By Michelle Lauer, Certified Nutritional Practitioner
As sad as it can be to trade our bathing suits in for those snazzy first day of school outfits, we can’t help but get excited for the fresh start that lies ahead. Here at terra20, we get pretty darn excited about providing you with the best selection of back to school lunch essentials, from playful lunch bags to practical bento box containers. Once seen as a dreaded struggle, packing your lunch is a breeze with the right tools on hand. Our bento boxes empower everyone from kids to pre-teens to pack balanced and nutritious meals for their busy days ahead. Now what to fill them with? So glad you asked.
We know pizza for lunch everyday sounds like a dream come true...But I think we can all admit that this may not be the best option for ourselves and our little ones. Pizza hummus to the rescue! This pizza hummus is super easy to throw together (with the help of your little guy or gal, of course) on Sunday night and spoon into your bento box with some crunchy cut up veggies and pretzels for the week ahead. Not only is it an easy recipe to make together, but it will quickly become a nutritious lunch-time favourite.
The star ingredient, chickpeas provides a great source of protein and fiber that help to keep bellies full and moods stabilized. Chickpeas are also a rich source of manganese that is essential to building strong, healthy bones.
Garlic also packs a powerful nutritional punch with its antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties, making garlic one of your immune system’s best friends. We all know our immune systems need all the help they can get when school season is in full swing.
Loaded with B vitamins, nutritional yeast is a great ingredient to add to recipes that beg for that cheesy flavour (without the cheese). B vitamins are essential to providing us with lasting energy throughout the school day. Nutritional yeast also contains 18 amino acids, essential protein building blocks we need to combat so many things like fatigue and low immunity.
Healthy fats from sources like olive oil are so essential for kids growth and development. Quality fats are necessary for cell construction, nerve function, digestion and hormone function. We also need these important fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, E, D and K. To top it all off, our brains are composed of over 60% fat, which just goes to show how important healthy fats are!
- 1 15oz can of chickpeas drained (save some of the liquid!)
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
Drain the chickpeas and reserve some of the liquid. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add a tablespoon at a time of the reserved chickpea liquid until you reach your desired consistency. Scoop into your favourite bento box and add your favourite crunchy veggies and enjoy!
By Michelle Lauer, Certified Nutritional Practitioner
Struggling to find nut-free snack options to send to school? With most school boards now implementing a nut-free policy, it’s more important than ever that you find delicious alternatives to those almond-packed granola bars you used to send to school. As the busy back to school season gets into full swing, we’ve put together simple, handy and allergy-friendly recipes that you can throw together on Sunday night and lean on throughout the hectic week. These 3 ingredient nut-free power balls are just that. Easy to make with your little helper, they pack a nutritious punch, keeping bellies full and minds focused until the next meal.
High in polyphenols, compounds that protect our cells from damage, dates are a fantastic alternative to those empty-calorie sweets we crave. These guys are loaded with fibre to keep our digestive tracts running smoothly.
Did you know that healthy fats from sources like coconuts are essential for growth and development? Quality fats are needed for cell construction, nerve function, digestion and hormone function. We also need these important fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, E, D and K. Still not convinced? Our brains are composed of over 60% fat, which just goes to show how important fats are when it comes to our health and well-being.
These little gems are loaded with zinc which is essential to boosting brain function and improving immune systems. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of plant-based omega 3, which is so important for brain development in our little ones. On top of these benefits, pumpkin seeds also contain a dose of magnesium, a mineral used for over 300 functions throughout the body. One of the most studied, is the mineral’s ability to promote relaxation during times of stress. I think we can all agree that we need some assistance in that department during the back to school whirlwind.
3 ingredient Power Balls
- 1 ½ cups pitted dates
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp water
- Optional add-ins: cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest, cacao
Combine all ingredients except the water in a blender and blend on high until a dough consistency is formed. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough becomes sticky. Find your favourite little helper and roll the dough into bite-sized balls and store in the fridge for a healthy treat on-the-go! If you’re feeling fancy, these power balls look (and taste) great rolled in unsweetened shredded coconut or cacao powder!
People often use our lidded containers to keep things well in the fridge, but sometimes you need to leave the lid off to keep things at their absolute freshest.
Fresh berries are among the most perishable of produce, lasting less than a day if not handled properly immediately after you bring them home. Given how much they can cost in winter months and how good they are for you, the little beauties are worth the careful preservation.
Many schools and parents are looking to create litterless lunches – not only does it reduce waste (diverting it from landfills and conserving energy) but it also saves money and is often a much healthier option!
Every year, an elementary student in Ontario sends to landfills their own body weight in waste from conventionally packed school lunches!