September is just around the corner and that means the dreaded school lunches are BACK! As a high school teacher, I am often up and out the door before my Kindergartner and preschooler even wake up, meaning school lunches have to be made/organized in advance(well, almost all the time!).

I am always looking for healthy, fresh and easy school lunch ideas with bonus points going to those that the kids will actually LIKE. I have one adventurous eater and one slightly picky eater so more often than not, I am making two different lunches. I prefer lunches that I can throw together over the weekend and either freeze or store in the fridge for a few days. It is all about meal prepping for this busy family of four!


Chickpeas , commonly known as garbanzo beans, are an old world pulse in the legume family and have many culinary functions, including starring as the main ingredient in the ever-popular hummus. Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein and they contain several key vitamins and minerals that help with growth and development. Adding quinoa and a few fresh veggies to this salad increases the protein and nutrient content even more, making it the perfect energy-boosting lunch for school or work!

My Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Pita recipe is great for meal prepping ahead of time (say, on the weekend) and doling out for school AND work lunches! Perfect in a pita or with pita triangles on the side, which my Kindergartner prefers.


My kindergartner uses the Yumbox bento box-style school system and the salad and pitas fit perfectly, along with some fresh fruit and snacks. We use Mabel’s Labels to stay organized and to keep my daughter’s lunch equipment easily identifiable. Perfect for school lunches, the labels are waterproof and guaranteed to stay on even in the dishwasher! The Mabelhood also has loads of delicious and easy back-to-school lunch ideas and inspirations. Check them out here and happy lunching!


Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Pita Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes, including cook time



  • 540mL/19oz can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, diced 
  • 1/4  cup green pepper, diced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup crumbled, low-fat feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced, Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped (green parts only)



  • 1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons each of fresh, chopped herbs (I used Greek oregano and flat leaf parsley)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients and mix well
  2. In a separate bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk well
  3. Drizzle dressing onto salad and gently mix with a spoon or salad tongs
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Bon appétit!



A mother and lover of all things practical, Jill is a 40-something, teacher, world traveler and self-proclaimed pragmatist trying to navigate this journey called life. She currently works as a freelance writer/photographer, part-time teacher and full-time mom to two fabulous daughters. Her blog www.pragmamamma.net features simple and family-friendly recipes, original photography and hot parenting topics. Her diverse career has taken her to London, England and to the sky scrapers of Bay Street, Toronto. Jill loves getting creative in the kitchen, reading, spending time with her family and snapping photos around her neighbourhood in Burlington, Ontario.

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