Fall lunch­box in­spi­ra­tion

The Queens County Advance - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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