Tag Archives: healthy lunch

summer grain salad

17 Jul

photo (2)Sometimes when lunch-time rolls around it’s challenging to create a masterpiece meal.

Lunch is often-times overlooked, as we make sandwiches, and easy items that will satisfy our hunger in the shortest amount of time.

This lunch idea may not look easy, or quick but it really is!

All it takes is cooking some brown rice (or quinoa) (prep the rice a day earlier – when you are cooking dinner, or in the morning during breakfast time), and add in some chopped veggies.

Your lunch is about to get a little fancy!

Serves 2 Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 7 minutes (~40 minutes for the brown rice)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp feta cheese, chopped
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • pinch sea salt
  • a few grinds of pepper

Directions:

1. Cook your rice: Add rice and water to a pot, bring to a boil then down to a simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Best if made the night before, or the morning of so it has time to cool.

2. Prep your ingredients: Chop your cheese, and veggies.

3. Assemble: In a large bowl, add in your rice, then top it with all of your goodies. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle in cumin (add more if you want the taste to pop!), salt and pepper then mix thoroughly.

Enjoy this masterpiece meal, and let it inspire the rest of your afternoon. Cheers!

why I am a lunch lady

20 Feb

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“Scholars – will those of you who are trying tofu for the first time today please raise your hands.”

In a warm, sun-filled lunchroom nearly 100 soft hands popped right up.

With a smile, the teacher said, “Great—give yourselves a pat on the back for trying something new.” Giggles were exchanged and self-kudos dealt where due. “Alright, now will you please put your hand back up if you liked the tofu.”

That is the point at which my heart melted faster than the cheese on the lasagna we served the day before. It seemed that in a room of 100 students, almost every single hand was up, way up.

This—is why I am a lunch lady.

bean-1Butter Beans just opened up in a school that moved into a brand new location in Brooklyn. At the very start of the New Year, teachers and “scholars” (as the students are called), beamed as they entered the building for the first time with a brilliance that rivaled the glimmer of the beautiful new facility.

Serving food here has been truly monumental for both the students and the staff, and I beam with pride and joy every time a teacher recounts another success story about the impression the lunch service is having on the students and the teaching staff alike, and they just keep coming.

One teacher told me that a student said, ‘Ms. A—you have to try the Butter Beans food, it’s so good that even the teachers eat it!” Another time, I overheard a student remark, ‘This milk is so good it tastes like it came straight from the cow!’ Every week since we started serving lunch here, I’ve been amazed to have to increase the amount of vegetables that we order from the kitchen to prep and serve at the cold bar.

Teachers tell me they themselves feel markedly different in their day after being nourished by the well-balanced and love-filled meals prepared by the talented Butter Beans chefs. The principal laughed as he confided in me that one parent said that their child regularly comes home and only wants to talk about how good lunch was that day!

While there are some students who are still adjusting to our foods, like our homemade parfaits (the principal assured me that the students are used to yogurts with higher sugar content) – with a little bit of encouraging, plenty of support from the staff, and with the continuing effort of the Butter Beans team to create meals that are both healthy and tasty, one by one the scholars will come around, and they will undoubtedly feel the difference the taste makes.

This post was contributed by Madison Sheffield, Butter Beans Cooking Instructor, Curriculum Developer & Food Service Supervisor.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Nguyen

suggestions for picky eaters

4 Feb

Picky EatersFeeling defeated in trying to get your children to eat healthy?

Perhaps it’s the texture, color or consistency of a food that discourages them from eating it, or simply an aversion to specific foods?

Your children are not alone, picky eating is a very common phase for growing children. In fact, research has shown that the average child needs to be repeatedly exposed to new foods before forming an honest opinion on it.

When introducing your child to a new or healthy food, have patience. It may take more than a few times of trying the newly introduced food before your child accepts it. A great way to help children ease into the introduction is by working new food into your typical family meals. Some favorites of ours include:

Cannellini puree: Makes for a great addition to various kid-friendly foods such as mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, tomato sauce, or to thicken up soups. It will add in some extra protein and fiber into your everyday meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • herbs and spices of choice

Directions:

Blend until smooth.

Carrot puree: Add this puree to your favorite tomato sauce, mac and cheese, muffin or pancake recipe. A wonderful way to add more vitamin A and folate to your meals.

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrot stalks, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Put sweet potatoes and carrots into a pot, add enough cold water to cover. Boil for 30 minutes or until soft. Drain, then add into your food processor with 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth.

What strategies have you come up with to add nutrients into the diets of your picky eaters?

Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC

Recipes adapted from Parenting.com

avocado egg salad

1 Feb

photo-4Looking to cure the lunch or breakfast blues?

Try making this versatile avocado egg salad! Who needs mayonnaise when you have avocado?!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 slice of red onion
  • Dusting of paprika
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, drop your eggs and let cook for 5-9 minutes (depending on the size of your eggs). Meanwhile, cut avocado in half and peel it. Dice the red onion. Once eggs are cooke, remove water from the pot then run cool water over the eggs to cool them down. Smash them to break their shells, and peel. With a fork mash the avocado and eggs together. Add onion and mix. Dust with paprika and a pinch of sea salt. For an additional burst of flavor add cilantro, or salad greens!

summer plans

30 Jan

IMG_0004Winter is still here, but summer is not that far away!

Come get a head start on your summer plans by visiting us this Saturday at PS 321’s Summer Camp Expo to learn more about our fun-filled food & garden summer camp!

Not only will our Co-Founder and Camp Director be there to answer all of your questions, we will also be sampling our homemade camp snacks like our famous granola bars and giving out some seed packets for garden inspiration.

Our summer camp is all about food! How to grow, harvest, cook, compost, where it comes from, who is behind the scenes, how much energy it takes to get to us, and why it’s good for us. All while having fun in the sun, and enjoying the summer-time to it’s fullest.

For those who sign up for camp at the PS 321 event, we’ll give you an additional $75.00 off, along with our 10% off promotion.

See you there!