked in 40 minutes or less.

Carrot Cupcakes with Citrus Glaze recipe

 A tasty way to sneak more vegetables into your kiddo's lunchbox, these carrot cupcakes boast warm spices, a moist crumb and a zesty sweet glaze. For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in carrots and orange zest.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.
  5. To make the glaze, whisk together sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cupcakes.


Almond Butter Cookies recipe

With peanut allergies looming in every classroom and perhaps even in your own home, almond butter (processed in a facility that does not process peanuts) is a safe substitute for these nut butter cookies. Made with wholesome ingredients, this recipe freezes well so you can always have homemade cookies ready to pack in your kids' back to school lunch. Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth almond butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, ginger and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat almond butter, sugar and butter until smooth. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture, beating to combine.
  4. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Using a fork, press balls in a crisscross pattern, flattening to a 1/2-inch thickness.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly golden and just set. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Store completely cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


Blueberry Snack Cake recipe


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled, cubed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries*


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside 3/4 cup for topping.
  3. Beat milk and egg yolks into remaining mixture until well combined. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into batter.
  4. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle with blueberries and reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

*If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw before use.

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Michele Borboa, MS
Michele Borboa, MS is a contributing editor for specializing in health, fitness, and all things food. She is a veteran health and fitness professional, personal chef, and mom in Bozeman, Montana. She is also the author of the time-saving cookbook Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy (Fair Winds Press, July 2011). You can contact Michele at or give her a tweet at