MEDIA :: Back to School and Work Healthy Lunch Ideas
August is a special month. Not only because it is the last month to enjoy the fresh summer air, but also because back-to-school and work comes around very quickly in September.
Despite the last few weeks of shorts and t-shirts, I actually look forward to fall. I am a September baby after all (haha), and I enjoy the routine that comes with getting back to the fall-time hustle. A routine is not only for school and work, but can also be for getting back into healthy eating after a season of summer parties, food festivals and patio life!
Tip #1: Make it Easy
I love it when manufacturers come up with innovative ways for consumers to enjoy their produce for longer periods of time. I am well aware that one of the biggest deterrents to eating more plants is how quickly they spoil.
When in the produce section, I found Mucci Farms – Naked Leaf Living Lettuce, sold with the roots still intact, preserving freshness, flavour and lasting longer.
The cool thing about Naked Leaf Living Lettuce is you leave it on your countertop in a small bowl of water – without refrigeration – just like a plant! This innovation allows you the convenience of adding lettuce to your sandwiches straight off the top of your counter without the need to take the lettuce head out of the crisper, also freeing up fridge space.
No excuse that you forgot the lettuce in your sandwich now, huh?
Here I am using their Red Butter (Red Leaf Lettuce) in my sandwich. They come in Green Butter, Red Butter and Frisée, also known as their Trio Lettuce.
Would you like to learn more about modern greenhouse grown? Click the photo above, or read more about it here.
Prefer to watch a video instead? Check out this video here to learn more about greenhouse growing!
Tip #2: Make Something New
Tip #3: Make it Fun – for Kids!
I’m an Art and Cooking Instructor at a private art school, and this is something I stand by: Get the kids involved in the food prep process!
When the cooking lesson is finished and the moms come into the kitchen to pick up their children, they are always so impressed that not only did their children prep and cook the dish, but the are eating foods they normally wouldn’t touch – like spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers!
RECIPE for Kids: Fun Shaped Sandwiches
Simple Cookie Cutters
Whole Wheat Bread
Cooked chicken or turkey slices
- Using cookie cutters, cut whole wheat bread into fun shapes. Try to choose shapes that not have too many details – you want to form a simple shape that will not break when you try to remove it from the cutter. Here I used a butterfly, circle and club/3-leaf clover! Squeeze on some honey mustard.
- Repeat the same for the chicken/turkey and cheese slices. Assemble sandwiches
How to get the kids involved: Get them to choose their own cookie cutters and press out the shapes themselves!
RECIPE for Kids: Dipping and Dunking
Kids LOVE dipping and dunking – it’s so much fun! Have some finger-friendly vegetables on hand: sliced up bell peppers, baby carrots, cucumbers and dip them in hummus, low fat ranch dip or my favourite Honey Dill Mustard Dip!
I love mustard. It is a great source of several minerals: calcium, iron, manganese,
phosphorus, zinc, selenium and magnesium. It’s also low in calories and an excellent source of soluble fibre because of the gum on the seed coat of Yellow mustard. With its strong flavor with minimal calories, mustard is a great condiment and “spice” to be used in several dishes!
Did you know? Saskatchewan is the world’s largest mustard exporter, where the hot, dry summer has the perfect growing conditions for growing the highest quality mustard seeds!
For kids, the honey mustard in this dip and in sandwiches is great, because it has that sweet taste that kids love. Honey mustard is also great in kids’ sandwiches because it is sweet, flavourful without being too overpowering on their delicate palettes.
You can pack the dip with chopped up celery, carrots and sliced bell peppers and cucumbers to go in their lunch boxes.
How to get the kids involved: Have them help you arrange the vegetables nicely or stir together the homemade dip!
Mucci Farms Produce
I love how convenient this packaging is. You can toss the thing into your lunch bag! Keep it by your desk for healthy snacks throughout the day. Better than a bowl of candy, no?
Mucci Farms products can be found at most grocery stores! Check out your produce section in your local grocery store.
My final tip isn’t exactly sandwich related, but it is lunch related and helps with overall healthy eating…
Tip #4: Make it Ahead
Much of healthy eating (including packing lunches) happens when you prepare ahead to ensure you have healthy meals and snacks on hand. Take some time on Sunday afternoon to prepare meals for the week. For inspiration, check out #mealprepsunday and you will find loads of examples of people who prepare healthy meals for the week.
A fun recipe you can prep ahead of time is Salad in a Jar. Easy to prepare and assemble, you want to ensure the salad dressing is on the bottom so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. Because, eww… who likes soggy lettuce??
These fantastic and fun jar salads last for up to one week in the fridge!
So there you have it: fantastic food ideas for you and your family to reset your routine for fall!
VIDEO :: Watch my TV Interview on CHCH Morning Live on Healthy Sandwiches and Back to School & Work
Welcome, I'm Michelle! I'm a TV and digital media registered dietitian and Asian cuisine content creator based out of Hamilton, ON Canada!
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