Try these simple school lunches (recipe)
SNEAK ATTACK VEGGIE DIP
2 medium carrots, cut in 1 inch pieces
6 Roma tomatoes, quartered
2 small zucchini, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Place carrot pieces and two of the quartered tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the knife blade. Process by pulse method until the carrots are smooth and incorporated into the tomato. Scrape sides.
2. Add zuchini and bell peppers, and process until smooth. Add salt, yellow mustard and Italian seasoning. Process until well-combined. Drizzle oil into shoot while processor is running.
3. Serve with pita chips as a dip, or as a sauce for pizzas or bagels, or mixed with whole-wheat pasta. Store tightly covered in refrigerator, use within 3 days. Makes 4 cups.
TIP: If you need more healthy lunch ideas for creating a healthy shopping list, visit We Can! at http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov.
Making easy yet healthy lunches that your child won’t want to trade with friends in the school cafeteria can be as difficult as your young scholar’s long division homework. Creating an appealing, healthy lunch is not a new challenge, and today’s largely unhealthy pre-packaged lunches or cafeteria “treats” can be temptations that many students find hard to avoid. To help your kids refuel at school, here are several ideas for packing a healthy lunch:
Keep it interesting
Pack a small quantity of several foods in a Japanese-style, bento-type lunch box. Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Each compartment is filled with uniquely shaped, colorful foods.
Bento boxes are a great way to offer healthy foods in a fun and attractive way. Have your child help cut sandwiches with cookie cutters into different shapes. Add colorful fruits and vegetables in different sizes, and pack yummy dips such as fat-free or low-fat yogurt or hummus.
Pick a theme
Trigger your children’s creative juices by suggesting themes, such as:
The Dip: Cut a baked chicken breast into strips, and pack them with honey mustard for dipping. Include carrots and broccoli to dip in fat-free or reduced-fat ranch dressing.
Backward: Make an inside-out sandwich using lettuce to wrap turkey, fat-free or low-fat cheese, and tomato.
Mexican Food Mondays: Set out whole-wheat tortillas, lettuce, fat-free or low-fat sour-cream, salsa, brown rice and beans that aren’t refried, and have your student build healthy burritos or tacos.
Forget the white bread
Banish boredom by using whole-grain pitas, tortillas or rolls for sandwiches. Switch out the fillers, too. For example:
If your child loves peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, try a peanut-butter and banana roll-up. Spread peanut butter on a whole-grain tortilla, add a sliced banana, and roll!
Fill a pita with your child’s favorite vegetables, adding hummus for flavor.
Go beyond pretzels!
Dip apple slices in nut/seed butter.
Pack snap peas, sliced bell peppers or cucumbers for color and crunch.
Add some variety with air-popped, low-fat popcorn.
Watch the sugar
Don’t forget that juice and sodas can be high in sugar and calories. Replace them with water, or fat-free or low-fat milk.
So, before you roll up your sleeves and call on your young helpers, arm yourself with these and other ideas for making a healthy lunch that your children will look forward to all morning. Try packing my kid-pleasing Sneak-Attack Veggie Dip in your child’s lunch, along with some low-fat cheese, low-sodium crackers or baked tortilla chips for dipping or as a topping for pizzas, bagels or whole wheat pasta. You also can use this versatile dip on a whole-wheat tortilla. Add some low-fat or fat-free mozzarella cheese, then melt, roll and slice.
Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is http://www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.
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