As the school year wears on, the job of packing lunches need not become a chore
BY KATHY ROMSES, RD
Need inspiration for school lunches? You can keep lunches fun and tasty by including foods that allow family members to personalize their choices. Use reusable containers and let family members choose the items they want to pack in their lunch. Children will be more likely to eat the lunches they have packed for themselves.
- Salsa and Chips – try the recipes shown below for Fresh Tomato Salsa with Tortilla Chips
- Build Your Own Tacos – soft whole wheat tortillas, shredded cooked chicken or refried beans, thinly sliced red or yellow pepper, salsa
- Rolling Wraps – whole wheat tortilla, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, chopped roasted vegetables, hummus or cooked meat or cooked chicken, mustard or mayonnaise
- Pita Pockets – cut whole wheat pita pockets in half and offer a variety of fillings
- Tomato and Pasta Salad – halved cherry tomatoes, cooked pasta, cubes of cheese, canned tuna or salmon and your favourite dressing
- Salad Rolls – Dip rice paper wrappers in warm water to soften and fill with rice noodles, grated carrot, chopped cucumber, cooked meat or poultry or shrimp, and chopped basil or cilantro
- Granola, Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits – pack granola, chopped fruit and yogurt in separate containers and combine just before eating
- Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip – variety of chopped fruits, e.g., melon balls, grapes (cut in half for small children to prevent choking), berries
- Veggie Dippers – sliced, raw vegetables or pita for with hummus for dipping
Tips to keep lunches and snacks safe to eat
- Wash your hands before preparing or eating food
- Prepare foods on a clean surface with clean utensils
- Wash fruits and vegetables
- Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot
- Keep cold foods in the fridge until you leave home
- Use an insulated lunch bag with a small ice pack or frozen container of water for foods that need to stay cold
- Pack hot foods in a thermos, fill with boiling water and let it stand for a few minutes before filling
- Do not reuse foods that can cause food illness (e.g., meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk products) that are not eaten from a packed lunch
Fresh Tomato Salsa
3 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 roasted red pepper, skinned and chopped
75 ml (1/3 cup) finely chopped, red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
60 ml (1/4 cup) chopped, fresh cilantro
10 ml (2 tsp) lime or lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, roasted pepper, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and lime or lemon juice. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator before serving to let the flavours combine.
10 25-cm (10-inch) tortilla
Canola oil or melted butter
Seasoning to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Brush one side of each tortilla with canola oil or melted butter. Sprinkle tortillas with your favourite seasoning e.g., chipotle chilli pepper. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes.
Kathy Romses is a registered dietitian at Evergreen Community Health Centre.
Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News