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5 Simple Tips for Back to School Dinners

Yes, we are here, the first week of preparing back to school dinners! Do you feel like you are already running out of healthy meal ideas to get your kids (and the big kids) back to the table for week two? This follow up post from last week’s, 3 Simple Tips for Back to School Breakfasts & 4 Simple Tips for Back to School Snacks will hopefully give you some new ideas on how to put together some healthy dinners and wholesome lunches the whole family can get involved in!

If you can teach kids at a young age about healthy food choices and the fun to be had shopping, preparing and cooking food, they are more likely to grow up with a healthy attitude towards making balanced food choices and enjoying wholefoods and homemade meals rather than store bought processed meals.

Here are some Simple Tips for Back to school Dinners:

When I have conducted cooking classes for students of all ages I notice that kids love to make up their own salads. So, for great back to school dinners and lunches have a selection of healthy ingredients out on the table such as shredded chicken, chopped ham or left over shredded roast meats, maybe a selection of grains like rice noodles, brown rice and/or lentils and chickpeas and then a range of vegetables, salads items, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, baby corn or carrots, sprouts and get the kids to make up their own salad combinations, create little food stations at home.

Healthy pizzas and burgers are a fantastic way of getting the kids into the kitchen to help and if they are helping in the preparation you are more likely going to get them to eat the food that they have proudly prepared.

Keep the sweet sauces, dressings to a minimal and perhaps make your own tomato sauce and fruit toppings using fresh fruits to pour over ice creams.

Using skewers, sticks, noodle boxes, chop sticks, straws and fresh fruit ice blocks can make food playful and fun for kids to put food together and take to school to enjoy.

Get the kids involved in the shopping taking them to food markets, local farms where they can pick their own produce or collect eggs and teach them about where food comes from, involving them in menu planning and choosing recipes from cook books and magazines that they like gives them a sense of ownership.

For more helpful ideas for back to school meals check out my 3 Simple Tips for Back to School Breakfasts and 4 Simple Tips for Back to School Snacks!

3 Simple Tips for back to School Breakfasts

Cooking and creating back to school breakfasts, healthy meals to keep the kids interested can sometimes be daunting, so I have come up with some tips to help keep you sane in the kitchen and keeping your kids happy healthy at school and sitting at the dinner table.

A great way to make a healthy change is to see what kids love to eat and then adapt these store bought, highly processed foods into healthy home baked goods.

  1. Kids usually love the sugary breakfast cereals and a sweet start to the day, so to make your own fabulous cereal start by buying whole grains like oats, rice puffs and unsweetened flakes and combine them with a little honey and pure apple juice tossing them until covered and then baking them in a moderate oven until toasted and golden, you can then add your kids favorite dried fruits, nuts and even put a special toy hidden in the bottom of the container.
  2. Try eggs baked in a muffin tin with grain bread as a base and filled with spinach, tomato and cheese, or use soft whole grain flat bread or mountain bread to make a breakfast burrito using lean ham, a little cheese, tomato, spinach and some scrambled eggs, toast this my placing the burrito in between two fry pans over moderate heat on the stove until toasted if you don’t have a toasty machine.
  3. Frittatas, omelets and egg muffins are a great start and can include all sorts of vegetables and even leftovers.

Here is a great little back to school breakfast fritatta recipe to get you started!

Bacon, asparagus and parmesan frittata
Serves 2
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
Olive oil Cooking spray
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3 cm lengths
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
150g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
100g trimmed bacon, diced
100g grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 egg whites
¼ cup milk or water

optional
2 tablespoons fresh chives or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Heat a large 27cm non stick frypan over a moderate to low temperature, Spay in some of the olive oil and add in the asparagus, red onion, mushrooms and bacon. Fry for 3 minutes until the
mushrooms start to soften. Whisk the eggs with the milk, herbs and season with salt and pepper. Pour this over the vegetables and cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes until the eggs are slightly
firm to touch.
Serve with 1 piece of wholemeal toast / ½ toasted bagel / ½ toasted muffin or 1 flat bread.
Accompany half the frittata with wilted spinach and sliced fresh tomato.

For healthy back to school snack tips click here