Healthy Lunches: Good in Every Grain - Toronto Teacher Mom

Healthy Lunches: Good in Every Grain

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


With only a few days of school left before the holidays, the last thing you want to think about is preparing school lunches. But, because getting all the essential nutrients that a growing brain needs is important any time of year, it's always a good time to talk brain food. We all know that we should "aim for four" when it comes to selecting foods from the four groups in the Canada Food Guide. Yet, sometimes it isn't so easy to come up with lunchtime ideas that not only get our children excited but also provide them with a healthy and balanced meal. 


Luckily, Grain Farmers of Ontario is here to help! As part of the Good in Every Grain campaign, they have teamed up with Healthy Grains Institute and Registered Dietitian and mom, Cara Rosenbloom to help parents across the province prepare balanced meals for their children. Using the "Food for Thought" tips below, I recently used our new Bento lunch box to send my daughter to school with a chicken sandwich using leftover chicken breast and mayo stuffed into a mini whole grain pita. I paired it with fresh broccoli, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes with a Ranch dip and a side of seedless grapes. 

Food for Thought:
  • Whole grain products are a great source of nutrients such as fibre, B-vitamins and minerals that are necessary for growth and development.
  • A balanced meal should include: whole grains, vegetables & fruit and protein.
  • Cara recommends the balanced plate approach: fill your plate, or lunch box with: half vegetables or fruit, a quarter protein and a quarter whole grains.
  • Get kids excited about their lunch by giving it a cool name and using bright colours.
As part of the Good in Every Grain campaign, Cara has developed some simple, tasty and nutritional lunchtime meal ideas that are balanced and fun. Both recipes for Whole Grain Pizzadillas With Tofu Ranch Dipping Sauce and Grainiac Mediterranean Lunch Box are accessible below by simply clicking on the thumbnails.


Fun Fact: 
Grains are local. There are 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers right here in Ontario!


Grain Farmers of Ontario would like one of my readers to have the opportunity to test out these recipes and tips by giving away a Good Grain Lunch Box bundle ($100 ARV). This will include:
  • A new colourful and compartmented lunchbox 
  • A $50 gift card to Metro grocery store 
  • WOW BUTTER, a soybean –based alternative to peanut butter
  • Good in Every Grain gear, including a folding water bag, buttons & kid shirts
To be eligible to win, you must be a resident of Canada and enter via the Rafflecopter form below.


Disclosure: I received a product to help facilitate this review. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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80 COMMENTS

  1. I like to add a frozen smoothie to my sons lunch. It melts enough by the time he needs it. Good to get extra veggies and fruit in!

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  2. Looks yuum..I'm still struggling with my kids to make sure they eat more veggies...Fruits are no problem at all, but veggies..we still have to work on it..

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  3. I usually pack them with extra fresh fruits to school and at home, we have colorful plates ..Sometimes it takes a while for them to finish the meal but they usually want to at least try the veggies :)

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  4. Pack cut up cheese and veggies and dip!

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  5. my son loves to impress his teacher with a healthy lunch and actually wont touch cookies if i send them. so my tip is to go with the health teaching they do at school

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  6. Eat local to get the freshest and healthiest produce.

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  7. I try to make sure that I put foods from all 4 food groups into my kid's lunches for a well-balanced diet.

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  8. Ideally my healthy lunch would be hot: soup or stew or chili with some bread, crackers or pita.

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  9. I always put granola bars and apples in their lunches.

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  10. Cut up veggies & fruit on Sunday and put in containers so all you have to do during the week is grab and put them into the lunches! And dips always help to get them to eat them! (Judy Cowan)

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  11. my daughter likes salads and fresh veggies with a dip or hummus for her lunches and snacks

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  12. Make the veggies into cute shapes so kids are interested.

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  13. I love all of these ideas and I love that cute lunchbox - it would inspire me to put more effort into school lunches and offer more variety! I have a heart shaped sandwich cutter and use that to pack a little love in my kids' lunches. :-)

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  14. I can't get my son to touch anything that looks remotely like a veggie. I still add them hoping for a miracle one day but in the mean time I make all his applesauce from scratch and put veggie purees in them. He loves it so much he takes it almost daily

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  15. I try to make sure that there is a little treat for my daughter that she can have when she eats all of her healthy food.

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  16. Invest in good quality "Thermos"-type food jars and send hot food as often as possible. It's the only thing that saves us with our two who have grown very bored of sandwiches!

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  17. I always pack my sons lunch full of veggies and fruits.

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  18. I pack carrots and hummus.

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  19. Peanut butter and jam sandwich and apple

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  20. I put yogurt in lunch frozen in the morning and by lunch time its thawed and still cold

    RAFFLECOPTER NAME is Anne Taylor

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  21. I try to pack protein for both breaks like hummus and veggies or goats cheese and crackers.i keep the treats for at home.

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  22. always try to eat fruits and veggies and some protein for lunch

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  23. Salad every day with lunch!

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  24. I send a couple of finger foods for my daughter, she prefers that over a big sandwich and she gets a good variety of healthy foods

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  25. I pack whole wheat bread fresh cheese yogurt and a smoothie that keeps cold in a cooler lynnbeaniethethird@yahoo.ca lynn clayton

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  26. I love finger foods and variety which leaves a whole lot of options thankfully. If packing lunch for a kid let them help choose some of their lunch. My 4 year old niece loves crab, raisins and olives in her lunch - not things I would have ever thought to pack for her. You never know what'll be a hit!

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  27. I find variety keeps my kids interested in a healthy lunch everyday, I pack salads, fruit and veggie shapes, always try to keep it fun and not too repetitive :)

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  28. My son loves finger foods so we use a compartmentalized tray with cut up veggies, pieces of cheese, dried cranberries, apple slices & raisins.

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  29. I make 4 school lunches everyday...and my kids do not eat sandwiches ! I have had to be creative but I love Diana's ideas & the bento box :)

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  30. I put fruits and vegetables in my kids lunches.

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  31. I am not a sandwich person and neither is my son. I often pack hummus and pita or crackers with cucumbers, assorted fruit and cheese.

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  32. Grilled cheese sandwich is always a hit in our lunch. Imakeitandcoolitbefireitsputinthebox.

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  33. I like to send 2 fruits and some veggies and dip in their lunches.

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  34. My kids love when I put grapes and carrots

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  35. Hummus and sliced veggies for a snack.

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  36. For me it is all about being prepared. I have been cooking things in bulk like chicken breasts or hard boiled eggs, and then we can use them throughout the week.

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  37. My daughter likes to put her food together, granola in her yogurt, dressing in salads, this really helps as does sitting down prior to shopping for the week and discussing what she'd like in her lunch.

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  38. we buy the pre-made salads at the grocery store - they last about 3 days - my daughter is happy with a salad every day for her school lunch (which is good because she doesn't like sandwiches)

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  39. We cut up veggies at the start of the week so they are avaliable during the week

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  40. I pre cut veggies and fruit the night before so that in the morning I can make the lunch nice and quick

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  41. Hummus was always a hit in lunches....and anything that can roll up into a tortilla!

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  42. I always make it the night before. What I love preparing are overnight oats, homemade hummus and veggie slices!

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  43. include a piece of fruit!
    jan

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  44. fruit, chunks of meat and cheese, veggies and little pita breads
    (Debbie W)

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  45. I like to send a yogurt dip in my children's school lunches and they always end up eating all of the raw veggies and fruits.

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  46. I love veggies and fruit for a snack, good and healthy

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  47. My kids love fruits and veggies in their lunch especially with a dip!

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  48. put a nice balance of protein,fruit,grain into the lunch..and small treat is nice to.

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  49. My tip is have precut veggies in the fridge - its easy to toss a handful into your lunch when they are ready to go!

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  50. I always prepare the lunches the evening before, I find that easier to prepare healthy meals rather than just grabbing something fast in the morning.

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  51. I like to put yogurt and carrot sticks in my kids lunches. (UMMMMM, maybe too much, like every day)

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  52. I let my son choose the ingredients for his lunch (from an assortment of healthy choices). I know he'll eat what he gets this way.

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  53. I have my kids convinced that yogurt is a treat! Thats all my tips.

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  54. We divide all the vegetables into bags before they get put away

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  55. I always pack raisons and a few chocolate chips mixed in.

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  56. Pack fruits, nuts and veggies for school lunches, mixes are also good for everyday use.

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  57. I always pack fruit and vegetables

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  58. I like to make a batch of cocoa bran muffins and freeze them. jut put in container and thawed by lunch

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  59. Make extra food for dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch the next day

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  60. Variety - change up lunch all the time so there is no need to get bored!

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  61. The grandkids love a change up with their lunches

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  62. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  63. I need you to make my lunch tomorrow ... back to trying to eat healthy again.

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  64. Pack fresh fruit & cheese!
    KellyPC

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  65. Include fruits that are bite sized

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  66. My daughter loves to take leftover soups

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  67. I try to include as much variety as possible. And multiple small portions.

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  68. make fruit and snacks into little shapes

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  69. I like cutting fruit with mini cookie cutters to make shapes. My kids love to eat them.

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  70. love a change up with their lunches

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  71. I love have fruit in the lunch.

    Florence C

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  72. cut fruits and veggies into fun shapes!

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  73. what a creative way to pack a lunch

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  74. seriously looks so good and great for kids and me lol

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