Back-to-school lunch ideas your kids will love

By: Health Local Staff Aug 28, 2013
  Article
Back to school snacks

These five easy lunch ideas will keep things creative in the kitchen and satisfying to your youngster.

Another school year means another hundred lunch bags packed. Are you ready? These five easy lunch ideas will keep things creative in the kitchen and satisfying to your youngster. Here are 5 easy back-to-school lunch recipes that have been tested by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen. They are both tasty and nutritious.

Stars and Chicken Medley

Leftover chicken from dinner? Be sure to use it the next day for the kids’ lunch. This soup can be made in a matter of minutes, even when in a rush. Serve with crackers, grapes and carrot sticks and the children will have eaten a healthy lunch.

Recipe Ingredients and Preparation

  • 1 can or carton of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ c pasta (any kind of small pasta will do)
  • 1 – 1 ½ c cubed chicken (cooked)
  • 1 – 1 ½ c frozen veggies, peas and corn

Bring the chicken stock and herbs (thyme) to a boil in a saucepan. Add the pasta and reduce heat, simmering for about five minutes. Then add the chicken and vegetables. Cover and simmer until the mixture is hot (approximately five minutes).

Penne and Peas Pasta Dish

A pasta dish that can be made with a variety of protein sources, from canned tuna to chicken or ham. This is a great dish the kids will love and easy to prepare.

Recipe Ingredients and Preparation

  • 4 c pasta (penne)
  • 1 c evaporated milk
  • 2 c frozen peas
  • ½ c cream cheese (flavored herb or garden veggie)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • dash of dry mustard

In a pot boil water, salt and cook pasta for about six minutes. Add the peas and return to boil. Cook pasta until tender (two minutes). Drain the mixture of peas and pasta, keeping ½ c of the liquid on reserve.

In same pan, whisk milk, cream cheese, lemon juice, salt, mustard and pepper until the mixture is hot enough to melt cheese. Combine the cheese mixture with pasta and peas. Let cool, refrigerate and serve cold or hot.

Frozen Sunflower Seed Bars

Everyone loves granola bars. They make for a healthy snack and add-on to any nutritious lunch. They can be wrapped and frozen for up to one month at a time. They are a great time saver when it comes to preparing lunch meals.

Recipe Ingredients and Preparation

  • 1/3 c corn syrup
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 c sunflower seeds (more optional)
  • 1 c rice cereal
  • 1 c raisins or dried fruit
  • ½ c almonds (slices or slivers)

Grease a large metal cake pan, 13 x 9, or line with parchment paper.

In a pan, bring corn syrup, oil and honey to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the mixture becomes thick (approximately 4-5 minutes). Remove pan from heat and let cool for about one minute.

Mix dried ingredients in a large bowl and pour the syrup over top of the mixture, coating evenly. Pack the mixture into the prepared pan and press down firmly with the back of spoon or spatula. Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. When golden brown, remove from oven and let cool. Cut into bars and serve. Freeze the bars for up to one month.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.