School is back in session which means that it is time to break out the lunch boxes, bags and thermoses and get back into a lunch packing routine. Many of these recipes can be made for dinner then sent as leftovers the next day. You can also make a bigger batch and portion some for future use. Here are some great ideas for delicious, vegetable and fruit-filled meals to set your child up for a day of success at school.
1. Veggie Quiches and Frittatas
Baked egg dishes are terrific for busy weeknights and for lunch boxes: they come together quickly and pack protein and vegetables into every single bite. Leftovers are delicious warmed up or at room temperature the next day. This Roasted Vegetable Frittata recipe features bell peppers and zucchini which are all at their peak this season which will make lunch even tastier. Or try making these Mini Spinach and Cheese Vegetable Quiches that are cooked in muffin cups. Not only are they a quick and easy option, but also make a great freezer item to be reheated later for a quick snack.
2. Pancakes and French Toast cups
Opening up a lunchbox to find pancakes or French toast cups is a nice surprise and an unexpected break from regular lunch fare. Kids will get their fill of fruit with these delicious recipes. This recipe for Gluten-Free Pancakes with Berry Compote will bring a smile to your kids face and have them gobble up every single bite. Just make sure to pack the compote separately from the pancakes. And don’t hesitate to throw in this Kids’ Smoothie in an insulated bottle to go along with this lunch.
French toast cups also make a fun alternative to traditional lunch. Pack the ricotta and berries on the side so that the French toast cups don’t get soggy by the time the lunch bell rings. This recipe calls for almonds — but you can swap it out for some roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead to make it nut-free.
3. Waffle Pizzas
Pizza is always a hit with kids and is a terrific way to get them to eat some veggies. Instead of a regular crust made of dough, this Waffle Pizza recipe makes savoury sundried tomato waffles as a base and tops them with a selection of tasty vegetables. If you are short on time, don’t hesitate to swap in a pre-made frozen waffle and then top it with tomato sauce, your child’s favourite veggies and a sprinkle of cheese.
4. Chicken and Rice Vermicelli Salad
Rice vermicelli is available in the Asian section of large supermarkets and at Asian grocery stores. These fine rice noodles cook in moments immersed in hot water which makes them a terrific option for a lunchbox and any quick meal. This Chicken and Rice Vermicelli Salad recipe combines some carrots, peppers and fresh herbs along with some chicken — leftover roast chicken from dinner would be perfect here — and some dressing that you can pack on the side to be poured over at lunchtime. Note: This recipe calls for red chili and chili paste to add some heat, but you may want to omit for little ones.
5. Vegetable and Chicken Dumplings
Dumplings are a delicious lunch option and a terrific vehicle for protein and vegetables. They are especially useful for using up odds and ends, like a lone celery stalk or carrot, or a half of a chicken breast that you have hanging around in your fridge. You can send these Vegetable and Chicken Dumplings to school hot in a thermos or at room temperature in a lunch box. Kids can also get in on the action and help to fold up the little bundles in conventional or not-so-conventional ways! Dumpling wrappers are available in the produce or deli section of the supermarket.
6. Chicken Noodle Miso Soup
As the weather cools, soup is a perfect lunch to warm up your child before they head outdoors to play. Soup can be warmed up in the morning and sent in a thermos. It is also easily frozen in portions that can be pulled out of the freezer on demand. Chicken Noodle Miso Soup is a tasty twist on traditional chicken soup and uses miso to add depth of flavour without hours of cooking time. It includes no fewer than 6 vegetables, chicken breast and pasta — all of which combine to make a delicious and nourishing whole meal.
7. Pizza Soup
Seems like a genius idea, right? Transforming all of the deliciousness of pizza into a bowl of soup. Your kids are going to be thrilled when they open their thermos to this warming meal. The simple Pizza Soup recipe is written so that you can customize it with your child’s favourite pizza toppings.
8. Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Vegetable Sauce
Chicken meatballs in a red sauce made of puréed roasted carrots, peppers, zucchini, squash, onions and tomatoes are a fantastic dinner for a cool night and an even better lunch the next day. Rolling out meatballs can be a little time consuming but are a terrific task for little hands so invite any aspiring chefs in your house to roll up their sleeves and help out. They are even more likely to gobble up this delicious meal if they had a hand in preparing it.