Back-to-school is a hectic time of year but fresh pasta can be a life-saver if you’re a busy mom or dad with hungry kids to feed.

“I like it because I can make a dinner in 30 minutes or less and send the leftovers in my daughter’s lunch the next day,” says Alana Pace, author of the popular Parenting from the Heart blog.

Pace’s daughter is in senior kindergarten and loves having ‘noodles’ in her lunch because it’s fun, it’s a comfort food and it’s a bit more homey than some other choices. Pasta truly is a ‘staple’ on the noon-time menu – and travels to school at least twice a week.

It’s also a great source of fibre and complex carbohydrates, which means her daughter stays full until it’s time for mom to pick her up in the afternoon.

Pace puts olive oil on the pasta and adds butter and bits of chicken or ground meat for added protein.

Pasta is extremely versatile and goes with just about any vegetable or protein – even the ones for which kids usually turn up their noses. The active mom says she likes to chop up onion, broccoli, spinach and onions “fine enough so you can’t tell what it is” and put it into sauces.

Besides having them ground up on the top, some of Duso’s products contain the goodness of vegetables right in the pasta, including spinach and egg linguine, butternut squash mezzaluna and kale and ricotta tortelloni.

Please visit our meal ideas page for recipes to try this fall: