Healthy Cooking With Chef Lala: Recipe For Healthy Kids School Lunches

by Chef Lala

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Chef Lala with son, Maddox.

Parents often feel helpless over what their kids eat at school. Here are a few tips to help you take some control.

  • Find out what choices your kids have so that you can help them make good choices.
  • Don’t assume your school provides a healthy lunch. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Healthy School Lunch Campaign say that the “menus served in school lunch programs are too rich in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber and lack nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.” Most schools provide a monthly menu for parents review.
  • Be aware that some schools offer a la carte program with items like fatty meat topped pizza, French fries and cookies.
  • Learn your school’s policy about vending machines with soda and snacks. Is your child replacing a nutritious lunch for empty calories?
  • If you pack lunch, ask him/her to bring what he does not eat home. This way you can monitor what and how much they eat and even learn about what they prefer in their box.

Safety for lunch boxes

  • Wash you lunch boxes and containers as often as you use them. They are a warm dark breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Keep cold food cold with insulated lunch boxes and ice packs. Freezing juice boxes is a great idea, but, keep in mind the condensation that’s produced when they melt, so that you do not ruin any other lunch box items.
  • Keep hot foods hot with insulated bottles and bowls and pack in an insulated lunch box.
    Provide napkins and plastic ware (if needed) for your kids. The lunch area usually does not stock them for lunch box kids
  • Provide napkins and plastic ware (if needed) for your kids. The lunch area usually does not stock them for lunch box kids.

Here’s a healthy recipe your kids will love:

Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups
Rollitos de Pollo

  • 1 cup chicken, cooked, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
  • 6 cheese slices
  • 3 (10- or 12-inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • ¼ cup carrot, shredded or finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh or canned roasted jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup lettuce, finely shredded
  1. Combine chicken, mayonnaise, celery salt, black pepper and green onion in
  2. small bowl; stir until well blended.
  3. Place cheese slices onto each tortilla, leaving ½-inch border. Spread a thin layer of chicken mixture, carrot, peppers and lettuce evenly over cheese.
  4. Roll up each tortilla jelly-roll fashion. Cut each roll into 4 to 5 slices.

Makes 12 slices or 6 servings

Per Serving (with wheat tortilla): 521 calories, 36g fat (21g saturated, 10g monounsaturated,
2g polyunsaturated), 118mg cholesterol, 733mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (4.5g dietary fiber),
37g protein

Tip from Chef LaLa

Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours for easier slicing. Placing cheese directly on the tortilla before the chicken mixture prevents the moisture of the chicken from making the tortilla soggy.

4.6g protein

A Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Chef Lala is also a cookbook author, certified nutritionist and motivational speaker who has brought her message to the Today Show, Martha Stewart, Dr. Oz, Discovery Health National Body Challenge and The Biggest Loser, Spanish edition. Click here to go to her website. 

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