We’ve all been there: unloading the backpack at the end of the day and throwing away half-eaten sandwiches and mushy bananas.
These savoury school lunch muffins can be made in batches and kept in the freezer. You can swap out your child’s favourite cheese and meat.
2 cups flour
3/4 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup finely diced ham or sausage
1 red pepper, de-ribbed and diced
1/4 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
150g butter, melted
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12 cup muffin tray with cupcake liners.
- In a bowl, place the flour, cheese, capsicum, mushrooms and ham.
- In a jug, combine the egg, milk and butter.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Pour into liners and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Photo Credit: Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife
50g pine nuts (leave out if your school has nut allergies)
500g chicken breast or thigh fillet, cut into 2cm dice
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground mild paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup sultanas
1 cup (250mL) chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander or flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups couscous
2 cups water or chicken stock
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
thick natural yoghurt, to serve
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts, stirring constantly until just starting to colour. Transfer pine nuts to a plate.
- Place seasoned flour in a large bowl, add chicken and toss to coat. Add one tbsp of oil to the frypan, increase heat to high and cook half the chicken until golden. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate. Repeat with another tbsp of oil and remaining chicken.
- Heat remaining tbsp of oil in pan. Add onions, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until golden and softened. Add cooked chicken to frypan with spices, sultanas and one cup of stock. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes until heated through and thickened. Just before serving, stir in pine nuts, coriander and lemon juice.
- To prepare couscous, bring 2 cups of stock or water to the boil in a small saucepan, stir in couscous and olive oil and turn off heat. Leave for 5 minutes, then use a fork to separate the couscous grains.
- Serve chicken with couscous and yoghurt.
Photo Credit: Irena Macri
One day they like mustard and the next, it’s only BBQ sauce.
And while one kid loves gnocci the other will only eat pasta.
Sandwiches with cheese are gross but macaroni and cheese is a favourite.
Smoothies aren’t real food, but when frozen into popsicles they are perfectly good sustenance.
Dealing with fickle picky eaters can give moms and dads a bunch of extra grey hair, and at times it is hard to remember that fussy eating is a normal stage for kids when learning about themselves. Experts constantly weigh in on methods to ensure healthy eating and Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbook about hiding healthy foods within meals sold millions of copies and Elizabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Picky Eater Solution is also a great resource that flies off the shelves. So you’re not alone if you’re a tad frustrated!
Personally, I’m a really (really) busy mom, and while sometimes I cook up a storm, I can’t always guarantee home cooking, nor can I ensure that the kids will eat their painstakingly prepared school lunches. (One with mustard and one with BBQ sauce). When they were babies I knew if they were eating too many carrots and squash because they’d have an orange hue to their skin. Now, I have no idea if their calcium levels are adequate, their iron is ok and in Canada (especially on the East coast this year) I can pretty much guarantee that the kids have a vitamin D deficiency. Research shows that up to 85% of people do not have adequate vitamin D levels and Vitamin D deficiency is at its peak after the winter season.
Our family has been taking Iron Kids and Adult Essentials gummies for a few months, and we are all loving it. With a wide selection of nut and gluten-free options, I give them a few per day based on what their diet has been like recently. The multivitamin is great, but usually I toss them a calcium as well. IronKids Calcium is also fortified with vitamin D to ensure that your kids can absorb and utilize the calcium they need for bones and teeth. Calcium intake can decrease significantly without daily intake of vitamin D
The boys won’t leave the house until they’ve had their vitamin treats, and they compare shapes and flavours with each other in delight. This begins my day knowing that I’ve covered the bases in case they forget to eat their lunch because the school soccer game is too distracting, and my stress level about their nutrition has been dramatically reduced.
We have a summer full of sailing, golf, soccer and tennis so the whole family needs all the nutrients we can get!
You can learn lots more about nutrition and health on the Iron Kids website, and they also have a great bi-weekly newsletter!
Disclosure: I am part of the Life Science Nutritionals blogger program with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
In my house we call it go-geet. We also call muffins cupcakes. Do you see a pattern? (besides teaching the kids horrific spelling?) Yes, I try to convince the kids that the healthy desserts are actually sinful. We recently sampled the new iögo 0% yogurt with stevia extract, a100% natural origin calorie-free sweetener. They loved it. They took it for school lunches, ate it after dinner and I popped it into smoothies.
Thankfully, according to the FDA and Health Canada, you can’t overdose on stevia extract. Stevia extract is a 100% natural origin calorie-free sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It’s manufacturing process is the same as for natural flavours. Known first as the “sweet herb”, stevia is a native plant of Paraguay, South America and is 200 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar. When used in very small quantities, stevia extract can replace a portion of the sugar generally used in food products. As of November 2012, Health Canada approved the use of stevia extract in Canada. This agency established the safety of stevia extract as a food additive.
iögo 0% with stevia extract is free of fat, gelatin, colours and artificial flavours. It comes in the flavours of raspberry, blueberry, vanilla and mango-passion fruit. So have your cupcakes with go-geet. We won’t tell.
Disclosure: UrbanMommies was sent a carton of iogo 0% for testing. All opinions are own own.
I had a panic attack last week about the kids going back to school. Our summer has been hot and full of learning. Also a fair bit of goofing off. And now I must think about fall clothes, proper shoes and (ugh)… school lunches. Healthy school lunch ideas for picky eaters are hard to come by, so we’ve scoured our resources and assembled a comprehensive list for you.
It includes store-bought snacks as well so you don’t have to make everything from scratch!
I did a few things this year to prep for back to school, and one was acquire sectioned Planet Boxes for each child. The only issue now is filling them with healthy snacks and meals that the kids will actually eat. At a local dollar store I found fun stickers and animals to add charm and smiles to lunchtime. And of course picked up Funkins cloth napkins to remind the boys to take their manners to school.
Make it Yourself:
1. Pesto cream cheese pinwheels.
2. Ham and Cheese sandwiches cut with a favourite shaped cookie cutter.
3. Place a temporary tattoo on a banana. Who could resist?
4. Hot buttered corn on the cob in a thermos.
5. String blueberries or grapes on fun toothpicks.
6. Shaped chicken nuggets in a thermos.
7. Mini Muffins
8. Perogies in a thermos with a side of sour cream and cheese.
9. Nestle a chocolate chip into the hole in a raspberry.
10. Bake cut-up pita in fun shapes and send with hummus or tzatziki.
1. Mott’s Fruitsations + Veggies Medleys are packets of fruit gummies that have great nutritional benefits. They are only 80 calories per packet and give 100% of vitamin C and 4% of daily vitamin A. There are 9 in each pack and are flavoured with real fruit juice. We tried some and my kids were obsessed. They kids think they are an appropriate dessert. Win.
2. Packaged seaweed snacks are a huge love in our household and are filled with antioxidants. They come in wasabi, sesame, plain and sea salt and are available at most grocery stores as well as Costco.
3. Leftover Sushi. The cucumber, tuna and avocado are always a hit (the other kids will want it too). Ensure that you place a freezer pack in the lunch bag to preserve freshness.
4. Vita Coco Kids is a great new brand of coconut water with flavour that will leave them completely hydrated. We tried apple and fruit punch and it was a great product.
5. President’s Choice is making new U.H.T. chocolate and white milk that does not need refrigeration. They come in packs of three and include straws.
6. Microwave popcorn is a great easy snack to prepare in the morning!
7. Chocolate covered goji berries are a fabulous healthy addition to the lunch box.
8. Last night’s leftover pasta with butter and shaved parmesan in a thermos is one of my last-minute tricks.
9. Organic Rice Thins are healthy, filling and gluten-free.
10. Larabar Apple Energy Bars are great for kids!
Be sure to visit the Life Made Delicious Facebook Page to enter a contest that could make back-to-school shopping much more affordable! They’ll have three $500 gift cards up for grabs until September 8th, 2013.
“Disclosure – I am participating in the Mott’s Fruitsations & Veggie fruit snacks Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.”