Now is a good time to dust off the thermos and start thinking about packing the lunchbox with some warm food for kids to enjoy across the day. Easy options include a cup of hearty, homemade soup or leftovers from last night’s dinner.
Soups are a winner at the end of the week when those last few vegies are looking a little tired. Plus, they make an easy way to boost the number of serves your kids are getting (and possibly throw in some new ones they might not normally try).
To whip up a quick and nutritious soup for dinner, just throw an assortment of diced vegies in a pot with some chopped onion and stock, cook for half an hour then either blend or leave chunky. If you want to get fancy, you can add some natural yoghurt to serve, along with some crusty, grainy bread to dip – done!
Winter warmer soup substitutes
Other great ideas for a warm vegie packed meal on those cold wintery school days include fried rice, spaghetti bolognese, curry, casserole or noodles. Just heat as normal and serve up the same amount into a thermos as you would place in a bowl if your kids were eating some for lunch on the weekend. Don’t forget to include a spoon and fork, as well as a napkin for them to wipe their face once finished.
Before you pack warm food for the lunchbox, remember to test your thermos on the weekend. Warm your food and pack into the thermos as you would on a school morning, then carefully check it together around lunchtime. The temperature of the food should be warm, but not hot as we don’t want to risk any burns. This is also a great time to help your kids practice opening and closing the thermos.
See below for one of our favourite soup recipes. Why not double the quantities and throw some in the freezer for another time? Soup freezes and thaws well, so it makes a great back up dinner on those busy afternoons when you are racing from work to school to music to sport and have no time to think about cooking.
Green Pea Soup
- olive or canola oil spray
- 3 onions, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 cups salt-reduced chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 500 g frozen peas
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 4 tbs natural yoghurt
- pepper to taste
- Heat a large pot and spray with oil. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring often until softened but not browned.
- Stir in garlic, cook for 1 minute then add stock and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes then add peas and mint.
- Bring back to the boil and simmer, covered, for a further 2 minutes, ensuring peas remain bright green.
- Remove from heat and puree with a stick mixer or in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth.
- Ladle soup into bowls, season with pepper and serve with a swirl of yoghurt, mint leaf garnish and bread.