If you or your kids are heading back to school next week, you might be an eager beaver: scouring the ‘net for healthy back-to-school recipes, getting your shopping lists ready, and maybe even getting a head start on some of your cooking so you can save time and money later. This is great!
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
–Alexander Graham Bell
If not, you may have some “homework” to do to get ready for the start of the school year.
If you’ve spent any time at the grocery store lately, you won’t be surprised to hear me say that so many of the pre-packaged or processed foods that are targeted to kids have a long way to go before they ever get this holistic nutritionist’s stamp of approval.
Sometimes it really is just easier to make it yourself. So take a look at these easy, healthy recipes for back-to-school friendly snacks, main dishes and desserts… and start cooking!
I have also included some of my favourite back-to-school tools/equipment and a link to my free meal planning templates so you can pass this coming school year with flying colours.
Citrus-Ginger Squash Spread
This is a tasty dip for all vegetables that adapts to whatever ingredients you have on hand. Kabocha squash isn’t available? Substitute it with any other cooked squash (except for maybe spaghetti squash). Delicata or sweet potato squash might be particularly nice because it’s extra sweet. Kids don’t like ginger or citrus? Replace one or both. Experiment and add different spices based on your child’s likes and dislikes.
Coconut-Vanilla Chia Pudding
I love this Coconut-Vanilla Chia pudding—and many kids do too! Skip the cherry compote or replace it with fresh fruit and this will be a filling, fibre-rich and satisfying snack for all ages. P.S. If your kids dislike the texture of chia seeds, try blending everything together until smooth. They won’t know the difference and this healthy pudding will beat the pants off anything you can buy at the store!
30-Minute Black Bean Sloppy Joes
Tangy and sweet, these quick-to-the-table sloppy joes made using black beans instead of beef are a great addition to your child’s lunch. Makes for great leftovers and even better school lunches. Just don’t forget to pack extra napkins!
Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup
This is a fan favourite and my “go to” when the trees start to have more red and orange leaves than green. If your kids don’t like “curry” or a lot of spices, reduce them or leave them out.
Sweets & Treats
Pink Lemonade Bars
These fibre-rich, nut-free pink lemonade bars are delicious and nutritious! They are a lemon bar sweetened and coloured with raspberries and a touch of maple syrup. Feel free to increase the maple syrup (up to double) so these are a bit more sweet than sour (the original is a bit tart for some). This recipe makes a big batch so you can save even more time in the kitchen this week.
Kid-Friendly Chocolate Chews
These nut-free Kid-Friendly Chocolate Chews remind me of the Rice Crispy squares I used to devour as a kid. They are a perfectly portable, sticky and chocolatey treat. Kids love making these too.
Party Time Dessert Pizza
As an added bonus, for after school, I love serving my Party Time Dessert Pizza to hungry people. Make a batch of the oat-based “pizza” crusts and let kids decorate their own. The crusts freeze well so keep a few extra on hand for when those after-school cravings arrive.
Every kid, big or small, needs an awesome lunch box!
Clever lunch boxes are ideal for kids – and any other fussy eater in your household who hates it when different foods collide on the same plate. You can organize your child’s snacks, main dishes and desserts easily with a practical and fun lunch box.
Here are a few of my favourites from Amazon:
And lastly, some simple menu planning can make all the difference when packing lunches for your family.
Grab my free downloadable meal planning templates here and help make this weekly task easier.
Looking for tips to support your meal planning? Check out All About Meal Planning: 10 Key Do’s and Dont’s for some of my best advice.
Now it’s time to hit the books!
Life is a plate… Eat up!