10 Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches

During the school year, perhaps the most important meal after a good breakfast for our kids is the mid-day lunch. While a healthy breakfast can help propel them through the morning, lunch helps them maintain focus and energy during the most challenging time of the day – the afternoon. This is when fatigue starts setting in and packing a high carbohydrate meal with processed foods will cause blood sugar levels to drop leading to sleepiness and inattention.

10 Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches

When packing lunches for school, we all face challenges in making sure that what we give our kids is delicious, nutritious and will help get them through the hardest part of their day.

The nightly task of planning the next day’s school lunches can be an added stress at the end of an already long day filled with after school activities, homework, and dinner. It’s a tall order to prepare a meal that’s healthy, tastes great hours after you make it, and appeals to your children.

10 Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches

Skip processed meats like sliced lunch meats, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. Processed meats are a leading cause of cancer, especially colon cancer and the intake of processed meats is significantly higher in children as compared to adults. Read this editorial from Dr. Neal Barnard, published in Good Medicine:

  • Avoid meats treated with hormones or antibiotics and pack low fat options like turkey and chicken. Try other forms of protein like hummus, nut butters, and whole nuts.
  • Pack more fruits and vegetables. Avoid the Dirty Dozen – fruits and vegies with high pesticide residue and go for the Clean 15. Learn what to avoid and what to eat in the Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Rotate items through the week to provide an interesting variety and prevent boredom.
  • Avoid foods with artificial food dyes and sweeteners. Many artificial food dyes are petroleum based products (think gasoline and tar L) and are linked to behavioral problems such as ADD/ADHD and mood swings as well as health problems like obesity, asthma and diabetes. Some kids can also have allergic reactions to these artificial food additives.
  • Instead of sodas, bottled water or juices, serve water and almond milk in reusable stainless steel bottles to avoid exposure to Bisphenol A, a harmful chemical substance that leaches into food and liquids it comes in contact with.
  • Even juices labeled 100% fruit juice area significant source of sugar, so substitute with water to keep them hydrated. Hydration is of vital importance for proper brain functioning as the human brain is approximately 80% water.
  • Remember when lunch boxes used to contain a thermos? They are a great way to pack healthy meals such as soup, chili and spaghetti with meat sauce.
  • Plan the week’s lunches the weekend before to have all the necessary ingredients on hand. This reduces the chance of your kids walking out the door with a less than optimal lunch.
  • Get recipes for healthy school lunches. A great reference book such as Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children by Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes can help get the creative juices flowing.
  • Get your kids involved in the process of planning and packing lunches. By understanding their preferences, you increase the chance that they will consume their lunch rather than having it end up as waste in the cafeteria trash can.

SOurce: Javani

Healthy Recipes: Sweet Corn Soup and Corn Upma

Mainlining in curries, vying for attention in salads or drowning in cheese as pizza toppings, there is no bigger rockstar in the culinary world than the humble vegetable. Nothing beats the nutrients and health benefits of veggies – reduced cholesterol levels, lowered risk of heart diseases and lowered calorie intake – especially when consumed seasonally. We throw the spotlight on one seasonal beauty each month with some must know info and some easy-to-cook recipes, so you can stock up and get munching!

Yes – corn is a vegetable. In fact, it’s the most widely consumed vegetable in summer after potatoes. Whether eaten as a roasted bhutta, as boiled corn or even in Indian gravies – everyone loves to get a little corny at times. A part of the grass family, corn is one of the few food staples that is consumed and used completely. Here are some other interesting facts about the golden star.

Sweet Corn Soup and Corn Upma

Lesser Known Facts

  • Corn can be grown in any region except Antarctica.
  • It is also used to produce fuel, alcohol and gasoline burn cleaner.
  • It is one of the main ingredients in most pet foods.
  • One bushel of corn can approximately sweeten more than 400 cans of aerated drinks.

Types of Corn
Corn comes in many forms, with the two most common types being sweet and field corn. The majority is bred particularly for their taste, while others are bred for their high yields, shape and for decoration.

Sweet Corn
They are sugary, shrunken and brittle, which makes them apt for use in salads, sandwiches and pizzas. They are most widely eaten with a pinch of salt and a dollop of butter. Sweet corn is harvested at an immature stage, rather than being left to dry out and is consumed as a grain.

Field Corn
Also called dent corns, these are generally high on starch content with a very thin outside layer and are used for their dry nature. Dent corn is also popular as animal feed, for making alternative fuel, in alcohol and solvents, and even as fiber.

When these dense, moisture resistant corn grains are introduced to heat, they pop up into big snowflake or mushroom style popcorn, which we all happily munch on. While we usually get the snowflake popcorn in movie theatres and at home, mushroom popcorns are used for candy confectionaries because of its non-crumbling nature.

Corn soaked in alkali solution (lime water) is rich in Vitamin B and amino acids, which are essential for good health. They are also used in tortilla dough and salads. Polenta is another coarse meal eaten as soft mush. The concept started in Italy, and is now considered as a delicious and healthy option by Indians as well. It has a smooth, creamy texture which can be sliced in wedges or sticks, and pan-fried or oven-baked in a little olive oil, providing a lovely base for stews and thick sauces.

Here are some corn recipes shared by restaurants:



  • 6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of cream style sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots, lightly steamed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped beans, lightly steamed
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn kernels, steamed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onion leaves


  • – Dissolve the cornflour in a little bit of vegetable stock.
  • – Once dissolved completely, add the remaining stock, soy sauce, salt and black pepper to taste.
  • – In a heavy bottomed sauce pan (without turning on the heat), add the cream style sweet corn, the corn flour-stock mixture and stir well.
  • – When it mixes completely, turn the heat on and stir constantly before bringing the corn mixture to boil. – Once it thickens, stir in the remaining ingredients (carrots, beans, spring onion leaves) and boil for a few more minutes.
  • – Finally, turn off the heat and taste. Adjust the seasoning to suit your palate.



  • 4 white corn cobs (White corn is used in this recipe and not sweet corn since it is waxy, glutenious in nature)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
  • ½ tablespoon hing
  • ½ tablespoon jeera/cumin seeds
  • ½ tablespoon sarson seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • Fresh Coriander leaves to garnish

Sweet Corn Soup and Corn Upma 2


  • – Grate 3 white cobs into a paste or cream with the help of a grater or a mixer. Then cut off the remaining corn into kernels with the help of a knife.
  • – Put some oil in a pan and add jeera, sarson, turmeric powder, green chilli, curry leaves and hing in it.
  • – Add the grated cream and kernels to the tadka and simmer it for 15 minutes. Add a cup of water if needed and then put a lid on the pan before letting it cook for 10 more minutes.
  • – Finally, add some sugar for flavour and garnish it with coriander leaves.
  • – Serve hot with some mint chutney.

Source: times city

Chokeberry Bread Recipe

Chokeberry Bread Recipe


  • 2 cups of wheat flour
  • -1 cup of sugar
  • -9 oz. of Chokeberry fruits
  • -6 oz. of orange Juice
  • -1 egg
  • -9 oz. of walnuts (chopped)
  • -1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • -1 teaspoon of salt
  • -1/2 tea spoon of baking soda
  • -1 teaspoon of butter


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees C.)
  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set to the side.
  • Using a blender, mix the egg, chokeberry fruits, orange juice and walnuts. Then add it to the flour mix.
  • Cover hands and surface with flour and knead the dough by hand until it is firm yet elastic. Place the dough into a well-greased bread pan, and bake it for 50 to 60 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • – It helps the circulation of the blood vehicles in the head , helps against migraine and headache, and it regulates the thyroid hormones.
  • – Lowers the high blood pressure, it lowers sugar in blood and helps at aterosclerosis and thrombosis.
  • – Lowers the pain in the stomach, calms the inflammation in the mucous membrane , spasms in the intestines and helps with diarrhea.
  • -It affects on improving the function of the pancreas and regulates the gallbladder.
  • -Researches of the Russian scientists has shown that Chokeberry speeds the extraction of the heavy metals and some elements out of the body.After nuclear disaster in Chernobil the fruits of Chokeberry was used to mild the health problems of those exposed to radiation.
  • – Chokeberry has a big quantity of carotene which inhibit the cells from damaging eyes from cataract and also the fruits of Chokeberry has different bio phenols which speeds up the healing of the wounds.

Source: secretly healthy

Oatmeal Recipes for Every Day of the Week

steel-cut-oatmeal-caramel-topping-400x400Brighten up your breakfast
If you think oatmeal makes for a boring breakfast, it’s time to think again. This morning staple gets a major upgrade when you mix in fruit, spices, and other flavor-boosting ingredients. This healthy whole grain lowers cholesterol, burns fat, and fills you up with fiber, folate, and potassium. Added bonus? It’s gluten free. (However, check the label. It can be contaminated with gluten-containing wheat or rye during processing.)

Dress up your dish with one of these seven fresh takes on oatmeal.

Banana-Nut Oatmeal
Unlike sugary oatmeal packets, this homemade version uses a hearty dose of cinnamon for robust flavor without added calories. The banana adds natural sweetness and fiber, while the omega-3s from the walnuts help your body burn more fat.

Ingredients: Rolled oats, water, banana, chopped walnuts, cinnamon

Oatmeal with Prune and Banana Compote
Fuel up with this fruit-topped oatmeal recipe. It packs a whopping 15 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per serving, and it can be made in the microwave for quick convenience.

Ingredients: Milk, old-fashioned rolled oats, prunes, banana, crystallized ginger

Chai Oatmeal
For an extra thick and creamy bowl, add oat bran. It’ll make for a hearty helping and also add more fiber to your meal. If you love the taste of chai, you’ll enjoy this spiced version with coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric.

Ingredients: Milk, salt, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, honey, vanilla extract, regular oats, oat bran


Maple Date-Nut Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

For oatmeal on the go, try making breakfast bars ahead of time. You can even make them in big batches and freeze a portion for future use.

Ingredients: Maple syrup, chopped walnuts, dates, brown sugar, sugar, egg, butter, applesauce, vanilla yogurt, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, quick-cooking oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon

Calories: 152

De-lish Oatmeal

De-lish Oatmeal
This recipe is made with pears, dried cranberries, and apple cider for a touch of natural fruit sweetness.

Ingredients: Water, apple cider, organic rolled oats, salt, pear, sweetened dried cranberries, cinnamon, vanilla extract, chopped pecans, milk

Calories: 256

Baked Oatmeal
If you’re not a fan of oatmeal because of its texture, try baking it instead! It’ll taste like a mix between a chewy snack bar and a creamy bowl of oats.

Ingredients: Uncooked quick-cooking oats, brown sugar, raisins, chopped walnuts, baking powder, milk, applesauce, butter, egg, cooking spray

Calories: 281


Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Salted Caramel Topping

If you’re craving a sweet treat without the guilt, a salted caramel coating does the trick. This recipe calls for steel-cut oats, which sit slightly lower on the glycemic index than rolled oats, which means they’re less prone to make your blood sugar spike.

Ingredients: Uncooked instant steel-cut oats, milk, light brown sugar, salt, whipped cream, fresh berries

Calories: 242

Source: health

Chilled Avocado Soup

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories per serving: 194
  • Fat per serving: 16g
  • Saturated fat per serving: 3g
  • Monounsaturated fat per serving: 10g
  • Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 2g
  • Protein per serving: 3g
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 14g
  • Fiber per serving: 7g
  • Cholesterol per serving: 3mg
  • Iron per serving: 1mg
  • Sodium per serving: 396mg
  • Calcium per serving:58mg



  • 2 ripe peeled avocados
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (4-ounce) can or jar chopped green chiles
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro and/or crushed tortilla chips for garnish


1. Cut the avocados in half, and remove the pits.
2. Spoon avocado into a blender, add the remaining ingredients (except garnish), and puree until creamy. Chill the soup for up to 2 hours before serving, or serve immediately. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and use within 2 days.

Source: health

Interesting Combination for Fruit Salad

Sometimes we think that some combinations of ingredients are inappropriate and the result will be plate with no taste. But you will know for sure only if you try! Never troy away an idea before you makes and tastes the recipe. Here is one fruit salad as a combination of cherries with tropical fruits.


Ingredients: (quantities as you wish)

  • cherries (without seeds)
  • bananas
  • kiwis
  • coconut flour
  • lemon juice


  • In one bowl put the wash and cut in half cherries
  • Add peeled and cut in pieces bananas
  • Add peeled and cut in pieces kiwis
  • Drizzle with lemon juice (if you consume the salad immediately, you do not need to use lemon juice- it is app to your choice)
  • Mix it all well and drizzle with coconut flour.

Source: healthoffered

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes


4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Fresh mint leaves



Combine strawberries and granulated sugar in medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk and oil in small bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir with fork until mixture forms dough.
  • Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Quickly shape into 1/2-inch-thick disk. Cut 8 dough circles with floured 2-1/2-inch cookie cutter. Piece together dough scraps, as necessary, to complete circles.
  • Place biscuits on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove pan from oven; cool completely on wire rack.


  • Combine yogurt and brown sugar in medium bowl. Stir until smooth.
  • Split biscuit in half horizontally. Place about 1/4 cup strawberry filling on bottom layer of each biscuit. Cover with biscuit top.
  • Drizzle topping over shortcakes. Garnish with any remaining strawberries and mint leaves.

Source: how stuff works

Carrot-Onion-Tomato Soup


1. 1/2 cup chopped carrots
2. 1 onion chopped
3. 1tsp turmeric
4. 1 tsp chilli powder
5. 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
6. 1 tsp lime juice
7. Coriander leaves for garnishing
8. Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in pressure cooker over medium heat.
2. Add chopped onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in turmeric, and chilli powder and cook, stirring, 1 minute longer.
3. Add chopped carrots and tomatoes and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil.
4. Close lid and give 2 whistles. Take off the stove. Allow to cool.
5. Puree carrots onions and tomatoes. Run the mixture through a strainer to discard tomato seeds.
6. Put in a saucepan and heat over medium flame, stirring, until it boils.Add more water if too thick.
7. Stir in lime juice.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with coriander leaves.

Source: yahoo

Blueberry Orange Smoothie


Blueberries and orange juice are wonderful and refreshing flavor duo. Surprise your family with a berry-yogurt smoothie breakfast! Serve smoothies with yummy toasted bagels topped with non-fat cream cheese for a change from cereal and juice.


  • 200ml blueberry and cranberry juice
  • 1 fresh orange, juiced
  • 100 g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 3 tbsp low fat natural yogurt
  • Honey
  • 8 blueberries, to decorate

Place all the ingredients, except the honey, into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add honey to taste and serve over ice. Spear 4 blueberries into a cocktail stick and place on top of each smoothie.

Preparation time is about 10 minutes; Servings for two.
* Use calcium-fortified orange juice for an additional boost of calcium and energy.

Source: women daily magazine