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Let's Do Lunch

Yummy bagged lunch ideas for grownups or kids

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Let's Do Lunch

Everyone loves lunch! Whether at school or work, the pleasure of unwrapping and eating a lunch bag full of delicious, colourful, and healthy foods makes it one of the best times of the day. Here are a few easy and tasty main course lunch ideas.

Everyone loves lunch! Whether at school or work, the pleasure of unwrapping and eating a lunch bag full of delicious, colourful, and healthy foods makes it one of the best times of the day. Here are a few easy and tasty main course lunch ideas. Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly Peanut butter and jelly will always have its revered place, but many other nut and seed butters are making their move into the lunch bag. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, sesame seeds (tahini), pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all available as “butters” that can be used just as you would peanut butter. Their remarkably rich and nutty flavours bring a welcome variation to that traditional sandwich. Nut and seed butters provide plant source protein, complex carbohydrates, and essential fats along with important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and iron. Certified organic sources are now available in many stores. Fruit preserves made with organic berries, grapes, peaches, and other fruits are just one of the delectable possibilities to pair with a nut or seed butter. Organic Canadian maple syrup, agave syrup, molasses, and honey can also be used in combination with your favourite nut or seed butter to make a smooth and creamy spread. Fruit preserves, especially when made with berries, are a rich source of health-promoting phytonutrients. Global Lunch Wraps Think internationally when you plan your lunches. Whole grain tortillas and pitas make natural holders for a variety of delicious ethnic food fillings. Go Greek with a warmed pita full of the delicious flavours and traditional ingredients. Just before eating, put a layer of shredded lettuce in the pita. Add hummus, diced cukes and tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and pitted kalamata olives. Munch lunch, Mexican style, with a whole grain tortilla wrapped around refritos (refried beans), shredded Monterey Jack or white Cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, carrots, and cabbage. Top with tomato salsa before eating. Lunching on Leftovers Many dinner leftovers make delightful, nearly gourmet lunches–even when eaten unheated. Last night’s lasagna or grilled salmon can quickly and easily morph into today’s lunch. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and some minced parsley to instantly freshen the flavours. Leftover brown rice and stir-fry vegetables make a great noontime meal. Topped with a light splash of naturally aged tamari (soy sauce) and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, you’ll have instant Chinese food. Organic noodles and spaghetti are a versatile leftover ingredient for making a variety of lunch dishes such as Thai noodle salad or Italian parmesan spaghetti. Lightly steamed or sautéed vegetable leftovers add welcome flavour, texture, and colour to any pasta lunch dish. Olive oil, olives, sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, pine nuts, and freshly grated parmesan cheese give a Mediterranean touch to pasta, while toasted almonds or peanuts, grated ginger, and a dash of hot sauce perk up Asian noodle dishes. Add fresh fruit, veggie sticks, and a few natural fig bars, and you’re all set to do lunch in a bag. Maple Almond Spread This spread can be used for making sandwiches or for spreading on crackers, pancakes, rice cakes, or celery 1/2 cup (125 mL) organic roasted almond butter 1/4-1/2 cup (60-125 mL) organic Canadian maple syrup 1/8 tsp (.5 mL) pure vanilla extract In a large bowl mix all ingredients with a spoon or spatula until smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator in a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Use within two weeks.

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