We’re into the third week of Senior Kindergarten here, and I’m already running out of lunch ideas. And G-Girl only goes every other day. So technically today was only her 7th day of school. How the heck do you people with kids who need to pack a lunch every day do it? Seven whole days and I’m already sick of making lunches? I think I’m in trouble here.
Thankfully Metro has teamed up with Celebrity Chef Donna Dooher to provide some lunch packing tips and recipes. I gave Chef Donna Dooher’s Tortilla Sushi recipe a test run, and it was a success. It was quick and simple to make, both kids enjoyed eating it, and G-Girl was happy to see me packing it in her school lunch.
Here’s the recipe:
4 – 8 inch Irresistibles Life Smart tortilla wraps
1 cup Life Smart hummus
2 carrots, shredded
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
Lay tortillas flat and spread evenly with hummus.
Place the vegetables down half the tortilla.
Sprinkle chopped spinach over the vegetables.
Roll up tortilla snugly.
Cut into 1 ½ inch slices and serve.
This is an incredibly versatile technique. You can use whole wheat, flour tortillas or a gluten-free option. The sky’s the limit on the fillings; chopped leftover chicken mixed with tzatziki can be added and you can substitute the hummus with baba ghanoush or your kids’ favourite spread or dip.
I loved the idea of sushi roll ups. As the recipe suggests it’s so easy to play around with this, and use whatever ingredients your children like best. We ended up filling ours with sliced ham from the Metro deli, tomato wedges, and slices of avocado. Delicious. The small cut up sushi sized pieces were not only fun for the kids but also easier (and less messy!) for little mouths to eat. Next time I want to try something even more sushi like for fillings. I think imitation crab and avocado would taste pretty darn good with hummus and tortilla wrap.
Check out these lunch preparation tips for further inspiration:
Tips for preparing cost-effective lunches:
Keep it simple – To save money and make lunches while on a time crunch focus on nutrient dense foods high in fibre. Simple fresh ingredients always taste the best and are the healthiest!
Purchase in bulk – When shopping for lunch snacks like yoghurt or cottage cheese, buying the large container and dividing it into reusable containers each day will be friendly to your wallet and our environment.
Choose Private Label Brands – An easy way to cut down the grocery bill is to opt for private label brands carried at your grocer. For Metro consider Irresistibles or Selection. You won’t have to sacrifice taste or quality but you’ll notice the difference at the cash register.
Tips for when you are on a time-crunch:
Ask for help – Allowing the kids to help make their own lunches not only provides them with an understanding of what goes into a well balanced meal, it provides you with an extra set of hands in the kitchen to help speed up the process!
Prepare ahead of time – If you’ve got a busy week ahead, take some time on Sunday evening to chop veggies and fruits so they are ready to divvy up into reusable containers in the mornings when the family is in a rush.
The power of a team – Get a group of parents together once a month or even start a group email to trade ideas and tips. Your kids are more likely to eat their lunch and not swap it when all their friends are also eating something similar.
Tips for healthy options:
Dips – Having something to dip fruit and veggies in always makes it more enjoyable. Hummus, spinach and roasted red pepper dips are delicious and easy to store. A small container is a perfect accompaniment to cut up vegetables, whole grain breads and crackers.
Portion Control – Keep portions in mind to avoid waste and overeating. When making your kids’ lunch, try the Irresistibles Life Smart loafs or bagels. Not only do they help with portion control, they are packed with beta glucan, which is proven to reduce cholesterol and boost the immune system!
Fruits and vegetables – If your kids are resistant to fresh produce, have them participate in the buying process. Make your grocery run a family outing and educate everyone on seasonal produce. Eating an apple is much more fun when you’ve picked it out!
o Include fresh fruit but don’t shy away from a small treat. Even if your child eats this first, it will whet their appetite and entice them to finish the rest of their lunch
Healthy compliments – Try to work in protein like chickpeas and lentils as a compliment to the dish instead of the main ingredient to ensure a balanced diet that young taste buds won’t shy away from
Tips for a variety filled lunch:
Make it fun – To keep the kids interested, play with flavours and experiment. Expert Chef Donna Dooher suggests making fruit kabobs, or adding honey to cream cheese and topping with raisins for a tasty cracker spread. Cream cheese or cheese spread on celery is an easy solution to the no peanut butter rule in schools.
o Create your signature dishes with your kids and give them a fun name; when food comes with a story, kids get excited about eating. Think along the lines of toast soldiers or ants on a log
Mix up the staples – If your munchkins are tired of traditional sandwiches, try swapping out sliced bread for Irresistibles Life Smart bagels, tortillas, raisin bread or pita pockets for a quick fix and a little variety.
Spice up leftovers – Metro knows how hard it can be to come up with dinner options for your picky eaters. By mixing up dinner leftovers into creative lunch options you can save on waste and provide a different lunch every day of the week. Donna Dooher suggests transforming chicken breast and boiled potatoes into a chicken Caesar wrap with tasty hash browns for a lunch your kids will crave.
For additional recipes and family meal-time tips visit facebook.com/metro.ontario
Need a little further lunchtime help and inspiration?
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