It’s fall and school is in full swing. Growing children have additional nutritional needs to meet for growth, development apart from regular wear and tear and maintenance of body organs. It is important to send a variety of healthy, substantial and appetizing foods to school as kids spend at least half their waking time at school. A little bit of planning, shopping and prepping can go a long way for packing kids lunches.
Here are some useful suggestions to send your kids lunches they will eat and enjoy:
1. Plan ahead and make a list of lunch box foods including fruits, vegetables, fruit juice, cheese, yogurt, milk, crackers, cookies and other ingredients.
2. Shop for ingredients from the list, preferably before the week starts, on weekends.
3. Prep ingredients – cut, chop, slice, and store fruits and vegetables in individually portioned boxes.
4. Make a list of plan-ahead recipes and/ or instant, quick recipes and use them throughout the week.
5. Invest in good quality, leak-proof containers, cold and hot packs and lunch bags to pack school lunches in.
Plan-ahead recipes can be make the previous night and stored, like zucchini and banana muffins, stews or chili, cornbread, breads and rolls, dips like hummus.
Quick recipes like quesadillas, pasta with veggies, fried rice, sandwiches, mini pita pizzas, burritos and wraps, and whole grain blueberry pancakes may be made and packed just before going to school.
I like to add a note with a message or a riddle to my kids’ lunch bags – as a special touch.
Here is a simple and delicious recipe for veggie sushi.
Recipe: Veggie Sushi Bites
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Number of servings: 8-10 bites, enough for 1 kid
– 1 sheet nori seaweed
– ¼ – ½ cup cooked calrose or sushi rice
– 6 strips of julliened carrots
– 6 strips of julliened cucumber
– 6 strips of julienned avocados
– 6 strips of julienned red bell pepper
– 1 tbsp rice vinegar or to taste
– ½ tsp sugar
– Salt to taste
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– A few pieces of pickled ginger (optional)
1. Mix vinegar, salt and sugar together.
2. Add the vinegar mixture to the cooled, cooked rice and set aside the rice.
3. Take the nori sheet and spread a thin layer of rice on it, pressing the rice to the sheet.
4. Arrange the julienned vegetables in a line on one end of the sheet on top of the rice.
5. Roll the nori sheet with rice and vegetables, and once the vegetables are covered with the nori, compress the sheet slightly and roll the rest of the sheet tightly.
6. Seal the roll using a little water and slice into sushi bites using a knife.
7. Drizzle with soy sauce and top with pieces of pickled ginger if desired. Pack the sushi bites in the lunch box.
For more lunchbox recipe ideas, click here.