Let’s Do Lunch- Six Tips for Lunch Box Success

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We recently posted our “Oh, Happy Day” blog highlighting some breakfast options for the morning rush hour. Soon, we were inundated with requests for lunch ideas that are healthy, quick and appealing to the short set who are the leaders of tomorrow. For real. Tell them that-it makes them feel good. Anyway, we enlisted the help of Yvette Garfield, author of the Handstand Kids cookbooks, to come up with some ideas. She gets an “A+” in our book:

6 quick tips for back to school lunches

1) Get a fun new lunch box/bento box that has compartments. This helps with giving variety and portion size.
2) Make lunch colorful. Challenge yourself to get 3 different colors of fruits and veggies.
3) Have your child involved in the lunch process-from farmer’s market shopping to making a dish for the lunch box.
4) Don’t be afraid of soup for lunch. Kids love soup and it’s a great way to sneak some veggies. There are lots of great thermos options that keep soup hot till lunch time.
5) Dessert is ok, just try to avoid preservatives and processed items (see the recipe for Popcorn Balls below).
6) Read your labels! Make sure your peanut butter is made with JUST peanut butter, not sugar and hydrogenated oils. Fruit juices should not include artificial sugar; simple ingredients are always best.

Three recipes from Handstand Kids!

Apple-licious Taquitos

Ingredients:

  • 1 package whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 apples, red or green (manzana)
  • 1 jar applesauce (no sugar added)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (canela)
  • Vegetable oil (aceite)

Tools:

  • Instructor knife
  • Apple corer
  • Paint brushes
  • Spatula
  • Large spoon

Instructions:

1. Dice 3 slices of manzana on the cutting board. Mix the diced manzana with the applesauce.
2. Add a few dashes of canela in the bowl. Stir.
3. Use the pastry brush to lightly coat both sides of the tortillas with aceite.
4. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the manzana mixture in the center of each tortilla.
5. Roll the tortillas to make a flute shape then carefully place them on the griddle, seam-side down.
6. Cook for 5 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the tortillas become crispy. Then remove them from the heat and let cool.

Popcorn Ball Treats!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup agave or honey
  • 6 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1 handful of dried fruit (cranberries or blueberries)

Tools:

  • Large bowl
  • Oven mitts
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Ribbon

Instructions:

1. Pop the popcorn kernels in a popcorn machine, microwave or over the stove and put into large bowl.
2. Pour the oil over the popped corn and gently mix through with wooden spoon.
3. Drizzle the agave or honey over the mixture. Carefully stir with the wooden spoon and pour in the dried fruit.
4. Grease hands with a light coat of oil and quickly shape the coated popcorn into balls before they cool.
5. Cover them with the plastic wrap and add to any lunch for a delicious treat.

Fiesta Corn

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned or fresh corn kernels
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1 lima (lima), halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (aceite)
  • Salt and pepper

Tools:

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large skillet
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon

Instructions:

1. Dice the peppers and set aside.
2. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
3. Chop the cilantro and set aside.
4. In the large skillet, heat the aceite over medium heat.
5. Add the peppers and mushrooms, stirring them in with the wooden spoon. Cook for 4 minutes.
6. Add the corn and cook for another 3 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Squeeze the lima over the vegetables.
9. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

-Ciao
Stephanie Blackford
Communications Director, Epicurean Culinary Group
sblackford@epicureanCG.com

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