Blog / Recipes

Easy Lunch Ideas for Back to School

Sue Heather beet hummus

A study by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that Canadian children are not eating enough vegetables and fruit during the school day.

The first of its kind, this study looked at 4,827 children across Canada between the ages of six and 17. Using a 24 hour recall, their dietary intakes from 9 am to 2 pm was scored against a School Healthy Eating Index. The Index looks at 11 specific criteria based on Canada’s Food Guide’s recommendations, such as intake of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, milk products and meat and alternatives.

Here are the highlights from the research:
– 1/3 of daily calories (about 750 calories) are consumed at school; almost 25% of these calories came from “other foods” such as candy bars and salty packaged snacks
– Kids are falling short on vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and protein
– The lowest scores were for green and orange vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains and milk products
– The average score was 53.4 out of a possible 100 points
– Teens’ diets scored worse than that of younger kids aged six to eight

Here are a few of my lunch ideas, as shown on my interview with CBC Morning Live today.

Chickpea Lettuce Wrap – Kids are attracted to colours in their meals! A great protein packed and flavourful recipe! Add a glass of milk or fortified soy beverage to round out the meal.
Chickpea lettue wrap

Chicken Pasta Salad – My daughter won 3rd prize in a recipe contest for this recipe when she was in grade 3. Ask your kids to grate the carrots and chop the cucumbers. Balance the lunch with a serving of yogurt.
Chicken Pasta Salad

Beet Hummus with Veggies – Kids love to dip! A great way to team up protein plus produce in the lunchbox! Add mini pitas with cheese cubes for a nutritious lunch.
Beet hummus

Apple Sailboats – It’s as easy as it looks! Slice an apple into wedges and dip in lemon juice to prevent browning. Cut cheese into triangles and attach with a toothpick. Add a handful of whole grain crackers to complete the meal.
Apple sailboats

Zucchini Waffles – Breakfast for lunch, why not? These waffles are made with grated zucchini. (Sneak in the veggies wherever you can!) Add a hard cooked egg or small piece of cooked meat / poultry for protein. Mix a few extra berries with yogurt for “dessert”.
Zucchini Waffles with Fresh Berries

5 Fun Facts About Lentils

Lentil plant 1

[A red lentil plant in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan!]

Last year, I wrote a post about why I love lentils! So I was thrilled to be invited to join a Lentil Farm Tour in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan this summer! (#sponsored travel) I felt like a kid again, meeting and chatting with a lentil farmer! Here are 5 fun facts I learned.

1. Lentils are a short crop, not much taller than 24 inches. Here’s Farmer Corey Loessin and I sitting in the lentil field.

Sue and lentil farmer

2. Lentils grow in pods connected to the plant. Look how tiny they are! On average, there are 1-3 lentils in the pod.

lentil pod

3. Lentils are planted in early May and harvested mid-August. The lentil field is a pretty gorgeous site, and would you look at that beautiful Prairie sky!

Lentil field 2

4. There are 6 types of lentils grown in Canada. Who knew? The most commonly found lentils are split red and whole green.

Types of lentils grown in Canada

5. Canada is the world’s leading producer and exporter of lentils. Farmers in Saskatchewan, like Corey and his family, produce 95% of Canada’s lentils. India, China, Turkey, Bangladesh and the United States are the countries that import the most pulses from Saskatchewan.

Farmers

Looking for some lentil recipe ideas? Try Lentil Shepherd’s Pie or Lentil Watermelon Summer Salad or www.lentils.org.

Love to learn? Love to eat?

Sign up for my free nutrition news, tips, trends, recipes and fascinating food facts!