School Lunches

Insulated Lunch Tote by HadakiIt doesn’t take much for a school routine to turn into a school rut. Thank goodness for recess and lunch time. With these creative lunch ideas, you’ll always have something to shake up their school day.

Recipes courtesy of

Chicken and Fruit Salad


  • 1 (about 2 1/4 pounds) refrigerated roasted whole chicken
  • 1 medium bunch spinach
  • 2 medium pink or white grapefruit
  • 2 medium Red Delicious apples
  • 3/4 pound(s) seedless green grapes
  • 1/3 cup(s) bottled poppy-seed salad dressing


1.  Remove and discard skin and bones from chicken; tear chicken into bite-size pieces. Chop 1 cup loosely packed spinach leaves; set remaining leaves aside. Cut peel from grapefruit; remove sections with knife. Cut unpeeled apples into 3/4-inch chunks.

2.  In large bowl, combine chicken, chopped spinach, fruit, and salad dressing; toss to coat.

3.  Spread chicken salad on sandwich bread or croissant. Pack in insulated lunch bag.

Three Bean Chili 


  • 1 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 1 pound(s) carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
  • 1  (1-pound) jumbo onion, chopped
  • 4 teaspoon(s) chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can(s) (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup(s) water
  • 2 can(s) (15- to 19-ounce) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can(s) (15- to 19-ounce) pink beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cup(s) frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
  • 1/4 cup(s) (plus additional leaves for garnish) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
  • Shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (optional)


1.  In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil on medium-high until hot. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and onion, and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until all vegetables are browned and tender, stirring occasionally.

2.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, ground red pepper, and salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add tomatoes, broth, and water; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir white kidney beans and pink beans into Dutch oven; cover and cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in frozen edamame and cook, uncovered, 5 to 7 minutes or until edamame are just tender, stirring occasionally.

3.  Stir 1/4 cup cilantro into chili. Spoon half of chili into serving bowls; garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with sour cream and Cheddar, if you like. Spoon remaining chili into freezer-safe containers and freeze for later use. Reheat in the morning, then pack in a thermos for an exciting school lunch.

Garden Turkey Sandwich with Lemon Mayo


  • 1 teaspoon(s) grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon(s) low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 slice(s) whole-grain bread
  • 1 cup(s) loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 ounce(s) turkey breast, sliced
  • 1 small tomato, sliced


1.  Stir grated lemon peel with mayonnaise; spread on both slices bread.

2.  On 1 slice bread, alternately layer spinach leaves, turkey, and tomato, starting and ending with spinach. Top with second bread slice.

Do you have a family favorite school lunch recipe? We’d love to hear it. 


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