Discover quick and delicious weeknight meal ideas perfect for busy evenings with school and activities in full swing. Get inspired and simplify your family dinners tonight!
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As the vibrant hues of summer fade and the first hints of the new academic year approach, it’s time to gear up for an exciting back-to-school season! As parents and caregivers, we understand the significance of providing our children with lunches that are both nourishing and delightful. These lunches not only sustain their growing bodies but also stimulate their minds, setting the stage for a day filled with learning and discovery. In this blog post, we’ll delve into a variety of back-to-school lunch ideas that strike the perfect balance between nutrition and taste, ensuring a successful and energized school year for our young scholars.
1. Bento Box Bonanza: Bento boxes are not only visually appealing but also a practical way to offer a balanced meal. Create a colorful array of bite-sized fruits, veggies, whole-grain crackers, cheese cubes, and lean protein such as grilled chicken or tofu. Kids will love the variety, and you can involve them in selecting their preferred ingredients, making it an interactive experience!
2. Wrap it up: Whole-grain wraps are versatile and can be filled with endless combinations. Opt for whole-grain tortillas and layer on lean meats like turkey, chicken, or plant-based alternatives like hummus. Add some crunchy veggies like lettuce, carrots, and bell peppers, and finish with a light dressing or spread for extra flavor. Roll it up and slice into pinwheels for a lunch that’s both wholesome and easy to eat.
3. DIY Lunchables: Skip the store-bought lunchables with their processed ingredients and preservatives, and create your own healthier version. Slice up some whole-grain crackers, lean deli meats, and cheese. Add in some cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a side of berries for a sweet treat. It’s a balanced meal that mirrors the convenience of store-bought lunchables, but with better nutrition.
4. Pasta Pleasures: Pasta salads can be a great way to incorporate vegetables and protein into a lunchbox. Use whole-grain pasta for added fiber and toss in cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and some feta cheese for a Greek-style pasta salad. For a protein boost, you can add cooked chickpeas or grilled chicken. Dress it with a light vinaigrette, and your kids will be eager to dig in.
5. Fresh and Fruity: Fruit is nature’s candy and an essential part of any lunch. Include a variety of seasonal fruits like sliced apples, berries, grapes, or mandarin oranges. For an exciting twist, make fruit kebabs by threading fruit pieces onto wooden skewers. These colorful and juicy treats will surely be a hit!
6. Soup in a Thermos: As the weather cools down, a warm and hearty soup can be incredibly comforting. Invest in a good-quality thermos and fill it with homemade vegetable soup, chicken noodle soup, or lentil stew. It’s a great way to sneak in extra vegetables and provide a warm and nourishing meal for your child.
7. Nut-Free Snacks: With the rise in nut allergies, it’s important to pack nut-free snacks. Opt for alternatives like sunflower seed butter or soy nut butter. Pair them with whole-grain crackers or apple slices for a tasty treat that is safe for all to enjoy.
Remember to keep your child’s preferences in mind while planning their lunches and involve them in the decision-making process. By making lunches exciting, delicious, and nutritious, you’ll set the stage for a successful school year, ensuring they have the energy and focus they need to excel academically and enjoy their time with friends.
Lastly, don’t forget to include a little note or a small surprise in their lunchbox now and then. It’s a wonderful way to show them some extra love and brighten their day while they are away at school.
Wishing all the students and parents a fantastic back-to-school season filled with learning, growth, and delightful lunches! Happy school days ahead!
Soft, chewy, and crispy edges with just a hint of cinnamon, these Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies are absolutely divine. Even better, you can’t taste the vegetable hidden in them!
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A simple classic, this slow Roasted Tomato Soup is rich, creamy, and comforting. Made with roasted fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and fresh basil, this tomato soup is full of flavor. Get your grilled cheese ready because this recipe will have you praying for a rainy day and savoring every element of the season.
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Aloo Shimla Mirch Sabzi is an Indian stir fry made with potatoes and bell peppers. Generally a dry dish with a variety of spices, you can serve it for lunch or dinner with roti or dal.
Continue reading “Aloo Shimla Mirch Sabzi (Bell Pepper Potato Sabzi)”
This Spinach, Pear, and Pomegranate Salad is light, hearty, delicious, loaded with feta and candied pecans, and exceptionally healthy.
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Crispy, sweet, and salty bites of tofu paired with sauteed bright broccoli on a bed of rice noodles. It can’t get any better than this. Filled with protein, this Teriyaki Tofu Noodle Bowl is perfect for a weeknight dinner or lunch prep.
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This easy, one pan meal is a hearty and healthy vegetarian meal the whole family can enjoy. Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s nutrient dense, packed with protein and fiber. Made with simple ingredients, this Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Brown Rice Skillet is colorful, tasty, and satisfying.
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Soft and tender on the inside with a crispy exterior, these Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings are the perfect spicy snack for any occasion.
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This Dragon fruit Smoothie Bowl is a beautiful, quick, and easy tropical breakfast recipe! Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is nutrient dense food packed with antioxidants, low calories making it a great option for vegan and paleo diets. Made with just 3 ingredients, dragon fruit, mango, and coconut water, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
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Growing up in an Indian household meant turning to natural and food remedies for minor ailments. If you had a tummy ache, Mom made us eat carom seeds or even cumin seeds. If we had a cold sore in the mouth, she would make us keep a clove on the sore for a few hours. There are so many more remedies that my mom and grandmother used but the one I remember and is most popular these days is turmeric.
As soon the cold weather set in or the first cough or sneeze of the season was heard, my mother would add turmeric to everything we ate. She would also make us drink Haldi Doodh or turmeric milk before bed each night. As a child, I hated this. As an adult and a mom, it is now my go to. Over the years, I’ve changed it from the basic turmeric and milk to adding a few new ingredients. Take a look!
- Turmeric – the most important ingredient as it has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The powder form is most commonly used though sometimes, I do use the actual root.
- Black Pepper – has anti-inflammatory properties and improves brain function. It is most important in this recipe because it activates the curcumin properties in turmeric therefore making the turmeric much more effective.
- Honey – is full of antioxidants, antibacterial, and antifungul properties. It’s also an age old remedy used to help sore throats.
- Cardamom pods – have antioxidant and diuretic properties, and is rich in compounds that help fight against inflammation.
- Ginger – also has anti-inflammatory properties, helps lower blood sugars, and improve heart disease risk factors. Ginger also helps fight against bacteria and viruses which can help reduce the risk for infections.
- Cinnamon – is also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it helps lower blood sugar levels, and helps fight bacterial and fungal infections.
Basically, every spice added to this recipe has anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties or both. I normally use cow’s milk when I make this for the kids but I have made it with almond milk and it has turned out just as good. I do recommend not to use sweetened milk if you are using a plant based milk as it changes the taste of the final product.
Here’s to wishing a healthy winter and a Happy New Year with my first recipe this year!
This Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad is filled with bursts of sweetness, texture, and nutrients. The quinoa soaks up a delicious Maple Dressing and the arugula gives just a hint of a peppery note. What’s best is it’s great to eat for lunch, or have as a side dish.
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This homemade Moroccan Spice Blend is the perfect way to add a little flavor to your meats, fish, or even vegetables! Roast, grill, saute, marinate, or even simmer in a soup, this blend is versatile and will enhance any recipe you use it in.
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A big name with big bold flavors, this dipping sauce is creamy, tangy, fresh, and vibrant. It lightens up any foods you are eating and is great healthy dip to add to your appetizer table.
Continue reading “Avocado Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce”
Fresh, peppery arugula topped with golden, crispy goat’s cheese medallions and paired with sweet figs all pulled together with a drizzle of olive oil. This salad seems like it is so simple but the layers of flavors combined with the comforting, warm goat cheese are the ideal salad either as an entree or a side to any dinner.
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Back to school is all I can think of at the moment. We’ve made it through the first week successfully so this week, we are adding a challenge – soccer practice. I’ve got two schools in opposite directions of each other, different timings for both kids, and now practice days. I’m definitely going to need as many snacks with me as possible. Easy to eat snacks and as healthy-ish as I can make them for my picky eaters are what I’m looking for.
These secret ingredient brownies are the perfect solution because the girls can’t taste or guess the secret ingredient! But the girls did approve of them and that is all I need to keep making deceptively delicious foods. Well, what is the secret ingredient you ask? BLACK BEANS! So when I first told the husband about my idea, he was very skeptical. He loved the black beans idea just wasn’t sure about adding it to a dessert.
But it works! You can’t taste the black beans at all, courtesy of my blender. And the addition of the beans gives the brownies a truffle-like consistency. They also remove the necessity of using flour so these become gluten free! My favorite part is that I can make these brownie bites in less than 15 minutes! Yep, ever heard of a baked dessert ready to eat within 15 minutes? It’s right here and it tastes delicious.
I wouldn’t count this as a healthy food but it is a good option to straight sweets. I won’t be making them all the time but often enough to get the girls moving. Make sure to pack one of these delicious brownie bites in your child’s lunch bag!
My oldest is going off to 1st Grade on Tuesday. I still can’t get over the fact that she is in grade school. When did she grow up? The school season starting also means sports, after school activities, homework, loads of laundry, and the list goes on. As much as I love cooking, on many of these nights, I’ll be looking for a nutritious but quick meal. And definitely meals that the kiddos are going to eat. I’ve compiled below some of our favorite family approved recipes. The best is that most of these take about 30 minutes to prepare so you can focus on homework, preparing lunch for the next day or spending time with your family.
Click on the recipe title below each image to get the recipes!
Summer is practically over in less than a week for us. I’m going to miss the lazy mornings, the relaxed schedules, and eating pancakes and french toast for breakfast. I’m looking forward to having a regular schedule in the mornings but planning them out will take some effort.
If you are looking for easy and healthy breakfasts then you’re in the right place! I’ve compiled some of our favorite breakfast recipes below. There are several chia pudding recipes as that has become a family favorite lately. Others, like the Apple Pie Oatmeal takes 3 minutes in the Instant Pot. I also like to make Almond Butter Breakfast Bars and Breakfast Oat Muffins over the weekend for on the go days.
If you want to see certain recipes on the blog, leave a comment below. I would love to create recipes for you!
It doesn’t get any tastier (or easier) than this delicious Citrus Herb Salmon topped with a sweet and spicy Mango Pico on a bed of Cilantro Lime Brown Rice. Ready in 30 minutes (yep, even the brown rice), this is the perfect healthy meal to serve your family. Continue reading “Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice”
Sweet and juicy peaches combined with warm spices in this moist and tender cake is the perfect end to your summer dinner parties. Peach Season is upon us and these delicious upside down peach cakes are the perfect bite sized desserts for your party!
Whenever it is peach season during the summer, I tend to over buy fruits that are limited and that I’m addicted to. Mangoes, figs, peaches are just a few on that list. I love my fruit; raw and in its many infinite forms that I give them. Last year, I was campaigning Grilled Peach Salsa because grilled peaches are just a summertime necessity during a BBQ. Upcycling grilled peaches into a salsa was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
This year, I decided to move away from grilling and try something different. I took the original idea of upside down pineapple cake and changed it around (mostly because our pineapple ended up as fried rice!). But I also changed up the traditional upside down cake just a little. At the bottom of the cupcake tin, I placed butter cubes and some brown sugar to give it a caramelized flavor then I lined the peach slices on the sides to keep their integrity of a peach and still be part of this upside down cake.
Every single bite has a juicy peach flavor because there are chunks of peaches hidden in the cake! And for the best peaches, head to your local farmer’s market. I bet you will be able to find fresh, organic, and juicy peaches. I’ll use the ones from the store if I miss the market but they tend to be underripe and I have to wait a few days to make sure they are perfectly ripe for me to eat or even use in recipes.
Many people are unsure of the skin – should you keep it on or peel it off? I prefer to keep the skin on. It doesn’t change the flavor or the integrity of the peaches but you do get to keep all of the fiber that the skin gives.
I hope you enjoy these delicious Mini Upside Down Spiced Peach Cakes as much as we did!
Looking for more delicious recipes? Check out these:
Grilled Pineapple Peach Salsa
Grilled Avocado and Peach Salad
Fig and Pistachio Tartlets
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta Tart
Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)
As I raise my girls, it has become very important to me that they keep connected to their roots and one of the ways I do this is through food. Lucky for me, they both love the typical comfort food fare of “Dal Chawal” or Lentils and Rice. A twist on the traditional Moong Dal Fry, this recipe adds zucchini and is low in calorie but nutrient dense.
Ready in just 15 minutes, this has become my latest go to recipe when I’m tight on time. Because moong dal cooks very quickly, I don’t soak them for more than 20 minutes.
Nutrition is also very important when I’m serving this dish as a main meal to the girls, and this dish doesn’t disappoint.
1 cup of zucchini moong dal gives you:
- 156 kcal
- 8.7 gm protein
- 7 gm fiber
As to cooking it over the stove versus the instant pot, traditionally, the dal was boiled first then added to the spices. I love just using one pot to make the whole dish so I usually add the uncooked dal into the spices/gravy mix then cook it in the instant pot.
I hope you get a chance to try out this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as my family does.
Looking for more lentil/dal recipes? I’ve got you covered. Check out some of these amazing dishes:
Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style
Instant Pot Kali Dal
Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles
Sweet, flaky, melt in your mouth delicious, and best of all, perfect to make in a pinch or for a simple dessert that looks as if you spent hours making it!
Figs are one of my favorite fruits and every year, I look forward to seeing them at the Farmer’s Market. I saw the most delicious looking figs at the market last week and knew I had to get them. I’ve been eating them with my chia pudding parfait, and just snacking on them throughout the day but wanted to jazz them up a little more.
These Fig and Pistachio Tartlets are so perfect to elevate the figs without completely losing them in a myriad of ingredients. They are extremely easy and quick to make too! I used store bought puff pastry squares (though a large sheet cut into squares works just as well), added a little butter and brown sugar to help caramelize the base, some ground pistachios to give it a nutty flavor and balance the earthiness of the figs, layered on the sliced figs and finally topped it off with some honey. Yep, I’m drooling thinking about them again!
What if Figs are not available anymore?
Yes, I dread when the Farmer’s Market doesn’t have anymore figs because they have such a short season that I try to get my figs in as much as I can during that time. But no worries! Here are a few more fruits you can use:
- Stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots are in season now also. Try one of those!
- Apples, pears, and even berries would work well!
- Instead of pistachios, try using ground almonds or walnuts
How do I serve the Tartlets?
Warm and fresh out of the oven is the best way to eat these. I’ve found that if I let them sit for too long, the puff pastry can get a bit chewy. Also, don’t forget the vanilla ice cream to go with these babies.
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy eating this delicious Fig and Pistachio Tartlets!