5 quick and healthy canteen food ideas

“Please, Sir, I want some more,” said Oliver Twist to Mr Bumble. As a school services manager, you probably want to serve canteen food that leaves kids wanting more. But coming up with cost-effective canteen menu ideas that are healthy and a hit with kids isn’t easy.

If you’ve run out of canteen food ideas, here are five quick and healthy canteen recipe ideas to try on your menu.

1. Fruit and yoghurt parfait cups

If your school serves breakfast, simple fruit and yoghurt parfait cups take just minutes to make. They’re a healthier alternative to sugary cereals or syrupy pancakes.

Layer the fruit between the low-fat yoghurt and top with muesli or nuts. You could also make smoothies and acai bowls. If your school doesn’t serve breakfast, these also make a great lunchtime dessert.

2. Chicken, beef or pork sliders

Sliders are like mini burgers, so they’re easy for little hands to pick up and eat. Fill them with your choice of meat (or veg patties), coleslaw and a slice of tomato. Add a dollop of mayonnaise, tomato sauce or garlic aioli.

Instead of a burger patty, you could do pulled beef or pork marinated in a classic barbecue sauce.

Serve with chips or veggie sticks. Sweet potatoes are a better choice than regular potatoes. They’re lower on the glycaemic index, which means they keep children’s energy levels stable for longer.

3. A hearty soup

On a chilly winter’s day, there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of delicious soup.

Here are a few popular kids’ soups:

  • Tomato soup. Add cheesy Vegemite sticks that kids can dip into their soup.

  • Minestrone soup. This is a vegetable soup with noodles or pasta. Add crispy croutons for crunch.

  • Chicken and dumplings soup. The dumplings make this soup more filling.

  • Beef barley soup. With chunks of beef, plump barley and vegetables, this is a hearty and nutritious soup.

For children who dislike vegetables, you can easily disguise veggies by using a blender to make a smooth, pureed soup.

4.  Ramen noodles

Ramen cooked from scratch, not the store-bought instant noodle variety, is a nutritious one-bowl meal. It has protein (chicken or pork and a boiled egg), carbohydrates (noodles) and vegetables (typically bok choy and scallions, but you can add other vegetables) that all come together in a flavourful chicken stock and soy broth.

Ramen is quick and easy to prepare. You can save time by pre-cooking the broth and preparing the other ingredients just before serving.

5. Chocolate zucchini muffins

Many kids love chocolate but don’t share the same fondness for vegetables like zucchini. Well, now you can sneak zucchini into a chocolate muffin, and they won’t know it’s there. Zucchini adds moisture to the muffin batter. If you add chocolate chips, you’ll have a wonderfully moist and chocolatey muffin.

Adding zucchini to muffins is a clever way to make the school lunches healthier. And here’s another health hack – use mashed banana or unsweetened apple sauce instead of refined sugar.

Upload your canteen menu to your school’s online ordering system

If you’re a member of Flexischools, you can load your menu to the school’s online ordering system. Parents can pre-order and pay for their child’s lunch on the Flexischools app.

You can track sales to see which meals are popular. This can help you plan school canteen menus with healthy meals that are likely to sell well.

Flexischools is Australia’s most well-known digital canteen solution, used by over 1,600 schools. To learn more about Flexischools’ online ordering system, click here.


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