Tools for a Healthy School Lunch


Rob Benes, Kids Cuisine – I’m a big proponent of healthy eating, particularly when the eating focuses on children. So, I want to pass along some news coming from the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). These two groups want parents to think about what they are packing into their children’s lunch bags when heading back to school. Going a step further, the CDC and PBH want school administrators to carefully consider what is planned for in-school lunches.

For Professionals: The CDC has developed a kit for professionals full of ideas and resources about many food cultures, “Explore the World with Fruits & Vegetables.” The guide shows ways to fit food studies within existing curricula and has print materials to use in schools or other groups. The kit is at

For Parents: September’s not just back-to-school time, it’s also National Fruits & Veggies–More Matters Month. The goal of the campaign is to encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables in all varieties. So, earlier this year, PBH and The Culinary Institute (CIA) of America sponsored the Fruits & Veggies–More Matters Challenge. One of two grand prizes recipes was teriyaki chicken that included seven fruits and vegetables (see below). The winning recipes and tips, as well as recipes and tips from PBH and the CIA, are available on

Eat more fruit and veggies!

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes excluding marinating
Cooking time: 6 minutes
Serves: 6

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
½ cup prepared teriyaki sauce / marinade
4 cups lettuce, torn
1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1 apple, diced
¼ cup golden raisins
½ cup carrots, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, sliced
¼ cup low-fat ginger dressing

Method: (1) Cut each chicken breast crosswise in half. (2) Marinate chicken in teriyaki sauce 20 minutes. (3) Preheat grill or grill pan. (4) Grill chicken 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. (5) While chicken is cooking, toss remaining ingredients in a bowl. (6) Arrange 1 cup salad mixture on each of 6 plates. (7) Top with sliced grilled chicken. Serve immediately.

Many more recipes, ideas, and helpful tools (lists of fruits and vegetables in season, health notes, etc.) are available on the sites noted above.  While not all recipes on the sites are dairy-free, there is just too much helpful produce information for us not to share!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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