September 2012: Inspiration for Back to School Lunches –from the Healthy Kids Lunchtime Challenge

I am really inspired by some healthy back-to-school lunches. I am hopefully going to inspire you, too, with this month’s Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange newsletter! I am also very excited to tell you about the Healthy Kids Lunchtime Challenge event in Washington DC that I recently attended with my daughter, Elena (age 11). We will share with you some delicious recipes from the Challenge, including a link to all 54 winning recipes via a new cookbook from Epicurious. This month’s newsletter will include a link to not only that cookbook, but a second cookbook from the White House called “Healthy Recipes from the White House to You”. So don’t miss our stories of meeting the lovely Mrs. Obama (as well as President Obama, iCarly star Reed Alexander and Big Time Rush), and be sure not to miss out on all the recipes for healthy lunchtime inspiration!

Here is a guide to what I’m sharing in this month’s Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange Newsletter.  First, I’ll provide some links that give you an overview of the Healthy Kids Lunchtime Challenge, in case you missed it.  Then I’ll give you links to the recipe books.  Then it is time to make you laugh with a blast from the past (hint:  this is in response to all those questions I’ve gotten lately about my political affiliation).  I’ll close with a cute video that a Nurture leader recently sent me that I think will leave you with some great ideas if you are one of those parents who pack a lunch for your child.

Overview of the Healthy Kids Lunchtime Challenge


Ok, so in case you missed the posts on “Delicious and Nutritious”, here is some background information on our own family’s journey to the White House, in reverse chronological order:

August 25, 2012—Healthy Lunchtime Challenge—Post Event Update.  If you want to see cool pictures of Nevel (from iCarly) and Big Time Rush, here is where to look!

July 25, 2012—Fiesta Casserole Wins Healthy Lunchtime Challenge (this is when we learned that Elena and I were on the way to the White House).

June 26, 2012—Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Finalist Recipes (here is when we learned that two of our recipes were finalists for the challenge).

Once we got home, Elena thought it would be fun to create a video of her journey, which is extremely fun to watch (and it is set to a song that Big Time Rush played for us at the White House):

Elena was very supportive of her brother Alexander (having been a finalist in the contest); she brought him an amazingly cool balloon from the White House, made from a balloon artist who is in the Guinness Book of World Records!


As a follow up to the event, I have begun to spot light specific Junior Chefs in my “Delicious and Nutritious” blog, including details on their recipes, photos of the children, and notes about what inspires them to cook and be healthy.  These children have become veritable celebrities in the wake of this event, and I’m excited to share with you so far:

Myka’s Perfect Curry Chicken Wraps

Caroline’s Broccoli & Cheese Egg White Omelet

Laura’s Backyard Garden Salsa and Chicken Black Bean Tortillas

Stay tuned for more posts highlighting Junior Chefs and their recipes in the weeks and months to come!

Please click here to download the PDF recipe book of these 54 healthy recipes from Epicurious.  For even more recipes from the White House, please click here for a copy of Healthy Recipes from The White House to You (from the Healthier US School Challenge Celebration).

Thinking about how you might be revamping your child’s lunches based on the new healthier school lunch standards? Here is a great go-to resource to learn more about what those standards are:

Still haven’t heard enough about the Healthy Kids Lunchtime Challenge?  Here is Mrs. Obama on the David Letterman show talking about her plans to make lunches healthier:

I don’t like to get political, dammit!

This part of the blog will be a hoot for those of you that have known me for a long time, as the pictures I’m posting here are really DATED.  I need to make some kind of public response to all of the questions I’ve been getting about what political party I belong to.  The answer… none.  I’ve always been a person that connects with individuals and initiatives, not a party line.  To set the record straight, I’m providing visual evidence of my connections to BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties.  I hope you get a real hoot out of it!

So here I am working for a Democrat, former President Jimmy Carter.  I worked for him at the Carter Center of Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  My work?  To assist the Latin American Policy department on free trade and the spread of democracy.

“The awareness that health is dependent upon habits that we control makes us the first generation in history that to a large extent determines its own destiny. 

-Jimmy Carter



And here I am working for a Republican, Jim Edgar (Governor of Illinois at the time- 1990).  My work was to assist the Chicago office of cultural affairs with efforts to highlight diversity and cultural groups in the city.

So there—on the question of being a member of a political party.  I’m NEITHER or BOTH.  You can take it from there.


Wrap up and inspirational school lunchtime video

Back to healthy lunchtime inspiration.    I’ve written about healthy lunches before (see March 2012: Grade Your Lunch and February 2009 Lunch Makeover), and you know that I’m a big fan of making a lunch both visually appealing and eco-friendly by using great packaging.  My kids still use Laptop Lunch; however, this video has some other appealing packaging ideas.  I want to thank Tanja Chevalier for passing on this link to me—it is extremely cute.

Have a wonderful back to school season!




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Don’t forget to check out the recent posts on the Delicious and Nutritious, Green and Plenty and Wholesome Heart Blogs!

Delicious and Nutritious recipes are kid tested and range from breakfast to snacks.  We occasionally include a dessert as well –which we know is probably more delicious than it is nutritious, but we feel that people need a sweet treat here and there.  We hope you are inspired by our ideas!

Green and Plenty:  presents the latest in nutrition, delicious and seasonal recipes, green design and wellness tips for the reader and her family.

Wholesome Heart:  includes delicious recipes, time-saving tips, and nutrition tidbits.


This column is for information only, and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, recommendation or endorsement by the author. You should always ask your physician for his or her recommendation before starting any new health-related activity.

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