Since it's that time of the year, we asked Catherine McCord of Weelicious for some tips on jazzing up those back to school lunches as well as those back to work lunches! Catherine's new book Weelicious Lunches is available through Amazon in Canada and the United States, so the timing couldn't be any better!
1. It’s all about balance!
When you’re packing lunch, always make sure to pack fruits vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein in every meal so you know your bodies getting what it needs!
2. Fill it Up
Always keep your favorite shelf and refrigerator staples on hand. I keep a list on the fridge to remind me of everyone’s favorites:
- Nut butters (almond, peanut and sunflower butter are great choices)
- Cream Cheese
- Cheddar, mozzarella or your favorite cheese (sticks, bricks, shredded or slices)
- Pesto (goes great with pasta, rice, quinoa, as a sandwich spread or to make an Egg Pesto Melt)
- Pasta (a variety of shapes like ziti, macaroni, rotini or more)
- Bananas (to eat on their own, sliced and added with honey and nut butter on a sandwich or added to Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies)
- Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers or any of your child's favorite veggies
- Dehydrated, frozen, or dried fruit
- Plain Yogurt (to mix with honey, maple syrup, mashed bananas or granola)
- Bread (bagels, english muffins, tortillas or your favorite sandwich bread)
Bento Box style containers are a great way to see all of your choices of food without having to open a ton of plastic containers and bags. Planet Box and Lap Top Lunches reusable containers which can be stacked in either a lunch bag or in this box and placed into a cute carry bag are great choices. We’ve had ours for years and they’re still good as new. I send my husband to work with the same containers my kids use.
4. Double and Freeze
When I make a recipe, I try to double it and freeze it, so that I always have it on hand for lunches. I cook all of our favorite foods and treats like cookies, bars, pancakes, doughnuts, waffles and more in freezer safe containers so all I need to do is defrost one or two homemade foods.
5. Eye Appeal
There’s no reason you can’t turn last night’s dinner into today’s lunch. Turn chicken fajitas into a quesadilla, chicken in a crock pot into slices of chicken with a dipping sauce, or last night’s brown rice into a beans and rice burrito.
7. Variety is the spice of life
Switching things up day to day in a lunch box can keep it nutritionally balanced while excited at the same time.
8. Treat for your sweet
Putting a little something sweet can put a big smile on you or your little ones face midday. Whether it is a cookie or even a little note, that last addition can go a long way.
In honour of everyone heading back to school and work, the nice folks at HarperCollins are giving away two (2) copies of Weelicious Lunches! To be entered in the draw, all you have to do is comment below and share your favourite Back to School memory!
The contest will run until Sunday, September 8th at 6pm PT and the two winners will randomly selected and announced in the Food Bloggers of Canada News on Monday, September 9th. The contest is open to Canadian and American residents. Winners will be notified via email. Good luck!
Catherine McCord is the founder of the popular website weelicious.com, a 2013 Babble Top 100 Mom Food Blog, one of People magazine's most influential mommy bloggers, and author of the Weelicious cookbook. She attended the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, has worked in several high-end restaurants, is a contributor to Parade, and has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, The Chew, and The Doctors, and in magazines such as Parents, Parenting, Lucky, Working Mother, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. A former television host, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. Tweet her at @Weelicious or like Weelicious on Facebook.