Healthy School Lunches – Making Favorite Foods Healthier

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,587
    Nutrition expert Beth Ann Bentley discusses a healthy twist on some childhood favorite meals. Your kids will love the familiarity, and you’ll love how healthy it is for them!

    Beth Ann Bentley: Hi! I am Beth Ann Bentley from ilunchbox.

    com and I am talking to you about packing healthy lunches for kids. Now I'm going to take three childhood favorites and tweak them a bit and make them a healthier dish.

    First, peanut butter and jelly. What kid doesn't like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread with sugar-added peanut butter and sugar-added jam doesn't compare it health-wise to our newer version on a whole-grain bread using a natural peanut butter with no sugar added, a spreadable fruit or honey, there are many of different whole-grain breads to choose from.

    Chicken fingers are one of my children's favorite meals. I make mine using whole-grain breads and herbs and seasonings and bake them in the oven, giving them a healthier twist.

    First, I take whole-grain breads, break it up and put it into your food processor, add some seasoning. First, I give them a little bit of garlic with some herbs to provence. Italian herbs would work well too, whatever you think your kids' favorite would be. Give it a whirl. They smell good too. Pour them out into a dish.

    So here I have set up my chicken tenders, a bowl of some oil and my whole-grain bread crumbs. First, I take the chicken finger and I dip it in the oil. Remember, always keep one hand clean. Then I dip it into breadcrumbs, cover, pot down, shake it off a little bit and lay it on your baking sheet, and repeat. Put into an oven or a toaster oven in this case, at about 350 degrees, it can take about 20 minutes to cook. And here are chicken fingers, right out of the oven and ready to eat, golden brown and delicious.

    Macaroni and cheese, the classic kid favorite. If you could make it from a box with these ingredients, you can make it from scratch with these ingredients, and just imagine, how much better it is for you and how much better it will taste. I don't care how organic your box of macaroni and cheese says it is, it's still powdered cheese.

    Now, I'm going to move to the range and show you how to make a great batch of macaroni and cheese. First, you melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour to make a paste. Equal parts works best. Here I'm using two tablespoons of butter to two tablespoons of flour. Once the paste is formed and the flour is cooked, you can tell because it has a slightly nutty smell to it. You then add the milk and whisk it in, trying to remove all the lumps. Then add the chicken stuff, continuing to stir until the mixture starts to slightly thicken.

    At this point, add the grated cheese and turn off the heat, continue stirring until all the cheese is melted and the end result is fantastic cheese sauce, ready to pour over cooked pasta.

    You don't have to make your children give up their favorite foods. Making healthier food choices is easy. Here are three kid-friendly meals made healthier. I hope this series has inspired you to pack healthier lunches for your kids.