ingredients for carrot soup

50 Cent carrot lentil soup

Carol Harrison Healthy Lunch Ideas, Recipes, Thermos, Time and Money Savers, Yummy Lunch Club Leave a Comment

Who says healthy eating has to cost a lot of money?

That’s what I said with a smile to the young cashier as she gave me a blank stare back and rang up the two pound bag of carrots that were on sale for 88 cents (deal huh!). My kids weren’t with me but I could hear their embarrassed voices ringing in my ear, do you think she really cares mom? On sale or not, carrots are one of the best healthy buys in the grocery store (See 5 Surprising things to know about carrots – Quiz!)

tenement housing Ireland

Photo Credit: Eric Luke

I wear my thriftiness like a badge of honour.

I get it from my mom who grew up in Dublin’s tenement housing. I found this photo online of the one bedroom flat she lived in with my gran, widowed in her 30’s with six small children in tow…enough to keep my daily pouting in check. It was still all boarded up a couple years ago when I was last in Dublin. They lived on the second floor, second window to the right.

Well little do my kids know, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and they’ll soon learn how to get the most value from their food dollar too, all thanks to my mom. (see 5 Genius ways to eat well and save)

So I did the math. This soup comes to 50 cents a serving and that includes the hunger-curbing red lentils I added to the original Foodland Ontario recipe.


pulse pledge

It’s another way for our family to keep up the Pulse Pledge we made a few weeks back to eat pulses weekly.

My daughter loves this so much I’ve started freezing it in single portions. We just need to be sure it’s steaming hot when it goes into the warmed-up thermos. (see 4 things to know about using a thermos for school lunches).


healthy kids lunch with carrot soup

Being a dietitian, I was curious to do the nutrition math too.

One cup of this soup gives a whopping:

• 2 bananas worth of potassium;
• ¾ cup of milk worth of calcium;
• 2 eggs worth of protein;
•  3 slices of whole wheat bread worth of fibre;
• 23% more of the disease fighting, immune boosting antioxidant beta-carotene than raw carrots.

And are you with me on this one?

Sending hot soup to school on a cold winter day is like giving your kid a little hug at lunchtime. So there you have it, budget-wise-and-healthy-love-in-a-thermos carrot lentil soup.

What can I blog on next that will help to make planning or packing healthier school lunches easier for you? Email me:



50 Cent carrot lentil soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Dietitian's Tip: The canola oil in this recipe plays an important role in helping our body to absorb the beta-carotene, so don't omit it! *Kids Cook Young kids can rinse and lightly scrub the carrots clean. There's no need to peel them. Most of the nutrients are found just below the skin anyhow!
Serves: 6
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) Canola oil
  • 1 Ontario Onion, chopped
  • 2 lb (1 kg) Ontario Carrots (about 8 large carrots), scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) red lentils
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth (homemade or low sodium)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (385 mL) 2% evaporated milk
  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or big pot over medium heat and add oil. Heat for 30 seconds, then add onions, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Sauté stirring often until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the red lentils, bay leaf and broth. Bring to boil then lower the heat. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Discard bay leaf. Add evaporated milk and purée. You can use an upright blender or food processor but I find using an immersion blender makes for a quicker clean up and does a fine job. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a bit more water.
*All “Kids Cook!” ideas are meant as a guide only. You know what your child can safely manage. Make sure they know and understand your rules for working in the kitchen safely and always supervise kids in the kitchen.


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