top lunch tips from Weelicious | Food Bloggers of Canada

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)

WeeliciousLunches

3. Re-Use!

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.

RELATED:  It's the Eat St. Cookbook Giveaway!

5. Eye Appeal

Cutting foods into fun shapes and sizes can make all the difference in whether your child will eat them. Try using a melon baller for watermelon or cutting cucumbers into sticks or coins.Weelicious_Lunch_Veggie_Tort_RollUps

6. Leftovers!

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.

Weelicious Giveaway!

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!

Whole Grain Fruit-Filled Bars

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.

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90 Comments

Myrtle

Weelicious is a great site. I’ve used many of her recipes.

My favourite thing about back to school was always new school supplies! My son (grade 1) doesn’t seem to share my enthusiasm 🙂

Anna (Hidden Ponies)

I’d love this book! My oldest starts kindergarten this year so I need all the tips I can get 🙂 My favourite back to school memory was (and still is!) back to school supplies…nothing beats a fresh notebook and new pack of pens 🙂

Jennifer Collins

Best part of back to school is the savoring the last day before school starts!

Gabbie

Very excited about this book. I always liked picking out new clothes in anticipation of cooler weather. 😉

Lee

My favourite back to school memories had to do with getting new clothes for the school year!

Marion Millan

My favorite thing about starting school was coming home to my moms fresh baked cookies.

Theresa

My favorite thing about going back to school was seeing all my marching band friends again.

Jen

Love Weelicious! My favorite back-to-school memory was going shopping for new school supplies. I always loved getting fun, colored pens. (Still do, actually!)

Tera

I remember eating my favorite snack (apples and cheddar) first at lunchtime – before sandwiches or cheetos 🙂

Lindsey

Love Weelicious! The books are full of great ideas 🙂 I loved picking out the back to school outfit and seeing my friends after the summer.

merr

My favorite memory is the second day of school- you have your binder organized with how you hope the rest of the year will be (and completely ignore the years’ past where you cram papers in a backpack at the end of a day!)

Jodie

My favourite back to school memory is going shopping for school clothes and then inviting grandma over for a fashion show!

Nicola

Love Weelicious! My favourite back to school memory is shopping for new shoes every year 🙂

Deb E

I’d love to win the book. Keeping snacks ready and on hand is my fave tip from this list. My fave school memory is meeting my best friend on the very first day of school (kindergarten). We just clicked and stayed friends throughout high school, cheerleading together at one point, when we were freshmen. Lots of good memories.

Kristine

Growing up as a student, I loved the feeling of that first day of school. I was very fortunate, I always had all new supplies, new backpack, lunchbox, new uniforms, new shoes…it just all felt so crisp and new and exciting to finally get to use all the new things that had been hanging up or packed in their wrappings for days or weeks prior. And now as a teacher, that excitement and anticipation is still in me, from the other side of the big desk. All the planning and preparation set the stage for a great first day and subsequently a great full year.
Weelicious absolutely rocks! I have been following Catherine’s website for almost 4 years now and find the recipes simple, tasty, adaptable, and often times things that I can make with my daughter to get her cooking in the kitchen with me-which is an added bonus. Many thanks to you Catherine!!!!

Heike Kilian

Yay, great giveaway. My son is starting kindergarten next week so I could do with some creative ideas for lunches!

My favourite book to school memory is the excitement of seeing everyone again after the summer and comparing notes on what everyone was up to. I remember that, in Elementary School, we’d be showing off our new shoes and pencils and stickers. And there was the curiosity about what would be new with classmates – hair cuts, tans and the like. Lots to giggle about for little kids.

Deana

My favorite back to school memory was meeting a new best friend at the bus stop when I started a new high school. :). Thanks formthemgreat giveaway!

Amy

My favourite back to school memory is driving over to Detroit every year to get the coolest new back to school outfit!!

dana b.

my favorite back to school memory is being able to get some new cloths and school supplies!

Andrea M

The cookbook looks great! Fav memory of back to school??? New clothes and school supplies

Eve H

Weelicious is a great site, I love it! My favorite back to school memory was/is the smell of new notebooks and supplies.

Kara

I need all the help I can get with lunch making. I’ve been in such a rut!
My favorite back to school memory is my boys anxiously waiting for the school bus to pick them up on the first day of school. So much excitement!

kylie k

My favorite back to school memory would have to be using all my new stuff and wearing my new clothes!

Joanna

For me it was not the supplies themselves but the smell of them. Something about the smell of the pencils and erasers and the new backpack, the pencil cases. Still hits me when I walk into certain school supply stores. 🙂 My little one isn’t near school age yet but he is a very picky 2 year old and this book would be awesome to have in hopes of finding something he’ll eat!

Robynn Faughnan

I always loved seeing who was in my class that year. Always had a few I had in previous years but neat to make new friends.

Yee Lin Tan

my fav back to school memory is meeting up with friends after the long vacation

Genevieve

My favourite back to school memory was all the great and new school supplies! I loved it!
Thanks! to Weelicious and HarperCollins for this great giveway! I would love that book!

Anne

My favorite back to school memory is meeting new friends who would someday be forever friends since they were sincere and kind.

Danielle

My best friend and I used to wear the same outfit on the first day of school and try to pretend we were twins.

Jodi

My favorite back to school memory was my first day of sixth grade when I was rockin’ it in my jean skirt and Roger Rabbit T-shirt with a turtleneck underneath. Good times! I’d love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance!

Kary

I remember in 5th grade my teacher a snack break. Never before did we ever have snacks at school. You had lunch and that was it. I would always bring a strawberry yogurt covered granola bar – Yummy so wish I could find these today. A friend had brought kiwi and that was my first taste of kiwi!!

Carmen

I would love this book…packing lunch for two kids that are pretty much opposite is becoming a challenge and we are barely one month into school. One wants to take fish the other one wants shrimp but this AZ weather makes me nervous to put such items in the lunch boxes. I NEED help!

kristy lines

School lunches are a constant challenge for me, but weelicious always has great ideas.

My favorite memory of going back to school is just feeling like a bigger kid each time.

Alicia Boarts

My favorite back to school memory is while we were in elementary school, everyone gathered (all of our neighbor’s kids and us) on one porch for one annual picture. It was great to see all of us grow.

Priscilla

I love the smell of new school supplies, brings back such sweet nostalgia!

Sara

My favorite back to school memory was definitely seeing all my friends after the summer. I also loved getting a new outfit for the first day of school.

Danni S.

The first day back to school was always like my favorite holiday. Now that I am bringing up my own children I hope to instill that same excitement.

Michelle

First day of school: feeling great in my brand new outfit and see all my friends.

Kym

My favourite part of going back to school was seeing my friends after a summer away!

Laura Hit

Favorite back to school memory would be buying supplies and clothes. Loved that time shopping with my mom. I also remember getting new simple lunchboxes and getting to decorate them up with puff paints!

Bernice

I lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere. The beginning of school for me was exciting because I got to see my friends and escape boredom (this was before internet and xbox). My favourite memory is getting all dressed up in my new back to school outfit and listening for the school bus to turn down the road to our house.

Monica

I have made several of your recipes and my kids love them, so the book would be wonderful to have! I always loved the excitement of finding out who my teacher was going to be and who was going to be in my class. Of course school shopping was always fun too.

Jen B

The memory that stands out most in my mind is going with my mother for new school clothes every fall. Thanks for the giveaway!

Jennifer

My favourite thing about back to school was always the new school supplies. I still have a large obsession with stationery to this day!

Dawn

Would love this cookbook, we adore your first one!
Back to school was great because I got to see my friends again. And I was always a nerdy little bookworm 🙂 so I loved getting all those new pencils and notebooks and textbooks and getting all organized to complete assignments.

Deena

I’d love to win a copy of this book! My son starts kindergarten and I need help lol

My favourite memory of school was definitely school supply shopping. New notebooks, pens, markers, etc. it was always so much fun going with my parents and my sisters!

Thanks for your consideration 🙂

Kelly R

What I remember most is standing with our hand on our front door handle, taking first day of school pictures. Now I do that with my own kids

Tanya

Love weelicious!!!!
My favorite back to school memory is all of the new supplies that we got to bring on the first day. Everything was so fresh and new!

Casey Roth

I really need this! My Kindergartener has got to be the pickiest eater on the planet. I get heart palpitations each morning when it’s time to pack his lunch. I am partly to blame for not offering more creative food options so would LOVE to win this!

Casey Roth

Woops, forgot my back to school memory…riding the bus! I used to love riding the bus with all of my neighborhood friends. Those were good times.

Aimee Wimbush-Bourque

Love these tips!! Catherine rocks. I think my fave BTS memories are being made right now, with my own little ones. It’s emotional, but they are so excited!

Kami

Best part was walking down to the school to check out the class lists and find out who your teacher would be and which kids would be in your class.

Amanda

I used to love the annual Christmas play in elementary school. We always did this one song with white gloves on, and the lights turned way down, so our hands looked like snowflakes. So fun.

Holly C

My favorite back to school memory was always the new supplies. I still love shopping for school supplies. I think I was more excited than my children for the shopping this year.

Julia

My favourite memory is getting to see my school friends again. None of them lived in my neighbourhood, so August was a time to reconnect and share about the places we went on vacation.

Leah

I would love this book. One of my favourite back to school memories was visiting the school every day about a week before school started to see if they had posted the class lists yet. I was always excited to see who my teacher would be and what friends would be in my class.

Kendall

Back to school shopping for supplies. So much promise in all those empty books and unused pencils….

Christine K

Grateful for weelicious helping me create yummy nutritional lunches for my kids!

Susan

This is my first year of many packing lunches. Would love the book. Favorite back to school memory is of my 4 year old. He was telling me about an upcoming fire drill. When I asked him if they had to stand in a line and be quiet, he replied, “Mom, wow, you know EVERYTHING!” While not true and a sentiment that probably won’t last long….it was an awesome moment!

jessica

I would love this!!

My favorite memories are how much we all freaked out when the bus forgot to drop of my daughter on the first day. A little bit of panic but all ended well.

cecilia

I cant’ wait to read this book! Laying out my first-day-of-school outfit the night before the first day of school. It was always so exciting.

Sarah

I loved getting new school supplies! I would come home from the store and lay them all out on the floor and reorganize them 6 times before putting them into my backpack. I grew up eating hot lunch but I hope my kids will remember eating awesome home made lunches!

Heidi

I loved shopping for school supplies. I had a love for colored pens 🙂

Amy Alusa

I know that I would enjoy this delightful Weelicious Cookbook; but even more importantly my family would certainly benefit from the delightful, nutritious and colorful food that would be made possible with the recipes in this book!
My favorite thing about back to school, was the anticipation of fall weather, leaves, a little bit of rain, new school schedule, new teacher and yes, for me too it was a very big deal getting some new school clothes, and school supplies. I went to school in California, and back then, most school supplies were paid for by our taxes. However, we did need to bring a box of crayons, sometimes a box of colored pencils, some folders and erasers if we wanted them. I remember for school we got a new pair of shoes, 2-3 new outfits and a new comb or hairbrush! It was certainly an exciting time of year!!!!

Anne

This book is wonderful. Back to school means a new school bag,pencils and notebooks.

Marion Millan

Coming home from school and the smell of chocolate chips baking my mom made.

Jennifer G

Love Weelicious recipes!!

My favorite back to school memory was covering my textbooks with paper grocery bags and then doodling on the “covers” all year…

Keltie

My favourite back to school memory was picking out that perfect first day of school outfit!

Miranda Sherman

My favorite back to school memory dressing in new clothes and having my mom do my hair.

Kelly m.

My favorite thing about back to school was getting new pens, notebooks, etc. I loved it! 🙂

Jenny

My mom knew how to get my spirits up about going back to school – shopping! She would take me on a new clothes for school shopping spree each year. I think she loved it as much as I did. My kids wear uniforms, so we don’t get to enjoy that in the same way.

Andrea Smallwood

My favorite part of back to school was meeting up with friends and seeing if we would be in the same classes!

Gopi

My favorite thing about going back to school was seeing some of the friends I didn’t get too during summer break. And of course shopping for new clothes 🙂

Bridget Oland

My favourite memory? I still remember my first day of school! I remember how excited I felt as my mom walked my twin brother and I to our neighbourhood school on our very first day. I remember my briefcase-style vinyl book bag, brand new campfire notebook and the crayon box with the built-in pencil sharpener. My kids go to the same school so I get to relive the memories (and make new ones) every September.

Jodi

Would love this book for packed lunches for my kindergartener! Fave memory – new school supplies.

Sarah

I still remember the smell of brand new sharp Laurentien pencil crayons. I loved back to school time!

midnitechef

Love these ideas, I’m already in a rut and it’s only been a week! Favorite back to school memory would be finding my BFF on my bus route, we spent the whole ride playing thumb wars 🙂

Reyhaneh

Fav school memory is my excitement for the first day of school & deciding what to wear. My sister & I had so much fun going they our closets.

Bethany C.

Weelicious has given me some great ideas. I always remember going back to school and hating the day after day sandwiches that would be soggy by the time lunch rolled around. Yuck. Hope I can provide more variety to my kids.

Victoria

My favorite back to school memory is starting my first day teaching in a class last year and having my Dad call to say all the same things he used to say before I walked in to the class as a student! Really put the day into perspective! 🙂

Would love to go through this cookbook! I was the kid who always wanted either tuna or peanut butter for lunch every.single.day. Would be great to see the incredible variety and presentation Weelicious comes up with!

Bons

My favourite back to school memory is shopping for new clothes and school supplies. Love the feel of buying new things!

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