Lovin’ The Lunchbox

By Rebecca Mullins, RHN

Simple, fun, yummy lunches can also be balanced and nutritious. Create meals using whole, fresh, local, organic ingredients whenever possible – an investment in your child’s current and future health. Be sure to include a salad, fruit and reusable water bottle every day!

Not just sandwiches anymore!

How about sushi? Nori seaweed sheets spread with brown rice/quinoa/millet, and the filling ideas are as endless for sushi as a sandwich: mashed avocado, sweet potatoes, hummus, egg (fry into an omelette, cool, cut into strips), lightly sautéed tempeh strips, tuna mixed with full-fat plain yogurt, etc. Add raw carrot and/or red pepper matchsticks, cucumber, steamed asparagus, various greens, sprouts, etc.

Everyone loves quesadillas: Lightly sautée chicken or tempeh strips; add sautéed coloured peppers and onion strips. Assemble on simple homemade grain-free tortillas; sprinkle with grated grass-fed raw milk cheddar cheese; bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Serve with full-fat plain yogurt and/or homemade salsa.

Grain-Free Tortillas

  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • ½ tablespoon flax seed, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly together in one bowl and wet ingredients in another – then mix dry ingredients into wet. Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium high heat. Once hot, pour 1/4 cup batter in pan per tortilla, tilting pan to spread batter thinly.

Cook two minutes each per side, until slightly “toasted” looking. Make healthy nut-free snacks in large batches; divide into containers on Sunday to save time on busy weekday mornings.

Toasty Maple Granola

  • 2½ cups gluten-free oats
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1-2 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl (except raisins), add maple syrup and coconut oil; mix thoroughly. Spread onto lightly-oiled baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes, remove and stir, then bake for 15 to 25 minutes longer, until slightly browned. Cool completely; stir in raisins.

Crispy Ginger Cookies

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and soaked
  • 2½ teaspoons dried ginger

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream coconut in food processor to a thick, oily consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients; blend into thick dough. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick.

Cut cookies using cookie cutter; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cookies start to brown around the edges.

Chocolate Chip Bars

  • 2 cups roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted, soaked
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Put sunflower seeds into food processor; process until they turn into butter – about two minutes. Add dates and salt; process until sticky.  Pulse in chocolate chips until just mixed.  Press evenly into a parchment-lined eight-by-eight-inch pan. Refrigerate or freeze to firm up, then slice into bars.

*Ever thought of “lunch-pooling”? Form a lunch-pool with four other people; assign one day of the week to each; one person makes and delivers for all. It’s easier to make five of the same lunches at once and it creates variety for the kids! *Let older children choose their own lunch box, then allow them to personalize it.

For little ones starting school, choose lunch boxes with several little easy-to-open containers. Here is a link comparing some great choices: Rebecca Mullins RHN is a North Bay-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

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