Back to School Lunch Ideas that Pack a Punch with Registered Dietician Megan Wallace 

Sep 5, 2023

It’s official! 

School children are back in the classroom and for parents that means the daily routine of lunch making has also begun! To help parents make lunch easier, Community Natural Foods asked Registered Dietician, Megan Wallace with Sprout Nutrition, to offer her tips and tricks for packing nutritious lunches that are anything but mundane! Megan’s top three tips are to: 


1. Power up with Protein

2. Help kiddos eat with their eyes

3. Theme your days!

 

Power up with Protein

Megan loves all the different flavours of hummus that Community Natural Foods offers in its grab and go food section. She especially loves Community’s hemp seed hummus for double the protein! Roasted Chickpeas have tonnes of crunch and there are so many flavours at Community available! Greek Yogurt is wonderfully rich and full of protein! Add fresh fruit, protein rich granola, and dribble a little bit of maple syrup to make it delectable for kids! 

Sunbutter is a peanut free option with a wonderful flavour that closely matches peanut butter, but works so well for all those peanut free school environments. Add a little jam or spread it on apples, celery or between two rich slices of protein rich bread! Megan loves hard boiled eggs or serving up some edamame

Chickpea pasta is one of Megan’s favourites for making a protein rich lunch that will keep kids full all day long! 

Traffic Light Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

250 gram Chickpea Pasta

1 cup (250g) edamame, thawed

250 gram cherry tomatoes

125 gram cheddar cheese, cubed

2 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1/4 cup (60ml) mayonnaise based salad dressing

lemon juice 

salt and pepper

Everything bagel seasoning

Cook then cool your chickpea pasta - mix all ingredients together and serve! It’s so good and packs a huge protein punch!  

 

Eat with the Eyes

Help your kiddos eat with their eyes! Megan loves a bento style lunch kit to keep foods separated and interesting! We all eat with our keys! We love colour and textures so mix it up! Bright coloured fruit, crisp veggies cut into interesting shapes, allows kids to play a bit with their food - to explore it and make their own choices about how they eat lunch. 

One of Megan’s favourite ideas is the deconstructed sandwich!  

This deconstructed sandwich is perfect for kids to enjoy all the pieces of a sandwich but allows them to eat it in separate pieces as they like! Add a mix of colours and textures, meats and cheeses!

Deconstructed Sandwich

Ingredients:

Whole grain or Pumpernickel bread cut into squares

Cherry tomatoes - sliced 

Turkey sandwich meat - single slices folded

Marble cheese - cubed 

Cucumber - sliced

Add each piece of bread on either side of a skewer with a combination of organic turkey with a combination of veggies and cheese cubes to make your choice of deconstructed sandwich! Choose different colours 

 

Theming your day

The hardest part for many parents is coming up with lunch ideas but Megan suggests theming your days! Planning a theme for each day of the week simplifies making lunches. Pick a day to serve sandwiches, wraps, pasta salad and even breakfast for lunch! 

 

Whole Wheat Pancakes and Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

Eggs

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Milk

Egg

Berries

Bles World Yogurt

Hemp seed and or granola

Make mini pancakes according to directions. Assemble a 'breakfast themed' lunch box bento style! Pancakes and syrup, greek yogurt, fruit and granola with sprinkles to make it fun! Orange slices!

 

But most of all have fun with lunch making!  

 

Here are a couple extra recipes to add to your repertoire that incorporate all Megan’s tips and tricks! Happy Back to School!

 

Rainbow Sushis 

1 cup red pepper hummus or cream cheese

8 whole-wheat tortillas

1 red bell pepper, cut in sticks

1 large carrot, cut in sticks

1 1/2 c (45 g) spinach or romaine lettuce, chopped

1 cucumber, cut in sticks

 

Spread hummus or cream cheese thinly on one side of the tortillas.

Add a thin layer of the vegetables across two thirds of each tortilla.

Roll up each tortilla.

Slice into about 5 individual rolls per tortilla.


Sunbutter Energy Bites

 ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats

1 Tablespoon flaxseed

1 Tablespoon chia seeds or hemp seeds

2 Tablespoons raisins

2 Tablespoons chocolate chips

pinch of sea salt

½ cup sunflower seed butter

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

In a large bowl, mix together oats, chia seeds, flaxseed, raisins, chocolate chips and sea salt. Add sunbutter and maple syrup and mix everything together.

Using a spoon (or your hands) combine the mixture thoroughly and roll into small balls. You should be able to make around 11-12.



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