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Back to reality: A fresh lunchbox idea

This post is sponsored by Summer Fresh.

It’s coming… That’s right, the end of summer is just around the corner and for many people that means it’s back to reality. That reality can mean different things for different people – for parents, it means the back-to-school routines start up again. For households where there are no school-aged children (like mine) it does mean that it’s back to the daily grind – life somehow feels a little more rushed, a little less relaxed and the fact that the days are about to start getting shorter doesn’t do anyone any favours.  Even people who don’t have lots of time off work in the summer change their pace once September rolls around.

As a teacher, I always start the year feeling SO unprepared – it doesn’t matter how much work I have (or haven’t!) done through the summer, I never feel like it’s enough. This summer my school has been under construction so I actually haven’t been into my building yet – there’s been very little I can do to prepare for next week (our planning week) so instead, I have chosen to focus on other areas of my life that I CAN control in order to make that back-to-reality a little easier for myself.

As I undertake writing my very first cookbook (over the course of the school year, no less!), organisation is going to be a key factor in my success – both at meeting my writing deadlines but also in terms of my everyday life which, I have heard, will go on as I tackle this huge project!  This fall, I’ve chosen to focus on simple, small changes that will hopefully have a big impact on how organised and prepared I feel. For example, for the first time in forever, I unpacked my bags and put everything away on the day after I returned from 7 weeks in Europe. So, my office is fairly organised and ready to work in. I’ve been trying hard to meal plan to make sure we have a proper meal each night (as opposed to “cookbook or blog food” which may or may not involve a complete meal). And then there’s the question of lunch.

You see, it’s not just parents of school-aged kids who have the lunchbox dilemma to face. Grown adults like me and Neil also face this constant question of what to bring for lunch that doesn’t involve a huge amount of food prep, is cost-effective and healthier choices than one might find in a vending machine or takeout place.  A couple of years ago, I wrote about my strategy for building a better lunchbox which, for the most part, simply involves a little bit of planning and cooking on the weekend and making sure we have enough Tupperware to pre-package items so they are easy to grab and go in the morning. I’m a big fan of constructing my own meals and bring along all sorts of (usually salad) meal components so I have a choice at lunchtime. Grains, greens, seeds, cheese, fruit, yoghurt and dips populate a little area in the staffroom fridge that I have carved out as my own. Come lunchtime, I construct a big salad based on what I’m feeling like that day.  Neil, on the other hand, doesn’t have the space to store tons of ingredients, nor the time to construct his own meal at lunchtime so his lunch is generally a little more “composed” and ready to eat.

One item that both of us have every lunch without fail is some kind of dip. When I have the time, I do try to make my own (although, truth be told, that’s mostly in the summer) but if not, we always try to have a couple of different kinds of dip on hand for, well, dipping raw veggies into or spreading on toast or bread (I will often have hummus on toast with a bowl of soup for dinner if I’m home late with no time to cook – it’s a nice way to get some protein in a quick meal).

Summer Fresh lunchbox idea on eatlivetravelwrite.comBecause, you see, dips are not just for dipping. Today, I’m partnering with Summer Fresh to share a fresh lunchbox idea (for kids and adults!) that works on a number of different levels:

  1. Easy-to-find-ingredients (you probably have most of them already)
  2. Colourful ingredients (this is important when appealing to kids)
  3. No mess-no fuss preparation (important whether you are preparing this for kids or adults)
  4. Kids can help prepare the components of this dish the night before so they share the lunchbox duty
  5. You can assemble this the night before or send along the separate components for assembly “on the spot”. This gives kids the control over what they are eating (within a defined set of ingredients) and might encourage them to eat more since it’s their choice. In the lunchroom at school, I see a few lunchboxes composed of separate components that kids seem to really love assembling.
  6. It’s not just a great dish for a school or work day lunch – this would be a fun recipe to make as a family on a weekend too.
  7. You can certainly ramp this up to be dinner – add some protein (grilled chicken, for example) and you’ve got yourself a filling nutritious meal. Change up the wrap or use a hard tortilla – the possibilities are endless.

Assemble yourself Mexican wraps on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’ve chosen to use the Edamame Hummus dip in this recipe (Summer Fresh does an Avocado Hummus which works well here too) but I think the general idea translates to other flavour combinations as well. Think of this as a template.

Mexican pinwheel sandwiches

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins

Easy pinwheel sandwiches for fresh lunchbox inspiration.

Ingredients

  • 6\" corn tortilla wraps (you can substitute wheat wraps)
  • your favourite Summer Fresh hummus dip/ spread
  • your favourite salsa
  • your favourite cheese, grated
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomato

Instructions

  1. Place a tortilla or wrap on a cutting board and spread with approx 1 tablespoon hummus.
  2. Layer other ingredients in the lower third of the tortilla/ wrap horizontally.
  3. Roll the wrap from the bottom up, making sure to tuck in the ingredients as you roll.
  4. You can serve this as is, cut in halves or in pinwheels.

by

Mexican wrap in lunchbox on eatlivetravelwrite.comThere are so many possibilities with this recipe, I hope you’re inspired to create your own fresh lunchbox idea too!

Mexican pinwheel sandwiches on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Check out the Summer Fresh range of dips and salads and find even more back-to-school/reality inspiration for sandwiches as well as fresh snack ideas.

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About Summer Fresh
Summer Fresh is a Canadian owned and operated company with products in Canada and the United States, specialising in hummus, dips and salads, committed to providing consumers with fresh, healthy and everyday eating options.  Summer Fresh is celebrating 25 years of making hummus, dips and salads from family recipes using simple ingredients.

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Summer Fresh but all opinions are 100% my own. I only write about products I use and can personally recommend.

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18 Responses to Back to reality: A fresh lunchbox idea

  1. Diane Galambos August 26, 2016 at 12:14 #

    Hey Mardi, I have no one going “back to school” but this still sounds like a great taste sensation. Congrats on all your news about the cookbook. Love your posts. (We met at the TO get-together with Melissa last December.) Diane (FBC-er)

    • Mardi Michels August 26, 2016 at 15:11 #

      Thanks so much (and right re: not just kids needing lunch ideas!) 🙂

  2. Ayngelina Brogan August 26, 2016 at 12:53 #

    Even though we have a restaurant we’re still all about healthy convenience and we eat store bought hummus all the time. It’s perfect to keep in the fridge for sandwiches or even just a snack with carrots.

    • Mardi Michels August 26, 2016 at 15:10 #

      Right? It stops me from eating other less healthy alternatives!

  3. Mairead Rodgers August 26, 2016 at 16:29 #

    I always have hummus on hand in the fridge, either store bought, or homemade. This is a unique way to use it besides just as a veggie dip! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Cassie | Crumb Kitchen August 28, 2016 at 20:41 #

    Putting away your bags right after vacation?! Amazing. That’s a heroic feat itself.

    As for lunches, I agree, it’s definitely a struggle for adults as well! These pinwheel sandwiches look healthy and fresh though, perfect for when you have a sad desk job or just want a little break from the kids at school. 😉

    • Mardi Michels August 29, 2016 at 07:01 #

      I know, right re: the unpacking – so often I let my suitcase linger in my office until… well… the next trip LOL! I’ve been making a concerted effort to keep my office and the kitchen clean and keep on top of laundry. Oh, and meal plan. Organisation is key!

  5. Carrie September 2, 2016 at 12:24 #

    What an amazing healthy back to school lunch idea. It looks so good I will have to make extra for myself! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Mardi Michels September 2, 2016 at 15:46 #

      Well it’s something a little different 🙂

  6. Terri Gilson September 2, 2016 at 13:03 #

    Looks healthy and delicious! I eat lunch in my van on my lap regularly so am always looking for new ideas 🙂

    • Mardi Michels September 2, 2016 at 15:46 #

      Oh my goodness – you definitely need portable lunch ideas then!

  7. Karen Ahmed September 2, 2016 at 16:17 #

    Love these!

  8. Vicky Chin September 2, 2016 at 20:30 #

    My kids would love to make these themselves for their lunches ! So easy, yet fresh and healthy ! Thanks for sharing ! And all the best to your first cookbook, how exciting !!

    • Mardi Michels September 3, 2016 at 07:18 #

      Yes I imagine kids would love to make these – it’s a pretty versatile recipe – easy for parents to make but also accessible for kids! And thanks!

  9. Teresa September 3, 2016 at 04:55 #

    My mother has started making my father’s lunch again, as he has a bad habit of eating out and eating overly rich foods when left to his own devices. Something like this would be perfect for the little fridge he keeps in his office. I’d enjoy this myself, for lunch or for dinner on the one of those nights I have to run out to a meeting.

    • Mardi Michels September 3, 2016 at 07:16 #

      That is precisely why I pack a lunch for Neil 😉

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