Category Archives: Back to School

College Grocery List: The Only 5 Ingredients You Need to Make Multiple Meals

Headed to college this fall? Wondering how you’re going to feed yourself with a limited budget, equipment and facilities? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this list of five ingredients you’ll want to keep on hand, so you’ll only be 30 or so minutes away from an ultra-tasty meal. You can stretch these ingredients into a multitude of simple dishes that’ll keep you well-fed and satisfied throughout the school year (no cafeteria required).

1. Spaghetti

A staple item in most households, spaghetti is something you’ll want to always have on hand because it’s so versatile. Worried about the dishes? Did you know that with many pasta dishes you can cook the spaghetti right in the sauce? Less cleanup is always a good thing!

● Make Cacio e Pepe, a classic dish where all the ingredients are cooked together in one pot, and the sauce reduces while the pasta cooks, no draining necessary. You don’t even need to wait for the water to boil!

● You can’t go wrong with Spaghetti and Meatballs, a dependable dinner staple that’ll fill you right up. Do yourself a favour and make a big batch of Meatballs and Sauce to keep in your freezer, so you’ve got a proper meal at your fingertips any time!

● Looking for something different? This Spaghetti and Meatball Bake lets you eat spaghetti and meatballs by the slice instead of the bowl! Each slab of this easy-to-prepare casserole has tiny meatballs and pockets of cheese. Change it up by using cooked sausage slices, or add extra veggies if you have them on hand.

● Got extra cooked spaghetti? No problem – this Genius 20-Minute Spaghetti Frittata is a great way to disguise leftovers as a completely new meal!

2. Eggs

If you’re going to keep one “fresh” food on hand, it has to be eggs. They’re so versatile: you can use them in breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes for an easy, tasty protein fix. Hard or soft-boil them, fry them or use them in these recipe suggestions – the possibilities are endless!

● A classic way to use eggs and all the “bits and pieces” in your fridge is in a Veggie-Filled Frittata. Not only are they simple to make, it’s a “one and done” dish that cooks up in less than 30 minutes. It also makes for tasty leftovers.

● Looking for something a little more substantial? Whip up a Quick Quiche. If you use store-bought pie crust, this meal could not be any easier. Once again, you can customize the filling according to which ingredients you have on hand. It’s excellent to make on the weekend for meals throughout the week, and pairs perfectly with a Simple Green Salad.

● Eggs are also a staple ingredient for brunch. Dishes like Eggs Benedict that you might enjoy in a restaurant are actually fairly simple to make at home. Got eggs? Got English muffins? You’re halfway there! Even that fancy sounding Hollandaise sauce is simple to make at home.

● Lastly, all students need a reliable on-the-go meal that can stand-in for breakfast, lunch or as a healthy between-class snack hack. These Prosciutto-Wrapped Egg Cups are here for you.

3. Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes should be a staple in anyone’s pantry, but particularly in a college student’s, because of how versatile they are. A simple can of tomatoes can transform into any number of dishes. Bonus? If you have an immersion blender or mini blender, you can make your own tomato juice!

● Are you a fan of breakfast for lunch or dinner? Shakshuka should be a go-to meal of yours. Stewed veggies with poached eggs makes an excellent quick, healthy meal for one, but it’s easy to batch up if you’re cooking for a crowd! Use a Quick Ratatouille as a base for even more flavour. You can also make the Ratatouille on its own for a quick and easy meal to serve over rice, or with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

● A foolproof way to transform a can of tomatoes is to make Tomato Soup (with grilled cheese, obviously). This tasty version features mini bacon grilled cheese sandwiches, taking things up a notch to create the ultimate comfort food pairing.

● Get inspired by the flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine and whip together a Moroccan Vegetable Couscous Dish in just 30 minutes. Canned tomatoes are used as the base, together with frozen squash and a can of chickpeas.

● Why let a can of tomatoes sit untouched on your shelf, when Skillet Chicken Parmesan could be in your future? Use crushed canned tomatoes, or tomato puree for the base for a quick, comforting dinner that certainly beats the cafeteria.

4. Frozen Mixed Vegetables

Trying to eat healthy on a college student’s budget isn’t always easy, especially when you factor in the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables. One way around this is to substitute frozen veggies where possible. Flash frozen when in season, they’re the next best thing compared to fresh, and also budget friendly. If you have these in your freezer, there are so many ways you can feed yourself!

● A classic way to use frozen vegetables is in a Quick Fried Rice. Add a splash of soy sauce for flavour and you’ve got yourself a healthy meal in a flash. Incorporate chicken, beef or tofu for extra protein if desired, or simply make a Plain Omelette and chop it into the rice and veggies for a restaurant favourite that’s easy to replicate at home.

● Looking to batch cook a recipe to enjoy throughout the week? If you’ve got frozen veggies on hand, you’ve got the makings of a tasty Vegetable Soup. Add cooked leftover turkey or chicken for a complete meal in a bowl!

● Hankering for some comfort food? Ramp up your Casserole game by adding a medley of frozen veggies into the mix. This drool-worthy recipe by Alton Brown is a creative (and easier) take on chicken pot pie.

● Grill your frozen vegetables, then add them to hearty Vegetarian Burritos. Serve with rice or salad on the side for a satisfying meal in a flash!

5. English Muffins

While you might not always have fresh bread on hand,  if you have a small freezer, store English muffins, which are the perfect base for so many great recipes! The obvious way to use these is toasted with butter and a sweet or savoury topping, but there are plenty of creative ways to fancy them up and make them all the more meal-worthy.

● We’ve already seen how muffins can be used for Eggs Benedict, but how about for a proper Breakfast Sandwich or even in place of a Burger Bun? They’re arguably the most versatile bread product there is, so keep an extra frozen pack in the fridge for when you’re in a meal pinch!

● Craving French Toast, but don’t have any bread on hand? Opt for English muffins instead, served alongside fresh fruit, eggs and bacon for a hearty meal that’ll keep you full and energized through all your morning classes.

● We’re a bit obsessed with these Easy English Muffin Pizzas (read: no need to worry about wasting precious time making the dough!), which can be assembled ahead and kept in the freezer for a satisfying anytime snack or meal. They’re perfect for those late-night study sessions.

● Other creative uses for English muffins include subbing them to make a sweet Bread Pudding, using them as the base for Tuna Melts, or even chopping them and drizzling with oil to make Crispy Croutons!

For more quick cooking tips and hacks, see these 35 budget-friendly recipes with canned beans, our best affordable chicken dinners and 25 cheap dinner ideas for two that won’t break the bank.

Bento Lunch Boxes: How to Make Colourful Back-to-School Meals Your Kids Will Devour

Packing healthy school lunches that your kids won’t challenge can be just a little stressful, especially if you have a picky eater on your hands. The foods you prep need to energize, nourish and keep your child focused throughout the school day. Luckily, gone are the days of the sad brown bag and that same soggy ham and cheese sandwich. That’s partly thanks to the bento lunch box, which has changed the game, giving parents a far easier method for meal prepping, and kids a way more enjoyable way to eat. Read on for eight genius tips on packing the ultimate back-to-school lunch, plus three bento box ideas you’ll be quick to replicate.

1. Pack the Rainbow

Pack as much colour as you can into your kid’s lunch box. This means lots of vibrant fruits and veggies, so they can get the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. Everyone eats with their eyes first, so when something looks colourful and appetizing, the process of digestion begins. Kids also take eating cues from how food looks, rather than from how it tastes.

Main: Chicken salad sandwich with cucumber, carrots, spinach (or stuffed in a pita or tortilla)
Side: Roasted sweet potato cubes
Snack 1: Blueberries with strawberries sliced into hearts or stars
Snack 2: Edamame beans or green peas
Dessert: Mini chocolate chips with pumpkin seeds

2. Get Creative

Many kids like what’s familiar to them, and if they enjoy eating the same thing every day, one way to change it up is to get creative with how the food is displayed. If your youngster love strawberries, cucumbers or melons, try slicing them into stars one day, cubes the next and hearts the following week. Thread their favourite fruit through a stick to transform them into skewers. Take their sandwich ingredients and roll them into wraps, stuff them into mini pitas or thread them through to make sandwich kebabs.

3. Cover Your Macro & Micronutrients

Ensure your little ones remain fueled throughout the day by sending foods packed with fibre, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. If you’re already filling lunch boxes with fruits, veggies, seeds, beans/legumes or animal protein and a whole grain, you’re covered. Packing a sweet treat is also a must, so think of more nutritious options like homemade granola bars, better-for-you cookies or healthier muffins. Remember to limit the refined sugar, which can impact your child’s behaviour, energy, focus and mood.

Main: Pesto pasta noodles with sliced cherry tomatoes
Side: Steamed green beans with sesame seeds on top or raw snap peas
Snack 1: Skewered mango and grapes
Snack 2: Cubes of cheese or crispy chickpeas
Dessert: Mini cookies or strawberries with chocolate chips

4. Repurpose Leftovers

Packing school lunches can be a lot of work, so if you can, repurpose dinner leftovers from the night before. If you have leftover chicken, make the lunch box Mexican themed and pack the chicken with avocado, corn and salsa. If you have extra lasagna, cut a square and pack that. You don’t need to start from scratch if you have foods to work with. Also, do your best to pack the night before, and avoid adding another stressful task to an already busy morning!

5. Be School Safe

Nut allergies are quite common these days, and most schools are now nut-free. Keep this in mind when you’re packing back-to-school lunches, and replace classics with nut-free alternatives. For example, if you were going to pack a peanut butter and jam sandwich, swap the PB for sunflower butter. For something like trail mix, ensure it’s made with seeds. If you’re buying snacks, there are loads of allergen-free options out there.

6. Get Your Kids Involved

Studies show that if kids have a hand in helping grow, prep or cook food, they’re more likely to eat it. So involve your children in the packing process. Have them decide what they want to eat – you can even ask them to come up with a meal plan schedule to paste on the fridge. If possible, ask them to help with the prep: maybe they can skewer fruit, or slice strawberries with a kid-safe knife.

Main: Protein pancakes
Side: Heirloom carrots, sliced + dollop of hummus to dip
Snack 1: Crispy chickpeas or raisins
Snack 2: Raspberries and kiwi
Dessert: Orange slices dipped in chocolate or with chocolate chips

7. Keep it Clean

Don’t pack foods that have a strong, offensive smell, or something that’s going to leak all over the rest of the meal. This will pretty much guarantee that your kid will pass on eating his or her lunch!

8. Lunch as an Afternoon Snack

There may be times when you open your child’s lunch box after school, only to discover the meal you lovingly prepared is still sitting there. When your kids come home, they’re usually starving and desperate for a snack. This is the perfect time to offer up these lunch leftovers to ensure the food you spent time making isn’t wasted.

Here, a nutritionist reveals meal prep tips to avoid a sad desk lunch (plus two 10-minute recipes) – because parents deserve inspiring lunches, too!

5 Tips to Help Your Kids Pack Their Own Lunches

If you’re tired of making lunches your kids won’t eat, getting them to build their own lunches can help streamline your morning routine and increase the odds their lunchbox comes home empty. From shopping for the right ingredients to choosing the right lunchbox, there are many strategies that can set your family up for lunchtime success.

Take Them Shopping

The first step in getting your kids to help pack their own lunch starts at the grocery store. Have your child make a list of their favourite lunch foods, and then let them navigate the grocery store with you for those items. Commit to trying one new item from the produce department each week and talk to them about what makes a balanced meal. Knowledge is power, and this is true for food and meal prepping.

Make Packing Fun

If you think packing lunches is a boring chore, chances are your little one will too. One way to shake this stereotype is to make packing lunches fun. Pick up some cute and colourful reusable containers and bags, pop on your little one’s favourite songs, and make an assembly line where you can all pitch in together packing their midday meal.

Use a Bento Box/Snack Box

One way to get your kids to pack and eat their lunch is to stop calling it lunch! For whatever reason, kids seem to balk at the concept of eating a proper meal, but fully embrace a snack situation. The snacks-as-a-meal trend is having its moment right now, with parents using everything from muffin tins to plastic craft boxes to hold a variety of tasty eats for their kiddos. Have your child fill Bento box compartments with foods they enjoy – such as crackers, dried fruit and add some cheese, a hardboiled egg, and cucumber or apple slices for a balanced meal. Don’t forget a dip or two like hummus or seed butter for even more kid-friendly fun.

Keep Items Accessible

If kids can’t reach it, they can’t pack it, so leave ample supplies of storage containers and food options where your kids can access them. Once they know where everything is, get them into the routine of putting their lunch together at the same time every day – before bed the night before or after breakfast on the day of are both good options.

Shake up Lunch with New Recipes

Another way to get kids excited about packing their own lunch is to try making a new recipe together. Research shows that children are more likely to eat food that they’ve taken a role in preparing, so let them practice their measuring and mixing skills with a kid-friendly recipe. A medley of sweet, dried strawberries, apples and yogurt-covered raisins are right at home with crunchy crackers, roasted pumpkin seeds and puffed rice cereal. Make a double batch, because this snack will be popular on the playground.

Parents’ Top Tips for Packing Lunches That Kids Will Actually Eat

There are plenty of good reasons for wanting to pack a healthy, nutritious school lunch your kids will eat. Consider this: if fueling their minds isn’t inspiration enough, it’s inevitable that one of these days, someone is going to forget to clean their lunchbox, only to discover that come Sunday evening (or worse, Monday morning), the uneaten contents have sprouted new life.

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Save yourself the trouble with these keep-it-real tips for packing school lunches with ease from real parents.

Train Your Sous-Chef Early

These are the two most-commonly cited reasons for including kids in the lunch process: they learn useful life skills and strip themselves of the right to complain.

Food blogger Sandra Hickman Simmons highlights the positive side: “Make it a fun thing you do together at least occasionally,” she says. “When the child opens the lunch they will get an immediate smile on their face remembering how they cut their sandwiches with a cookie cutter, or played a counting game with the grapes while making the lunch with mom or dad.”

Bonus: when kids choose the foods that go into their own lunch boxes, they’re more likely to actually eat them. “If they pack it, they own it,” writes Family Cook Off host and mother of three, Trish Magwood. She suggests laying out rules, such as ‘each lunch must include a fruit and a protein,’ then letting the kids choose the items within your pre-set categories. Best of all, studies show that kids who participate in home cooking are more likely to choose healthy items.

Make a List

Family life can get so hectic that sometimes we even forget our own bright ideas. By keeping a running list of favoured lunch items, you’re creating a grocery list and packing day inspiration. “When lunch making time rolls around in the bleary-eyed morning, it’s easier to look at a list and pick stuff than try for creativity before the coffee sets in,” says Toronto mom Lana Rayman.

Involve your children in the listing process so the options are parent and kid-approved; if they can read, they can use the list you’ve created together to guide their choices and do lunch on their own.

Mix It Up

“I usually pack lots of little things cut up,” says Kitchener mother Julie Barker. She says her son, Jack, is more likely to eat his lunch if it’s all “mini.”

Cut-up portions aren’t just cute — they’re practical, too. Kids have limited time to eat their lunches, and bite-size bits are easier to manage. They also create space for a greater nutritional variety.

That said, don’t get too upset if even the best packed food rainbows are occasionally returned home. “My son needs variety,” says mom Dawn Hill. “And it’s always a surprise what he’s going to eat and what he suddenly “hates.” I’ve given up worrying about it.”

Remember: It’s Elementary School, Not Top Chef Canada

 Many of the parents we spoke to recommended cutting and arranging foods in cute shapes. It can be a fun way to bond with your kids while taking care of a necessary task. But crafting panda sushi and banana penguins isn’t for everyone.

Milton mom Lisa Weaver reminds parents to test out a lunchbox before buying, as some are easier to operate than others. “They don’t get a lot of time to eat,” she says, “and little hands need to know how to open latches and lids.”

Stay On Track

Above all, try not to stress. Yes, good nutrition is important, but dietitians frequently advise taking a weekly approach, rather than daily. If your kid is getting the right balance of fruits, veggies, proteins and fibre-rich complex carbs throughout the week, an indulgence here or there is totally fine.

When your kids inevitably do return with uneaten items, instead of asking why they didn’t eat a particular item, approach them with a neutral statement, like: “I see there’s still a lot of rice in here…” If you’re lucky, it might lead to a conversation about their current food interests, or their lunchtime social lives. Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just lunch.

Still hungry for fresh lunch ideas? Try these recipes: 16 Stress-Free Lunch Ideas

DIY Packed Lunch Kits You’ll Actually Want to Eat

I blame my grade school days for my great distaste towards packed lunches. Day after day it was the same thing: The same plain sandwich with one slice of meat and no crust, and two boring snacks, which I’d usually eat at recess.

FN_RReardin_5Sep

Though I never lucked out with a pack of Dunkaroos or Gushers, my parent’s were still pretty good at pleasing a kid. I got a one-bite chocolate bar on occasion, or sometimes a few chips. My lunch aside, it was the other kids I had a problem with. There was the one who always had the stinky baloney sandwich, the smell in which would linger until afternoon recess, and the kid that would bring fettuccini alfredo and a carton of milk every Thursday. (Don’t tell me you didn’t just shiver.)

And now, we still don’t really have a choice but to bring packed lunches to work. Health-wise and money-wise, it just makes sense. And so, because none of us can eat the exact same thing every day, I’ve come up with an easy guide to help you choose healthy options guaranteed to keep you full all day long. Sure, you may think it’s a lot of food but it’s all about portions. Eating a little food all day long is a surefire way to keep you full without overdoing the calories.

Now, all you have to do is pick an item from each of the following lists, prep it, pack it, and you’re on your merry way. And yes, don’t worry, I have your sweet tooth covered too.

8 AM: For most of us, the idea of cooking a fabulous breakfast and actually sitting down to eat it is as foreign as leaving the house with wet hair. It just doesn’t happen. So, we resort to eating on the go. Choose one of these easily packable, easy to eat snacks that go perfectly well with the two cups of coffee you always have time for.

  1. Organic wheat cereal, like Kashi’s.
  2. A whole wheat English muffin, toasted, with butter or jam (with no added sugar)
  3. A homemade breakfast bar under 150 cals, like our Peanut Butter Bar version.

10 AM: Your coffee’s done, you still have a few more hours until lunch, but you’re hungry. Or, you’re looking for an excuse to take a break from work for a bit. Fair enough! I’ve got you covered with morning fruit options:

  1. An apple.
  2. A scoop of fruit salad (try our version with a savoury dressing)
  3. A small serving of fruit, granola and Greek yogurt.

1 PM: You made it! It’s lunchtime. That thing you’ve been looking forward to all morning? Ya, it’s here. And we have three lunch options all delicious, and all healthy.

  1. A salad with asparagus, radish, avocado, spring green mix, and any other veggies you’d like to add. This is the fastest option, so if you’re short on time while preparing your lunch before work, go with this.
  2. A little more extravagant, but totally filling, a turkey sandwich on a whole wheat bun is a great option.
  3. The BLTA: Just grab a whole wheat wrap, arrange bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado in it, and you’re done.

3 PM: Right about now, that darn sweet tooth starts acting up. This is the little kick we need to get us through the day, and it’s perfectly fine to indulge in something sweet, as long as this privilege is not abused, Meaning, no, I am not advising you to eat a whole dark chocolate bar, I’m talking about just a square or two.

  1. A small piece of dark chocolate (the darker you can go, the better!).
  2. 1 small cookie, like our chewy oatmeal cookies with apricots and pumpkin seeds.
  3. A small rice crispy square (do it right, and it can only be 150 calories).

5 PM: Some of us may still have another hour of work to put in, and some of us may have a super long commute home ahead of us. So, better take a little snack to hold you over until dinner, just so you’re not tempted to pick up a doughnut… or something.

  1. Fruit and cashew trail mix.
  2. Raw natural almonds.
  3. Light hummus with carrot and celery sticks.

Quick and Easy Back-to-School Granola Bars

Granola bars never get old. If you’re back to school this week or just plain old back to work on Monday, granola bars are a great pick-me-up snack. Packed with nuts, seeds and oats these will help anyone get through their first week back to school.

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These granola bars are easily customizable—feel free to play with the fruit and nut combinations. Try chopped dried apricots or figs. Make your favourite combination of trail mix or try using almond butter instead.

GranolaBars_3

Ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
3 cups trail mix
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp  ground ginger

GranolaBars_1

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl combine oats, shredded coconut, and trail mix. In a small pot combine coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, lemon juice, peanut butter, cinnamon and ginger. Bring to a boil, let bubble for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour over oat mixture and mix to coat evenly.
3. Pour mixture into a lined 9×13” baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.

Top 5 Back-to-School Recipes

It’s that time of year again! With all of the things that come with back-to-school season, like homework, field trips, band practice and tournaments, it’s no wonder both you and the little ones end up exhausted and strapped for time. We can’t sign permission slips or chaperone school dances, we can make sure you’re covered when it comes to school lunches. Feed your kids in 15 minutes or less with our top 5 quick and easy back-to-school lunches below.

top 5 back to school

1. Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich Recipe

2. Chicken and Green Apple Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing Recipe

3. High-Performance Pasta Salad with Canadian Swiss Recipe

4. Pita Pizza Rounds Recipe

5. Rolled Sandwiches Recipe

13 Delicious Foods You Hated as a Child

Our tastes are constantly changing and evolving, but sometimes we just can’t believe the things we used to turn our noses up at when we were children. Check out some of the foods we once couldn’t stand and now can’t get enough of.

Broccoli

broc recipes

You used to think of broccoli as the miniature trees that grew in Satan’s garden. Today, it makes a wonderful, crunchy salad base in recipes like Mae’s Broccoli Cheddar Salad.

Brussels Sprouts 

brussels-sprouts

We used to think these were about as flavourful as a leather shoe, but now we know better, thanks to recipes like Brussels Sprouts topped with bacon.

Spinach

spinach recipes for kids

Remember when spinach was the worst thing in the whole world? Well, now that we’re older and wiser, we know about the joys of dishes like Wilted Spinach with Indian Paneer Cheese.

Asparagus

asparagus recipes for kids

It’s one of our favourite sides today, but as kids, we thought asparagus tasted like sadness. Turn that frown upside down with this Oven-Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Gremolata recipe.

Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

Back in the day, dark chocolate was basically unbearable. Today, there’s nothing like sitting back with a dark chocolate treat and a cup of joe.

Mushrooms

mushroom recipes

To children, mushrooms belong in video games, not in the kitchen. But who would say no to a Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Cap today?

Spicy Food

spicy food

Feed a child spicy food and it’s abuse. Drench an adult’s meals in hot sauce and you’re a flavour master. These Spicy Marinated Mussels are sure to impress the grown-up crowd.

Fish

seafood recipes

Why would anyone want to eat something so smelly? Turns out, because dishes like Salmon with Creamy Avocado Dressing are what joy is made of.

Olives

olives

Olives are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and can be an elegant appetizer. To kids, these Warm Lemon Rosemary Olives look like gooey eyeballs.

Onions

onions

Today, it’s undeniable that onions are the perfect way to add quick flavour. Burgers? Caramelize those bad boys. Salad? Chop up some greens. This Rosemary Onion Focaccia recipe is just another way to enjoy them.

Oatmeal

oatmeal recipes

Looks like vomit, feels like vomit, tastes like…heaven. Who knew? This Apple Pie Oatmeal with Almond Foam is a great way to feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast.

Coffee

coffee

LOL we used to hate coffee.

Kids Can Cook

Don’t let the thought of hot stoves, sharp knives or complicated ingredients stop you from cook-ing with your kids. Cooking is an excellent way to engage with your children, have fun, and teach responsibility.

Here are a few tips to make cooking with kids fun and easy:

1. Pick an easy meal. Rice dishes like stir fries are a great opportunity to add a ton of vegetables that the kids can wash, peel and even chop. Studies show that when you begin with rice you end up with a meal that’s better for you.

2. Do all the cutting and chopping ahead of time. This keeps the cooking focused on assembling ingredients and is especially helpful with younger ones.

3. Use the cooking process as a way to teach your kids little lessons on nutrition by explaining the benefits of each ingredient as it goes in. Ask them to share what they learned over dinner. This simple act is a great way to help them build healthy nutritional knowledge and habits.

Cooking 101: Chopping Basics for the Dorm-Room Chef

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It’s back to school, not back to gruel! Students can eat well-balanced and delicious meals if Cooking 101 is on their schedule.

Acing a lesson in chopping is the first step for budding Iron Chefs, so get practicing on fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins with this technique tutorial (and the related recipes below) from the Food Network Canada archives:

Related:

Top 5 Sandwich Recipes

To me, sandwiches of any kind just scream autumn. Whether you’re talking about back to school or just the general weather change and desire to layer up and get cozy, they’re the perfect comfort food when the temperature starts to drop. Here are our five most popular sandwiches (according to website stats) of the past year.

 

1. Pulled Pork Sandwich

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Courtesy of Chef Michael Smith, this classic pulled pork sandwich unsurprisingly tops our list. Perfect for lunch or dinner, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

 

2. Pulled Pork and Kimchi Sandwich

kimchi

For a twist on the traditional pulled pork sandwich, try Chuck Hughes’ version, with kimchi. The combination of classic and exotic is sure to excite your tastebuds.

 

3. Brioche Tea Sandwich

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Who else but Anna Olson would create such gorgeous tea sandwiches? From salmon and cucumber to cream cheese and cherry, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

 

4. Crab Cake Sandwich

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Chef Ricardo Larrivée doesn’t disappoint with these yummy crab cake sandwiches. Earn some points with the seafood lovers in your family by making these for lunch.

 

5. Hot Chicken Sandwich

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Ricardo’s up again with a classic hot chicken sandwich. Delicious and filling, this is the ultimate autumn meal.

 

Related:

 

Easy and Delicious Cheese Sandwiches for Back to School

Most kids adore cheese making it a great way to liven up an everyday boxed-lunch sandwich. Use these ideas for inspiration then mix and match to suit your child’s preferences.

Brown bread, brown bread, what do you see?

You’d be amazed how different a sandwich can taste when you change up the bread. In addition to your regular loaf of whole wheat, keep a wide variety of buns on hand—think ciabatta, cheese croissants, and focaccia. You can use the same trick when it comes to cheese. Instead of a standard ham and cheese on white sliced bread, why not try Canadian Monterey Jack on a multi-grain baguette for a delicious twist on a traditional favourite?

Chicken for dinner makes for a hearty lunch.

When you’re prepping for the evening meal think about how you can parlay it into a delicious and nutritious lunch for the kids the next day.  Leftover weeknight chicken is a great base different vegetables and Canadian cheeses. Try this combo: the rich smoothness of Canadian Havarti with the sweet tang of apple—the kids will eat it right up!

Busy? Keep it simple.

Planning is half the battle when it comes to making nutritious lunches for kids, so plan to keep it simple! Boil eggs a night or two before (this will make peeling easier) so all you need to do is mash and combine with ingredients for a quick egg and Canadian Mozzarella bagel sandwich.

School lunches that pack a nutritional punch.

Lunch is an important meal for school-age children so it’s important to pack something you know your kids will eat and that’s good for them. Instead of using lettuce in sandwiches such as this tuna and Canadian Provolone pita, keep baby spinach on hand. It’s mild-tasting so most kids won’t object yet it’s very nutritious.

Spice it up with chili and cheddar.

Think outside the box when it comes to spicing up your kids’ lunches. Instead of just using mayonnaise, heat it up just a bit with a touch of chili sauce. Combined with the tart flavour of the Canadian Cheddar,  this roast beef sandwich will go to the top of the class.

Top 5 Brain Foods

It’s almost that time of year again – back to school. While your kids may be less than thrilled that summer is coming to an end, one way to make the transition from summer vacation to the routine of school a bit easier for both you and your little ones, is by incorporating brain foods into their meals and snacks. Providing food that is great for their bodies and minds, while still being tasty, will ensure that you and your kids are on the same page when it comes to what they’re eating. Serve them these five foods and over time, their ability to concentrate, retain information and think more clearly will begin to improve. What’s not to love about that?

 

1. Blueberries

It’s no secret that blueberries are rich in antioxidants, but did you know that studies have shown that eating blueberries improves brain memory over time? Include these yummy berries in your kids’ breakfast or mix a handful in with other fruits for a refreshing snack.

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Pancakes and Blueberry Sauce

 

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is known to improve memory function and alertness, and because it’s rich in calcium, it also aids in developing nerve function in children. Since many fruit yogurts are full of sugar, make your own homemade fruit salad topped with yogurt.

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Fruit Salad with Lemon Yogurt Jelly

 

3. Avocados

Avocados are chock full of healthy, monosaturated fats, which contribute to an overall healthy brain and will keep your kids full and energized all day. Surprise them by packing yummy avocado pudding in their lunchbox.

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Avocado Pudding

 

4. Salmon

The power of salmon should not be underestimated. The yummy fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in developing brain tissue to keep minds strong and healthy. If your little ones are fish-eaters, pack them a delicious salmon bagel to keep them full and happy.
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Smoked Salmon Bagels

 

5. Dark Chocolate

That’s right, we are officially encouraging you to let your kids eat chocolate. It’s a natural mood-booster and also helps with concentration. While most kids won’t immediately love the bitter taste of dark chocolate, pairing it with fruits like oranges or raspberries will help to balance out the bitter flavour and make it more enjoyable.

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunches

Trish Magwood’s Back to School Survival Guide

To me, September feels like the real New Year. Anyone with kids goes through a checklist for the fresh start. Rarely is it glamorous — just necessary. Haircuts, a trip to Staples, a double-check that the kids’ sneakers still fit (they’ve been in flip-flops for months) and a refresh of the kit for the dreaded school lunches.

I approach back to school in a practical, party-is-over, time-to-get-my-head-back-into-the-game kind of way. Let’s make a pact and be easy on ourselves and keep the packed lunches, after-school snacks and mid-week dinners quick and easy (also delicious and healthy, of course).

If you don’t rush out and buy the kids too-perfect bento lunch boxes, I won’t either. As busy parents, we don’t need iron chef competitions before 9 a.m.

Here are some family and food survival guide tips to kick off the unofficial New Year in the name of sanity and sticking together as busy parents doing our best to eat good food and keep the kids healthy and happy — simply, easily.

Breakfast

We can’t control the kids’ unpleasant 5-minute gymnasium lunches but we can have a few solid breakfast go-to options, to ensure we are all fuelled up for the day ahead. Smoothies are my key to success (see recipe below). They take 1 minute. Kids think they are having strawberry ice cream for brekky.

Kids’ Lunches

Let children pack their own lunch. If they pack it, they own it and are more likely to eat it. My only rule is that there needs to be a fruit and a protein (ex. roast chicken in a quesadilla, leftover steak in a bagel, a hard-boiled egg, meatballs in a thermos).

Grocery Shopping

Take your kids food shopping. Try to stick to the outside aisles (where the good stuff tends to be located). Again, if they choose the food themselves, they will feel ownership and will be likelier to eat it. Yes, even broccoli.

Healthy Stuff for After-School Snack

Regardless of who is picking up the kids from school, bring cut up apples, celery and carrots and, miraculously, they will gobble them down (after all, chances are they didn’t eat nearly enough of their lunch). Variation on the same theme: stave off pre-dinner starvation by putting out cucumbers and peppers on the table while dinner is being made so they don’t dive into the crackers while waiting. I bet you can get them to eat their veg quota before dinner!

Menu-Plan with Your Kids

I’m addicted to Martha Stewart’s Avery labels and Indigo’s write-on blackboard stickers for kids’ activities, and meals for the week. Take some time on the weekend to plan out a few dinners and get the kids to write it on the board. Get input from the kids and communicate on the board so they know what’s for dinner (reduces the tears). You’ll find them more actively involved in the process and the dinner table will be a happy one with full bellies (even if there is a soccer ball and a doll under the table). They may even say “Thanks, mom — that was delicious!” and clear the table!

smoothie_kids

Strawberry Banana Milky Smoothies
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp flax oil

Directions:

  1. Place strawberries, bananas, yogurt, milk and maple syrup in a blender and purée on high until smooth.
  2. Add flax oil and give one more purée.

Host of Party Dish and Family Cook Off, Trish Magwood is a chef, cookbook author and mother of three.

Scott Conant’s 3 Tips for Healthy Back to School Eating

The school season starts soon and that means that parents will be faced with food challenges for their children’s lunch boxes. Here are my tips for getting your kids to eat healthy food during the back to school season.

  • 1. Find balance

The key here is to find a balance between what your kids like and dislike. They inherently like some things more than others — my daughter prefers sweet things. What we (try to) do is get her to eat something new using sweetness as a catalyst. She loves apples, so we put peanut butter on them — a great way for her to get high protein and good fats while eating fruit.

  • 2. Choose your battles

Yes, you will need to refuse your kids certain foods, but be careful about being too firm. Like any kid, our daughter will want some things she can’t have. But we’ve noticed that if we make a big deal about it, she’ll end up wanting it more, because we are making such a fuss.

  • 3. Drinks are part of a healthy diet

Don’t forget that beverages also have a lot of nutritional value. Whatever my daughter’s diet lacks in vitamins, we’ll make up for through beverages like apple juice or fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Scott Conant has served as a guest on Chopped and published two cookbooks: New Italian Cooking and Bold Italian.

David Rocco’s Tips for School Lunches

Yikes, school is just around the corner! If you’re a parent of young kids, you’re probably starting to panic and dread the return of the “school lunch” routine. I’m just now discovering what all this means with my four-year-old twin daughters, Emma and Giorgia. This summer, they started day camps; making lunches became part of our 3-week ritual and I can tell you it was not fun. In fact, it was a bit stressful, to say the least!

The horror of the girls returning after a long day of school/camp and seeing their entire lunch untouched was enough to make me cry and feel sick to my stomach, not to mention put me in complete panic mode for the next day, with “What will they eat?” and “What should I make them?” looping endlessly in my head. This couldn’t be happening to me, I told myself. I’m a chef! My food is fantastic! I have two award-winning cookbooks! Well, lest there be any doubt, let me confirm that four-year-olds couldn’t care a less about any chef’s TV shows, books or feelings!

I realized I needed a new strategy. I needed to do what I do for dinner: involve the girls in the prep, so they can taste what we’re preparing and be proud of their creations. No use in surprising them with new flavours or colours in their lunches; the new goal was to show them how to “cook” (within reason) and help make their own lunches.

And guess what? It worked like a charm. Why? It’s fun for them, and it gives them food they want to eat because they are (deservedly!) proud of the fact that they made it themselves.

So, as I say, I really did get Emma and Giorgia to prepare their lunch, all on their own: tuna and mascarpone sandwiches (see recipe below). Step by step, here’s how we went about it.

 

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First, lay out all your ingredients.
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We picked herbs (chives and basil) from our garden; the girls love doing this.

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Once all our ingredients were ready to go, all that was required was a little assembly. I chopped the herbs and celery.

 

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The girls added the ingredients in a bowl: tuna, basil, chives, celery, some creamy mascarpone, and lemon juice. Then we mixed it all up. The result: a flavourful, creamy, tuna dip that you can spread on bread or in a pita!
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My girls did!

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Recipe: Tuna and Mascarpone Sandwiches

Ingredients
Tin of tuna, water or oil drained
Mascarpone cream cheese
Basil, chopped
Chives, chopped
Celery, chopped
Lemon, juiced
Whole wheat sliced bread or pita

 

David Rocco is the host of David Rocco’s Dolce Vita and Amalfi Getaway, and a proud father of three. 

Emily Richards’s 5 Back to School Tips and Recipes

With all the great weather, holidays, barbecues, and swimming pools we get to enjoy during the summer months, is it really a surprise when Labour Day and Back to School quickly sneak up on us? No putting it off: come September, it’s time to return to routine! For me, part of that routine includes packing lunches for my three kids. Two are in school full-time and one goes every other day, so I still get away with a little freedom. No matter what, though, I want to make sure my kids enjoy — and eat! — the food I pack for them. Each morning, I decide on the spot what I’m going to send. If there are leftovers from dinner the night before, I try to incorporate them in a wrap or slice them up for little hands to pick up and enjoy with chunks of cheese or fruit. Here are 5 tips that work for our family.

1. Offer choice, but not too much
It’s always a good idea to give your kids options in their lunches. You don’t have to go overboard, but letting them choose what they want to eat will increase the chance of them actually eating it (bonus: less lunch food destined for home or the garbage). Keep things simple, considering the time that kids are allotted to eat their lunch and what are their personal preferences. For example, if they enjoy sandwiches, let them choose a few varieties so that they (and you) don’t get bored.

2. Make it fun and easy
Lunchtime should be fun for the kids and easy for you to prepare. Use old favourites to create new lunches, like using (blunt) skewers to add fruit, vegetables and cheese to their lunch; the kids can help with choosing what they want and also with assembly. You could also include chunks of chicken, ham or sausage on those skewers for an added protein bite — a great way to use up leftovers. Or make mini meatballs for dinner, with some extras in mind for those skewers for next day’s lunch.

3. Pack it up right
Divided containers are wonderful for grazers in the family. They can have a little bit of everything without too many containers to rifle through, and they can mix and match what they want to eat. Variety truly is the spice of life! Sometimes just the smallest things really help your kids eat their lunch, like keeping the peel on a banana but cutting it into smaller pieces so they don’t realize they’re eating the entire thing.

4. Go ahead and add different things
As long as your kids enjoy certain foods at home, don’t shy away from sending those foods to school with them. It makes the other kids aware of different cultures and preparations and encourages kids to ask questions. Whether it’s as simple as a tzatziki with pita bread or mini pitas packed with vegetable curry, if the kids eat it, then you are succeeding!

5. Healthy snacks are tasty
My favourite part of lunch for me or my kids is a snack. I pack fruit and cheeses for snacks but sometimes a little sweet something really hits the spot. It doesn’t have to be loaded with sugar but, much like me and my afternoon coffee, a little nibble of something sweet at a certain point in the day can really give a person a boost. Doing a little baking ahead of time is a perfect way to get the kids to help and get yourself prepared for the week.

Here are two recipes that I’ve made many times over and that the kids enjoy in a thermos for lunch.

Recipe: Zuppa di Polpette Piccoli (Mini Meatball Soup)
Makes 4 servings
This soup is beloved by kids and adults alike. The little meatballs can be made ahead and frozen to add to soup during the week or pasta sauce for another night. Planning ahead can keep you fed for several nights. This has always been a favourite soup of mine since I was a kid. It’s quick to make, even quicker to eat, and tastes extra special with a sprinkle of cheese when serving.

Ingredients
8 oz (250 g) lean ground veal
1/3 cup (75 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh Italian parsley
Pinch each, salt and pepper
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
¼ cup (50 mL) Italian parsley leaves
½ cup (125 mL) pastina (small soup pasta) or orzo

Method
In bowl, using hands, combine veal, cheese, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Roll heaping teaspoons (5 mL) of meat mixture into balls. Set onto large plate.

Meanwhile, in pot bring stock and parsley leaves to boil. Add pastina and boil gently for 5 minutes. Add meatballs to stock using slotted spoon or ladle, and simmer for about 7 minutes or until pastina is tender and meatballs are no longer pink inside.

Tip: To sneak some greens into the diet, you can add 2 cups (500 mL) shredded spinach leaves or other favourite vegetables; they’ll cook right in and will very likely go unnoticed by the little ones.
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Recipe: Blueberry Bars
Makes 12 large bars or 24 squares

Very similar to a date square, this is a twist on the breakfast bars available on the market. These bars have added fibre. You can make them on the weekend and be ready for the week of snacks for lunches.

Ingredients
1 cup (250 mL) large flake oats
¾ cup (175 mL) whole-wheat flour
¾ cup (175 mL) natural wheat bran
1/3 cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, cubed and softened
1 egg

Method
1. In bowl, combine oats, flour, bran, sugar and baking soda.

2. Using fingers, mix in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Add egg and stir until moistened. Reserve ¾ cup (175 mL) of the mixture for the top.

4. With floured hands, press remaining mixture into the bottom of parchment paper–lined 8-inch (1.5 L) square baking pan. Spread blueberry filling (recipe below). Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture.

5. Bake in oven at 350 F (180 C) for about 30 minutes or until golden and blueberry filling is set. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

6. For storage, place bars in airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe: Blueberry Filling
2 ½ cups (625 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries
¼ cup (50 mL) water
2 tbsp (25 mL) packed brown sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) grated lemon rind
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch

Method
In saucepan, bring blueberries, water, sugar, lemon rind and juice and cornstarch to boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Let cool.

Emily Richards is a well-regarded Professional Home Economist and cookbook author.  Co-host of Canadian Living Cooks on Food Network Canada, many of her recipes can be found on our site.

Roger Mooking’s 5 Back to School Tips

It’s that time of year again: back to school. Having three children 5 and under, I’m often asked by other parents to offer tips on kid-friendly cooking. Here are 5 ways I get my children eating healthy — not just during the (back-to-)school season, but all year ’round.

1. Find fresh foods that your kids love
We always keep our house stocked with fresh produce, like bananas, mangoes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and cherries. Whenever the kids start looking in the fridge for goodies, we tide them over with fresh fruit until the next meal. We also always keep cans of tuna in the pantry, because they all love a tuna salad sandwich. Finally, I must mention hard-boiled eggs: there are always at least a half dozen in our fridge at any given time.

2. Figure out some easy, go-to meals that your entire family can agree on
In the summer when the kids are home and in between summer activities, my children love homemade macaroni and cheese made with rice or corn noodles. They also like roasted chicken tenders with just oil, salt and pepper, and a side of steamed or roasted sweet potato. It’s a win-win situation: they’re happy, and getting a healthy, quick meal. To keep myself and my wife interested, I may add some chutney or a fresh yellow tomato salsa for some extra flavour. We always eat loads of vegetables. The possibilities are endless with some imagination and experimentation.

3. Get your kids to try new things… whenever possible
Basically, we negotiate with the kids. One thing that’s non-negotiable, though, is that they must try a food before they say they don’t like it. Sure, sometimes they take the absolutely smallest bite imaginable; if they do, I tell them it’s not acceptable. They may fuss but, usually, if they give their food a good, proper taste, they realize that it’s not going to kill them and they may actually like it.

4. Accept that there are certain flavours they just won’t like
My eldest, 5, is really stubborn and picky when it comes to trying new things and venturing out — although she is getting better in her “old age.” Our middle girl, 4, will try (and eat, and enjoy) almost everything. And the youngest, who is 1, just wants to try everything we are eating; a terrific phase, we enjoy it while we can! None of the kids like anything too spicy or heavily-spiced, though, which is fairly common with children.

5. Make time for your children
My wife is an angel and we are very appreciative of the time we have with our kids. We don’t take them for granted, ever. We see managing them as our responsibility and duty. Every single day, we welcome their challenges with great appreciation and wonder. It may sound corny, but that is our secret. There is a lot of love. Love is the secret.

Roger Mooking is a 3rd-generation restaurateur who has earned a reputation as one of North America’s premier chefs.
As host of Everyday Exotic and Heat Seekers, his culinary philosophy is built on the perfect execution of globally inspired flavours and traditions.

Nettie Cronish’s 5 Vegetarian Back to School Tips

No matter how hard you try to serve your kids creative, healthy dishes, fruits and vegetables will never win over chips and candy bars. Still, there are strategies that will make healthy foods more popular in your household. The best approach is to allow freedom of choice when it comes to meals.

I became a vegetarian 40 years ago, when I was in high school. When I met my husband, he understood how important it was for me to marry someone who was a vegetarian, so for the first 10 years of our marriage he maintained a vegetarian lifestyle. Then came our 3 children; once they started school they wanted to eat what their friends did and that often included meat. In order to keep the dinner table as a place for discussion, not arguments, it was time for change.

Here are 5 vegetarian back to school tips, from our experiences at home.

  • 1. Involve your kids in their own meal planning

Take your kids shopping for food. In my experience, children are more likely to eat what they’ve had a hand in choosing. If you’re buying carrots, let your children pick out two or three and put them in a bag. Give older kids more responsibility. Explain how to select a melon and let them pick out the cantaloupe. Basically: get kids involved. They like to be involved and, with your guidance, they can become very helpful.

  • 2. Be a good example

Model the behaviour that you want your children to adopt. If you want your kids to like broccoli and kale, let them see you enjoying these foods yourself. Don’t pretend to like something you don’t; they’ll know you’re faking. Present food with a positive attitude — but, at the same time, don’t be pushy. As a vegetarian, I have a meat-free part of the grill covered with foil so that I can share the grill with their ingredients. They see this as an opportunity for cooperation. They want to taste my food and will eat my roasted vegetables and tofu because they taste just as delicious as their meat choices. Grilled slices of zucchini, peppers and carrots tossed with cooked rice or quinoa is a popular school lunch.

  • 3. Pay attention to packaging

I used to pack my kids’ lunches in empty yogurt and cottage cheese containers until my daughter sat me down and told me they were ugly and unappetizing. So I invested in horizontal steel containers that have partitions, so that their food won’t get soggy or discoloured. This way, the kids can choose their own order for eating their food. I had my kids decorate their containers with logos and their names. Sure, a few containers gone missing over the years, but the kids have never been ashamed of them (and were in fact always very proud of their artwork). Most importantly, they ate what was inside them!

  • 4. Be mindful of peer pressure

A tablespoon of apricot chutney over rice and vegetables, a few black olives and a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds added to a green salad — anything seemed possible until my kids encountered peers with limited taste buds. My son went to an alternative school where his best friend ate crumpled nori as a snack, so they supported each other’s healthy food choices and made them “cool.” But my daughter encountered food bullies, kids who made fun of her food choices and made lunchtime very unpleasant. Good lines of communication between her teacher and I sorted out the situation. I was invited into the school to lead kid-friendly vegetarian cooking demonstrations. Once the kids sampled the great-tasting food they helped prepare, there was a more positive attitude. Vegetarian sushi (see recipe below) cheesy burritos, apple blueberry muffins, and quinoa tabouli were all examples of healthy vegetarian food they enjoyed.

  • 5. Grow your own food

Show kids how food grows and help them develop an interest in fresh foods. Plant a windowsill herb garden or grow a pot of tomatoes on your back porch. If you can plant a garden, do so. Your kids will love these little projects.

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  • Recipe: Picnic Nori Rolls

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes 20 pieces

Vegetarian sushi is ideal for a picnic. It travels well, it’s dairy-free, and it’s simple to prepare. Easy to make with a sushi mat, nori rolls can be filled with a variety of steamed or raw vegetables and seasonings. To make perfect rolls, use fresh, warm rice, and ensure that all surfaces and ingredients are dry — any excess moisture will soften the nori and might make it tear.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 sheets nori
  • 2 tbsp wasabi powder
  • ¼ cup sushi ginger
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 green onions or chives, trimmed to same length as nori sheets
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh sprouts
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • ½ cup water (use to seal nori roll)
  • Method
  • 1. Rinse rice well in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear. Bring 2 cups water to boil in medium pot; add mirin, vinegar and salt. Add rice. Return to boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Don’t stir rice.
  • 2. Spread rice on baking sheet to cool.
  • 3. Add 1 tbsp of water to wasabi powder. Stir to form a paste.
  • 4. Place one nori sheet on sushi mat.
  • 5. Spoon ½ cup warm rice onto nori sheet. Press rice firmly with fork to cover nori sheet. Leave a 2″ strip of nori uncovered along top and bottom. Spread a horizontal line of wasabi paste across middle of rice. Add a line of pickled ginger alongside the wasabi. Add 2 tbsp of carrots, 2 slices of avocado, 1 green onion. Add a few thin strips of sun-dried tomato, sprouts, and cucumber.
  • 6. To roll, lift sushi mat (at the edge closest to you) and begin to roll up, holding the filling in place with index fingers. Roll nori, neatly and firmly, like a jelly roll, almost to the end. Using fingertip, moisten the strip of nori with water to seal the roll. Fill and roll remaining nori. Cut each roll into 5 pieces.
  • Recipe: Dipping Sauce for Sushi

 

  • Ingredients
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp wasabi powder
  • 1 medium-sized garlic clove, finely minced
  • Method
  • 1. Mix ingredients together in a 2-cup measure
  • 2. Slowly whisk until blended.
  • Nettie Cronish is a Natural Foods Chef, Culinary Instructor and Cookbook Author. She is a vegetarian and has 3 children who want to eat meat. Her latest cookbook, Everyday Flexitarian, is about cooking one meal 2 ways.