Fueling Growing Minds with the Ultimate Kid-Approved School Lunches!
Kids can be picky, especially when it comes to a packed lunch. And, let’s be honest, school lunches take a lot of prep. When the kids were in grade school, more mornings than I care to admit, I found myself running to the cafe before the bell rang to grab the kids a BLT, fresh squeezed OJ and an oatmeal cookie. (Yes, it’s handy having your own cafe 100 meters from your house!) It took me years to hone a schedule of lunches that fit the bill for both my kids. Now, they’re off to uni and to Grade 11 and I want to share my ‘lunchbox learnings’ with you.
So, if you’re reaching for the panic button thinking about school lunches, read on to discover mouthwatering combos that not only pass the taste test but will also make you feel good about their nutritional value. I generally focus on ‘the main’ aspect of the lunch - round out with the fruit/veg or sweet of choice. This rotation will take you through two weeks….
1. Cheese & Charcuterie - Kid Style:
Mary’s Organic crackers, cheddar cheese cubes, and deli meat slices (my kids LOVE prosciutto) Perfect for ‘’grazers’.
2. Jamaican Patty:
Introduce the flavours of the Caribbean with savoury Jamaican patties filled with spiced meat or veggies, wrapped in a flaky pastry crust. Easy to eat and a fan favourite among teens. Our fave are STUSH patties as they are all natural.
3. Cheese Quesadilla:
Folded whole wheat tortillas with melted cheese and mild salsa. Keep it simple or add diced cooked chicken, sweetcorn, black beans or all three (season with a hint of cumin, salt & pepper). Include a side o’ sour cream for dippin’.
4. Pesto Pasta with Parmesan:
Warm or cold, throw in some cherry tomatoes or smoked bacon for a satisfying and nutritious lunch.
- NOTE: If you’re planning a pasta dinner, make extra so you have leftovers for lunch and can vary your weekly pasta option.
5. Veggie Samosas:
Serve delicious veggie samosas filled with a flavorful mix of vegetables and spices. Serve with a sweet mango chutney.
6. Rainbow Wraps:
Green wraps with hummus, turkey, havarti and arugula (or whatever filling is their favourite).
7. Sausage Rolls:
Defrost a roll of puff pastry, then fry or bake breakfast sausages and let cool. Wrap the sausage in puff pastry and cook as per instructions. For the more mature palate, I add a schmear of Dijon mustard inside the puff pastry.
8. Mac 'n' Cheese* Muffins:
Bake individual servings of macaroni and cheese in muffin tins for a handheld twist on a classic favourite. Pair with a refreshing fruit kabob. These also double-down as a hearty after-school snack.
9. Daisy’s Slam Dunk:
A Country Ham & Spring Onion Buttermilk biscuit with some cherry tomatoes on the side, a nut-free granola bar, and mandarin orange segments for dessert.
10. Daisy’s Delectable Duo:
Two Mini Rosemary and cheddar Buttermilk biscuits with organic blueberries, sweet mini peppers, hummus, and an oatmeal cookie cover all the food groups!
The key is to make lunch exciting and not routine. Because no one wants to eat the same thing day in and day out. Include a mix of colours, textures, and food groups to make the lunch visually appealing (and nutritious!). If push comes to shove and you don’t have any gas in the proverbial tank, head over to Lazy Daisy’s Cafe. We’ll get your kids’ lunch packed up in a flash (and don’t forget the parental coffee to get your own engine running!) Other ideas not to be shunned…
Mini Pita Pizzas:
Load mini whole wheat pitas with tomato sauce, cheese, and favourite toppings, then bake until bubbly. Cool in the fridge overnight.
Bagels, Cream Cheese & Cucumber:
I keep loads of bagels in the freezer and pull out and toast as needed
Create mini burgers using lean ground meat or veggie patties, served on slider buns with a side of carrot sticks.