school: prepare for the lunch bunch
Packing your child’s lunch
box is a struggle for most parents, but not for
Shellie Sefton, mother of two. Sefton is a lunch box maven!
Her children’s lunch boxes always come back empty
and she constantly gets phone calls from other
moms who ask her how she does it.
spoke with Sefton recently and she shared some of
her secrets with me. She finds that when kids are
involved in choosing what goes into their tummies,
they’ll usually eat better. She designed a special
chart on the computer with the help of her husband
Daniel. The chart is on her refrigerator and every
morning Sabrina and Max check the chart to see
what they will choose for the day’s lunch. Since
Max isn’t able to read yet, there are pictures of
the foods to help him with his choices. There are
six categories, each with five
Smoked salmon with cream
Yellow Cheddar cheese
Tuna (light tuna rather than
Cream cheese and jam
choices are pita, bagel, whole wheat bread,
challah or healthy crackers. Sefton encourages
Sabrina and Max to choose a different sandwich
every day – otherwise they’d choose smoked salmon
and cream cheese most days. Also, they’re not
allowed to choose challah every day.
box and water with ice.
Apple or peach
slices (lemon juice prevents discoloration,
sprinkle lightly with sugar)
Yogurt with apples and cinnamon
Hearts of palm
Animal or fish-shaped
Nut-free granola bars (with no
Smarties or fruit roll-ups
Krispie squares (homemade or bought)
or cookies (nut-free)
If you’re trying to go green and reduce waste,
choose food-safe reusable containers and use your
own cutlery. Don't refill disposable water
bottles. The best choices are stainless steel
reusable water bottles.
Sefton teaches children’s cooking classes
called Yummy in your Tummy, although she will soon
be on maternity leave because she has something
yummy in her own tummy – she’s expecting her third
child in December!
Here are two “yummy-in-the-tummy” recipes
to make with your children for their lunch boxes.
They come from Sefton’s cookbook Cook and
which includes simple recipes, along with
appealing pictures for kids to colour to keep the
young chefs busy while waiting for the food to
bake, cook or cool.
these are called one-dish is because you only use
one dish, which means there is much less to wash
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup white
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking
1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
chopped walnuts (omit for a nut-free
1/3 cup chocolate chips (increase to
2/3 cup if making a nut-free
Preheat oven to 350. Grease
an 8-inch square baking dish. Put butter into the
dish and microwave for a few seconds, until it has
melted. Add white and brown sugars and mix well.
Add the cocoa and egg and continue mixing well.
Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix in the
vanilla extract and chopped nuts, if using.
Finally, add half the chocolate chips and mix in
gently, then sprinkle the other half on
Place the dish in the oven for 35-40
minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the
center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, cut
into squares and allow to cool. Yield: 9 large
gives these a rich butterscotch flavour!
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour,
baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and
sugar. When creamy and smooth, add the egg and
vanilla extract. Add the oatmeal mixture to the
sugar mixture and mix very well. Place the dough
in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator
until it is firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to
400F. For large cookies,
form round balls the size of golf balls from the
dough. Grease a cookie sheet and place dough balls
on the sheet. Use the back of a fork to push down
and flatten the balls. Make sure there is enough
space between the cookies so that they can expand
without touching the others. Place on the middle
oven rack for 10-12 minutes. Yield: 2 dozen large
or 3 dozen medium cookies.
Norene Gilletz is a cookbook author,
cooking teacher and food consultant based in
Toronto. For information about her cookbooks,
cooking demonstrations and culinary services, call
416-226-2466 or visit her website at www.gourmania.com/.