*Since I first wrote this for my newspaper column the content of school vending machines has greatly improved. Never the less food available (including school meals) still varies up and down the UK which is disappointing. Teaching children to eat healthy is an important part of a child’s education, with so many benefits to their weight, concentration, sleep patterns, skin and general wellbeing. In the UK we are still trying to undo the damage that was done by Margaret Thatcher’s government and the selloff of many school kitchens.
In my free time I occasionally go into several schools to give cooking lessons, so I know first hand that even if good healthy options are available kids don’t always make the right choice. Sometimes they spend their dinner money on buying junk food out of the vending machines, and I personally wish we would follow the French example and ban vending machines in all schools. While the weather is still mild, I think a nutritious packed lunch is a way to make sure your child eats a decent meal. If your child’s a vegetarian and he or she takes a packed lunch to school…. here is a simple but different idea. If your child is not vegetarian then add a little cooked chicken or turkey; either way the end result will be definitely better for them than Turkey Twizzlers!
Ingredients (serves 3)
3 tomato & herb tortilla wraps
Half courgette cut in two
Half yellow pepper cut in two
Half red pepper cut in two
Half red onion peeled & cut in two
1 large flat mushroom peeled & cut in two
50 grams chestnut mushrooms, washed
1.5 tbsp olive oil
100 grams sun blushed tomatoes chopped
3 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
75 grams aubergine
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
- Preheat the oven 180 C( gas mark 4).
- Cut the aubergine into similar sized strips as the courgette.
- In a large frying pan heat half tbsp olive oil then lightly fry off all of the vegetables & the garlic *except the sun blushed tomatoes. Fry a few pieces at a time so they fry not stew.
- The vegetables should be fried until they are starting to go lightly brown, on a medium high heat then transferred into a large roasting tray ( making sure the vegetables are as spread out as much as possible).
- Rub in half tbsp olive oil & season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven on the middle shelf, turning occasionally, cooking until all the roasted vegetables are quite tender, then allow to cool.
- Peel the cooked cloves of garlic and smash them into a paste on your clean chopping board, then stir them well into the mayonnaise & add the herbs.
- Now cut all the roasted vegetables (on the garlicky board) into small bite size pieces and put them into a bowl together with sun blush tomatoes, adding the remaining olive oil if needed.
- Spread a teaspoon of the garlic mayonnaise onto the wrap then place a third of the roasted vegetable mix at one end then fold 25 mm in from each side and roll a tight cylinder that is about 45 -50 mm thick. Put some of the garlic mayonnaise into a small container so it can be used for a dip.
If you make a packed lunch for your child during the warmer months, then find out whether the school offers refrigeration space to safely store it If not a cheap way to help keep the food items good & cold is to buy the single portions of juice drinks then freeze them the night before. Just make sure you put the drink carton into a plastic bag so your sandwiches stay dry.
© 2002– © 2015 Kevin Ashton