Healthy ideas for happy stu­dents

Healthy ideas for happy kids Back­pack? Check. Note­books? Check. Pen­cils? Check. Now what’s for lunch? Start the school year off right with healthy, ki­dap­proved recipes as easy as A-B-C. “It’s all about plan­ning and not go­ing crazy when pack­ing school lunc

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Emily Ryan For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Re­mem­ber this sim­ple for­mula: “Three col­ors (fruits or veg­gies) + one pro­tein + one healthy grains = a bet­ter box.”

Her girls en­joy chicken salad with non­fat Greek yo­gurt in­stead of may­on­naise or a veg­gie hum­mus sand­wich loaded with pro­tein and fiber.

“It tastes re­ally good,” Mashru de­scribed. “Most kids don’t get enough fiber in their meals be­cause they’re eat­ing pro­cessed food every sin­gle time.”

“Veg­eta­bles. That’s prob­a­bly one of the big­gest chal­lenges,” agreed Libby Mills, a chef and spokesper­son for the Academy of Nu­tri­tion and Di­etet­ics, who makes rain­bow pin­wheel sand­wiches full of col­or­ful veg­gies. An­other chal­lenge: Re­dun­dancy. “Stick with things that they like,” she said. “In­tro­duce in small quan­ti­ties a new food maybe once a week, so they’re not in­un­dated.”

While teach­ing kids’ cook­ing camps at The Kitchen Work­shop in Paoli, Mills in­tro­duced choco­late chip cookie dough dip. The se­cret in­gre­di­ent? Tofu.

“They were a lit­tle skep­ti­cal. But we put it to­gether, and it was such a hit!” she said. “It’s just a win­ner fla­vor-wise, but it is leaps and bounds bet­ter than hav­ing an ac­tual cookie.”

Kathy Wolper of Kitchen Wiz­ards in East Nor­ri­ton also serves a ver­sion of the dip.

“I strug­gle with of­fer­ing health­ier op­tions for my kids’ cook

ing classes,” she ad­mit­ted, “but I’ve been pleas­antly sur­prised by a few healthy recipes that I of­fered in the spring/sum­mer that would be great op­tions for ben­to­box school lunches!”

Try her Mediter­ranean quinoa salad with red pep­pers, cherry toma­toes and black olives. Plus, don’t for­get healthy snacks like in­di­vid­ual hum­mus cups and veg­gie sticks, yo­gurt and fresh fruit or nut­free trail mix.

And for some­thing spe­cial, Mills bakes gar­banzo bean choco­late cake.

“It’s su­per easy. It’s to­tally kid-friendly,” she said. “Ev­ery­one does like a treat, es­pe­cially if there’s some­thing to look for­ward to in a packed lunch.”

Healthy Choco­late Chip Cookie Dough Dip

This choco­late chip cookie dough dip is se­cretly healthy, mak­ing both kids and par­ents happy! Try it with fresh fruit or lightly salted pret­zels for a sat­is­fy­ing snack.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

5 ounces silken tofu 3 ounces light cream cheese 2 ta­ble­spoons rolled oats 2 ta­ble­spoons un­salted peanut but­ter 3 ta­ble­spoons brown sugar ½ tea­spoon pure vanilla ex­tract ¼ ta­ble­spoon salt 1 ta­ble­spoon unsweet­ened vanilla almond milk

¼ cup choco­late chips

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Re­move tofu from pack­ag­ing and rinse in cool water to re­move ex­cess mois­ture from pack­ag­ing. Place tofu on a plate be­tween two pa­per tow­els and place a heavy ob­ject like a 15-ounce can on top. Af­ter ap­prox­i­mately 5 min­utes, re­move the pa­per tow­els. Use a new, clean pa­per towel to pat the tofu dry. The goal of com­press­ing tofu is to re­move ex­cess water. Put tofu in the base of a food pro­ces­sor or blender along with the cream cheese, rolled oats, peanut but­ter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and almond milk. Puree un­til creamy and smooth, scrap­ing down sides as you go.

The dip’s tex­ture should be sim­i­lar to pud­ding. De­pend­ing on the power of your food pro­ces­sor or blender, you may need to add an ad­di­tional ta­ble­spoon of vanilla almond milk. Add in the choco­late chips and pulse three or four times to com­bine. Re­move dip and place in a serv­ing bowl. En­joy with fresh fruit, gra­ham cracker squares or lightly salted pret­zels for a sweet and sa­vory treat!

Cook­ing tip: Use your fa­vorite type of milk in place of vanilla almond milk.

RECIPE COUR­TESY OF ACADEMY OF NU­TRI­TION AND DI­ETET­ICS

Rain­bow Pin­wheel Sand­wiches

Help your kids make this col­or­ful fun rollup and pair it with milk and a piece of fruit.

Servings: 1

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 tomato tor­tilla 3 to 4 ta­ble­spoons hum­mus 3 to 5 sticks of yel­low pep­per

3 ta­ble­spoons shred­ded pur­ple cab­bage ¼ cup shred­ded car­rots ¼ cup baby spinach

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Lay the tor­tilla flat on a clean sur­face. Spread the hum­mus evenly, coat­ing the tor­tilla. Avoid adding veg­etable in­gre­di­ents to the up­per 1-inch of the tor­tilla. Lay the yel­low pep­per sticks in hor­i­zon­tal lines ran­domly over the tor­tilla. Sprin­kle the shred­ded cab­bage over the tor­tilla, keep­ing the top inch veg­giefree. Sprin­kle the shred­ded car­rots on top of the cab­bage. Fi­nally, layer on the spinach. To roll the tor­tilla, start at the bot­tom. Wrap tightly in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate overnight or un­til ready to eat. For fun, the wrap can be re­moved from the plas­tic in the morn­ing be­fore school, and sliced into ¾-inch-thick rounds. Re-wrap the rounds in the orig­i­nal rolled shape for easy trans­port. Keep re­frig­er­ated.

RECIPE COUR­TESY OF CHEF LIBBY MILLS

Gar­banzo Bean Choco­late Cake

My ver­sion con­tains less sugar than the orig­i­nal recipe from Epi­cu­ri­ous.

Servings: 12

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 ¼ cups semisweet choco­late chips

1 (19-ounce) can gar­banzo beans, rinsed and drained 4 eggs ½ cup sugar ½ tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der 1 tea­spoon vanilla 1 ta­ble­spoon pow­dered sugar

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­heat the oven to 350 de­grees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

Put the choco­late chips into a mi­crowave-safe bowl. Cook in the mi­crowave for about 1 minute. Stir. Cook an ad­di­tional 20 sec­onds and stir again. Re­peat cook­ing and stir­ring every 20 sec­onds un­til the choco­late is melted and smooth.

In a food pro­ces­sor, mix the beans and eggs un­til they are smooth. Blend in the sugar and the bak­ing pow­der. Pour in the melted choco­late and blend un­til smooth and thor­oughly mixed. Use a spat­ula to scrape sides and cor­ners as needed. Add vanilla and mix just to com­bine.

Pour the bat­ter into the pre­pared cake pan. Bake for 40 min­utes or un­til an in­serted knife comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 min­utes. In­vert onto a plate. Dust with pow­dered sugar just be­fore serv­ing.

RECIPE COUR­TESY OF CHEF LIBBY MILLS, ADAPTED FROM EPI­CU­RI­OUS

Chicken Salad

Servings: 6

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

2 large bone­less, skin­less chicken breasts, poached ¼ cup non­fat Greek yo­gurt 1/3 cup cel­ery, diced 1/3 cup ap­ples, diced 1/3 cup grapes, halved ¼ cup sliv­ered al­monds

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Dice poached chicken. In a large bowl, mix chicken and yo­gurt to coat evenly. Add other in­gre­di­ents and mix well. Store in re­frig­er­a­tor.

RECIPE COUR­TESY OF REG­IS­TERED DI­ETI­TIAN ASHVINI MASHRU

Veg­gie Hum­mus Sand­wich

Servings: 1

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

2 slices whole-grain Ezekiel bread 2 ta­ble­spoons hum­mus 3 slices cu­cum­ber 2 thin slices tomato 3 slices av­o­cado ¼ cup fresh sprouts ¼ cup grated car­rots

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Toast bread. Spread 1 ta­ble­spoon hum­mus on each slice and layer on veg­eta­bles.

RECIPE COUR­TESY OF REG­IS­TERED DI­ETI­TIAN ASHVINI MASHRU

Choco­late Choco­late Chip Yo­gurt Dip IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 cup Greek yo­gurt 2 to 4 ta­ble­spoons unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der (de­pend­ing on how rich you want it) 1 ta­ble­spoon maple syrup ¼ tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract 3 ta­ble­spoons dark choco­late chips

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Mix in­gre­di­ents to­gether un­til there are no lumps from the co­coa pow­der and add more maple syrup if de­sired. Chill [cov­ered] in the fridge. Top with choco­late chips. Serve the choco­late dip with ba­nana, ap­ple, pret­zels, pound cake, an­i­mal crack­ers or straw­ber­ries.

RECIPE COUR­TESY OF KITCHEN WIZ­ARDS

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

“I rec­om­mend there are four things we need to pack,” says reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Ashvini Mashru. “There’s a pro­tein. There’s a whole grain, a fruit or veg­etable serv­ing and a dairy serv­ing.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF ACADEMY OF NU­TRI­TION AND DI­ETET­ICS

The se­cret in­gre­di­ent in this healthy choco­late chip cookie dough dip? Tofu.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Pair in­di­vid­ual hum­mus cups with veg­gies for a healthy, easy-topack snack.

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