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lunch

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6 Tips for packing back-to-school lunches on a budget

It’s the start of a new school year, and that means new teachers, new friends, and new lunchtime struggles. While it’s easy to fill your kids’ lunchboxes with pre-packaged snacks, that doesn’t do much in the way of keeping their growing bodies healthy. Sending kids to school with healthy lunches each day doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. “School lunches may not seem significant in a child’s life, but when you add up that they are eating them five days per week, it’s quite a lot of their calorie consumption,” said Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician and founder of The Doctor Yum Project. “Teaching them healthy lunch habits from a young age will give them the tools to build lifelong healthy habits.” Many pediatricians are concerned that children simply do not get the amount of healthy foods they need to begin with. The Centers for Disease Control…

Vegan Thai-inspired snow pea salad with peanut dressing

Crunchy, colorful and full of flavor. This crisp Thai-inspired salad tossed in a mildly spicy peanut dressing is a total powerhouse of nutrition. Carrots, snow peas, cabbage, quinoa — it’s going to be your new salad obsession. You can instantly add more oomph with grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp, but it’s just as satisfying and filling without any animal protein added. Vegetarians might already know that quinoa and peanut butter are both excellent sources of plant-based protein. (Quinoa brings about 8 grams of protein per cup, and peanut butter brings about 8 grams per two tablespoons.) This superfood salad is addictive! The peanut sauce is similar to that served at your favorite Thai restaurant with chicken satay or with fresh spring rolls, but it’s easy to whip up with ingredients common at your everyday supermarket. You’ll want to put it on everything! Get creative with your salad. Add anything from…

Weeknight broccoli chicken divan casserole

Retro dinners are making a comeback. That’s because so many of them were quick, easy, and tasted great. While some recipes will never make it to our tables again, others fell out of favor but are coming back in a big way — just reimagined a bit. Chicken Divan is one of those dishes. It has all of the earmarks of coming from a mid-century Southern housewife — except it originated in New York City! That’s right. The meal was created at the Divan Parisienne Restaurant at the Chatham Hotel in NYC in the early twentieth century, but it’s back and more popular than ever. Classic Chicken Divan is served with broccoli, almonds, and Mornay sauce (a béchamel sauce with shredded cheese). This casserole brings all of the flavors together in a quick and easy weeknight-approved recipe. Broccoli Chicken Divan casserole Ingredients 4 cups fresh broccoli florets 2 cups cooked, cubed…

The best chicken salad ever

The best chicken salad I ever had was from a little bistro up the street from where I used to work. Sadly, it went out of business in just a few short years, but I still believe they could have kept their doors open with their chicken salad alone had more people discovered their incredible combination. I’m not sure of their exact recipe, but like all delicious, good-for-you food, all of the main ingredients were right there, whole and easily identifiable. The red grapes were a welcome addition to the crunchy cashews, and flavorful fresh dill. The mayo mix was light, and just present enough to stick all of the ingredients together. I swapped the classic chicken salad croissant for a slice of toasted brioche out of preference, but you serve on any bread you would like, or just spread it on a few hearty crackers. Also try, Healthy avocado…

Healthy avocado egg salad

This avocado and egg salad is one of my favorite homemade lunches because it’s healthy, tastes great and uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo! Tuna salads and egg salads are often passed off as healthy, but they’re so loaded with fatty mayo that you might as well have opted for a cheeseburger! This salad has only healthy fats from fresh avocado. Plus, it doesn’t have that gooey, wet consistency that mayo gives. Ew. I can hear the stickiness now. This salad is everything you want from a lunch — It’s easy to make ahead, it’s packed with protein, and it’s full of flavor thanks to the zingy Dijon mustard and smokey turkey bacon. Substitute the bread and arugula for a large lettuce leaf to cut carbs, if that’s your thing.  Either way, it’s the guilt-free lunch you need for healthy resolutions in the New Year! Healthy Avocado Egg Salad Ingredients…

Spicy cauliflower, arugula salad

I love when a restaurant dish inspires me to make something similar at home. It’s not that making it at home stops me from going back to the restaurant — the exact opposite, actually! I find that it keeps the menu item top of mind, so I actually can’t wait to return! This dish was a restaurant-inspired salad. Roasted cauliflower and raisins might not seem like they’d be the best of friends, but the combo is really quite nice, especially when the cauliflower is roasted with the spicy heat of Calabrian chili peppers. Add some arugula, Parmesan cheese, and lemon, and you have a unique flavor explosion that is creative, healthy, fresh and crisp. Spicy Cauliflower, Arugula Salad Ingredients Serves 4 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets 2-3 spicy chili peppers, finely chopped + 3 tbsp of hot pepper oil (more if you love heat) 4-5 large handfuls of arugula 2 lemons,…

Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

Show me the person that isn’t looking for more delicious, healthy lunch ideas — we all are! Rarely are we dreaming of digging into a lunch we threw together at home in a hurry. So forget the sad salads you usually pack, and whip up a batch of this lemon almond chicken salad for tomorrow. With this recipe in your arsenal, you might actually stick to eating the healthy lunch you brought from home — and you’ll definitely look forward to it. The crunchy almonds are so satisfying, and the lemon pepper seasoning makes this recipe oh-so-craveable. Eat it with crackers, or wrap it up in a lettuce leaf for a low-carb option. It’s great all on its own, too! We snack on it by the spoonful at my house. There are tons of other ways to customize this recipe. Omit the tiny bit of mayo if you’re going for…

Lightly creamy chicken and rice soup

I like to keep a pot of homemade soup on hand at all times. It kills the question “what’s for lunch?” almost immediately. Plus, it never hurts to have something delicious on hand to help you avoid the drive-thru line during the busy holiday season. Feel free to adjust the amount of broth. I like a lot, but you might like less. It’s definitely a personal choice with soup, so see what works for you! Here is a quick and easy chicken and rice soup. It’s not too creamy, yet it has just enough to add some flavor. lightly Creamy chicken and rice soup Ingredients 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large carrot, chopped 1 large celery rib, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 tsp minced garlic 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, rinsed 2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice 1 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp pepper 32-36 ounces chicken broth (or…

Pickle Soup is quirky, fun, and a really big dill

Pickles have been somewhat of a sensation lately. The beloved briny cucumbers show up in everything now days from icy slushies to creamy dips and fried chips. So I say, why not soup? There are several different recipes out there circulation around the web, but I think this variation is the best. The bold color flecks of veggies look delicious in the bright yellow broth. It’s tangy and salty, yet mild enough to enjoy a whole bowl — and then another, and another… It’s addicting and delicious and you just might make a believer out of folks less fanatical about pickles than yourself. I definitely recommend dill kosher pickles, because is there any other pickle? The snap makes every bite the best bite. I like to finely chop all of the ingredients to make it easy to eat and pour. Plus, I think it looks most delicious. Serve it hot…

Indian-inspired Vegetarian Chickpea Soup

Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein. A 1-ounce serving provides about 3 grams of protein, plus they are full of fiber, so making them a part of your meal can keep you full longer. These little legumes have become more popular in recent years thanks to an increased interest in Middle Eastern and Indian foods, but the nutty, grainy texture makes them easy to add to almost any type of cooking. Try them in this creamy (but cream-free) Indian-inspired soup. If you like a little heat, have a bit of your favorite hot sauce ready to drizzle on top. Otherwise, it’s mostly mild, but very flavorful! Chickpea Soup Serves 5-6 Ingredients 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk 14.4 ounce can whole tomatoes 1/4 cup apple juice handful cilantro leaves (about 1/4 cup) 2 tbsp garam masala 1 tsp ground ginger 1 1/2 cups vegetable…