Preparing and packing school lunches is a pain point for most moms. I know I’m not particularly keen on this monotonous Monday through Friday to do. Alas, it comes with the territory; and my son has adamantly sworn off cafeteria lunches “foreverrrrr—so I don’t really have a choice in the matter.
Then there are my own brown-bag lunches I should be packing for office days. They're getting pretty predictable too. Soooo predictable and boring and, well, blah. In fact, I often find myself running out to the corner deli for something more interesting... leaving my drab turkey on whole wheat to face the fate of my desk's designated disposal bin. What a waste.
Fortunately, I’m getting some serious lunchtime inspiration from chef/nutritionist Patricia Greenberg’s new book “Scrumptious Sandwiches, Salads, and Snacks.” Created in collaboration with her teen daughter, Gabriella Grunfeld, this collection features easy, delicious, and healthy lunch and snack recipes for kids and adults alike.
With 30 years of experience, Chef Greenberg has a greater goal of enhancing the public's education about nutrition with her site, TheFitnessGourmet.com, and I'm loving her unique take on healthy eating.
I'm sharing a few standout recipes from Greenberg's book, below... Because, it's only Monday—and we have four more days of lunches to pack, Mamas!
P.S. Most of the ones featured are more suited to you, Mom, unless you have an adventurous eater at home!
Sautéed Corn and Blueberry Salad (Serves 4)
1 15-ounce can corn kernels
1 pint blueberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
- Drain water from corn, rinse blueberries, set aside in separate bowls.
- In a sauce pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté corn until lightly browned. Cool completely.
- Add the corn to the blueberries, lightly toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and top with basil just before serving.
Cooking Note: Keep frozen corn and blueberries in the freezer, and this quintessential summer salad can be enjoyed in the winter as well.
Hummus, Pickles, & Red Peppers on Olive Bread (Serves 4)
1/2 red bell pepper
8 slices olive bread (best to use a small oblong loaf) 1/2 cup hummus
4 ounces shaved parmesan cheese
- Slice pickles lengthwise and thinly slice red bell pepper.
- Spread hummus on each of the olive bread slices.
Top with pickles and peppers and cover with parmesan cheese. Serve open faced or as sandwiches.
Rainbow Bell Peppers Stuffed With Tuna Salad (Serves 4-6)
3 6-ounce cans of chunk white tuna
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup corn, canned or fresh
6 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 cups baby spinach leaves
3 bell peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green
1 medium cucumber
12 cherry tomatoes
- Slice cucumbers, cut cherry tomatoes in half and cut bell peppers in half crosswise and remove seeds.
- In a large mixing bowl combine tuna, carrots and corn, and toss in the mayonnaise.
- Spread the spinach leaves evenly on 4-6 small salad plates. Place the bell pepper half on top of the spinach and fill it up with the tuna and vegetable mixture, top with the cucumber and cherry tomato halves.
Chocolate Carrot Truffles (Serves 12)
1/2 cup shredded carrots, set some aside for garnish
1/2 cup shredded coconut, set some aside for garnish
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon peanut butter, or nut butter of choice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a standard size sheet pan with parchment and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with the S blade, pulse shredded carrots until fine. Add coconut and nuts and pulse until combined and finely chopped.
- Add nut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cocoa powder, spices, and salt one ingredient at a time while pulsing. Blend until smooth, and the dough comes together, nearly forming a ball. 2-3 minutes.
- Scoop chunks of dough with a tablespoon and roll into balls. Sprinkle the tops with a mixture of remaining coconut and shredded carrot, and place on parchment lined sheet tray.
- Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
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