Fall lunchbox inspiration
With summer coming to an end, it is time to get out of vacation mode and get back into our regular routines.
For parents, this means back to packing kids lunches. It is a task that many dread.
Adults can also get bored with packing their own lunches for work, but you can think outside the sandwich box to switch up your routine and get started on a new and better one.
Healthy lunches don’t have to be boring. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel, just use classic ideas with twists. Instead of a traditional sandwich, try sandwich kebabs or switching up traditional sliced sandwich bread for pita bread. Sometimes a small change every now and then is enough for children to enjoy their lunch.
Getting yourself and your family organized is the first step to packing lunches. Meal preparation at the beginning of the week can help make packing lunches quick and simple.
For example, batch cook foods like eggs, pasta, rice and proteins so that they are already in your fridge and ready to use for whatever you decide to make for lunches.
Or, when you are cooking supper, just cook extra for the next day. Leftovers can be reinvented into wraps, or try some of the other options outlined below.
A tip to keep in mind when making lunches is to include foods from at least three of the four food groups from Canada’s Food Guide. This will result in a filling and balanced meal.
Here are five easy lunch ideas that are good for all ages: leftovers by mixing together leftover chicken, high-fibre penne pasta, veggies such as spinach, cucumber and peppers, cubed cheese and a vinaigrette. Switch up the ingredient combinations and dressings for different flavours, like Italian or Asian. your favourite finger foods for a quick snack-like lunch! Keep it balanced by choosing one fruit, two veggies, one grain and one protein option, for example: grapes, whole grain crackers or pita bread, and veggie sticks with hummus cheese, tuna or a hard-boiled egg. jars are a practical way for packing salads that will stay fresh for the week. Layer the ingredients starting with the base of vinaigrette, then the most stable ingredients like proteins, then adding the most delicate ingredients, like greens, on top. There are countless combinations that are anything but boring. with a base of the grain of your choice, like rice or quinoa, and top with vegetables, protein, and extras like cheese, avocado, or salsa. The Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad below is a great example of a flavourful salad that you could prepare for the week. Add chickpeas, lentils or chicken to make this a more filling meal. breads, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese and chicken and get kids to assemble their own healthy pizza lunch. Serve with veggie sticks and fruit for a balanced meal.
When you are packing lunches for your kids, involve them as much as possible in the lunch-making process and they will be more apt to eat it without complaints. Stephanie Gagnon is a Professional Dietitian Candidate with Atlantic Superstore in Yarmouth.