The Lunch Lifesaver (Paediatrician’s advice, school week menu and grocery list!)

The Lunch Lifesaver (Paediatrician’s advice, school week menu and grocery list!)

Scarlett has a friend in her class who comes to school with seaweed for a snack and packs her own salad for lunch. On the other end of the spectrum, she has a friend who usually carries a handful of pre-packaged snack items down to the lunch room and he once had half a gingerbread house packed in his sac. (His brother had the other half.) School lunches mean something different in every household. In other words, I know some moms who fret endlessly about creating a nutritional trifecta of foods each day while others place it at the bottom of their to-do lists. We all have the things we fall down on (don’t talk to me about babying too much) but building a healthy relationship with food is a lifelong gift we give to our children. However, don’t panic over that statement. I think we can all agree that school lunches are not only tricky to plan and execute but who doesn’t need a little help. So we put together this little lunch package we like to call the “lifesaver.” We spoke to one of Toronto’s most trusted paediatrician, Dr. Paul Munk, for nutritional tips, organized a menu of our favourite lunches and created a grocery list. You can use some of it, try all of it, but, for goodness sake, don’t worry yourself sick. Take it one day at a time and remember, if it all goes to hell in a lunch pail, you always have next week.

When we spoke Dr. Paul Munk we learned his top 5 tips for packing children’s lunches were neither difficult or wildly surprising–they just require a little planning. You know planning, right? It’s that thing I always forget to plan for.


Bring the kid(s) into the process by discussing options for the meal before preparing and packing it.

Always create a balanced diet. For instance, a sandwich or pasta, alongside a vegetable as well as a fruit.

Keep foods easy to eat by cutting into small, bite-size pieces.

Offer drinks of water or milk only.

Treats are to be included infrequently.



Curried Chicken Salad Pita with Grapes – This one is a double whammy with the protein and fruit all in one. Gotta love that.

Tuna and Black Bean Wrap – Throw in some cucumber and apple slices and you’ve got yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

Sandwich Sushi – Remember what the good doctor said about bite-size? Here it is in action, and I vote for the egg salad.

One-Skillet Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta – This one requires a little planning. Try making this one-pot pasta early in the week as a dinner and then use leftovers for lunch or make the dish on the weekend and store for the upcoming week. If you’re planning on using it for dinner and lunch, depending on your family’s size, you may want to make a double batch of the recipe.

Avocado and Cream Cheese Sandwich – This sammie is easy peasy. You can even mix-up the vegetables inside by using celery instead of cucumber.


2 Avocados
1 head of Lettuce
Seedless grapes
1 Tomato
1 Red pepper
1 Red onion
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil

Cream cheese
Parmesan cheese
Greek-style Yogurt
1 can of light tuna
Dijon mustard
1 (16-ounce) cans of black beans
1 (28-ounce) can of San Marzano tomatoes
Low-sodium chicken broth

Multigrain bread
Whole wheat pita
Pearl barley
Penne pasta

Curry powder
Salt and pepper

Roasted whole chicken

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Olive oil

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1 Comment

  1. Heather
    September 09, 10:33 Reply

    Post with ideas such as this one, are so helpful and appreciated (thank you!). Do you have any tasty (& healthy) school lunch tips/ recipes for a very picky 4 year old? My son would LOVE to see half of a ginger bread house in his lunch bag, but I am hoping that I don’t have to resort to that as an option- just yet 🙂

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