I recently had the pleasure of attending Lunchbox Bootcamp with Whole Foods Market, a private Healthy Eating event and cooking demonstration at the Whole Foods Market in Roosevelt Square. Chad Sarno, Whole Foods Market’s Executive Chef, was visiting from Austin to demo gourmet recipes and talk about cooking healthy recipes for the whole family, focusing on how to prepare easy and healthy lunches.
Chef Sarno joined Whole Foods Market to co-create and assist with the launch of their company-wide Healthy Eating Initiative called Health Starts Here®. The recipes stick to guidelines like no eggs, dairy or processed sugars and grains. For this meat-eating, bread lover, it was a new experience! There are healthier options out there and I’m always game to learn more, especially when it’s called Lunchbox Bootcamp. They have an extensive list of recipes and we had the pleasure of sampling a few.
We started off with wine and hors d’oeuvres. Chad is a vegan chef and everything that evening was pure vegetable base. There was even tofu. I have a tofu phobia, but then again, I haven’t had it since I was a child. Here is Tomato Soup With Avocado Toast and Balsamic Figs with Cashew Butter & Fresh Herbs on toast.
The teriyaki tofu kabobs were so good! I may have had one…or three.
Kinda looks like chicken carnitas, right? Nope, it’s green jack fruit carnitas…I kid you not. Jack fruit is a fleshy fruit often used as a meat substitute.
OK, back to business. We were there to learn about healthy alternatives for breakfast and lunch. Chef Sarno whipped up several recipes and we were able to sample it all. Here, he is making his own almond milk and using it in his Green Power Smoothie, the breakfast of champions. Here’s a similar recipe.
More tofu magic…he made pita pizzas with tofu ricotta. On the right, a new spin on PB & J with dense wheat bread, almond butter and fresh fruit.
These coconut-lemon truffles would have been tastier but I don’t like coconut.
We were sent home with a list of healthy lunch alternatives, so I’ll share a few to help pack a nutrient-dense lunchbox.
• Instead of a PB&J sandwich, chips, cookies and chocolate milk…
…try a whole wheat tortilla wrap with almond or peanut butter, sliced strawberries and fruit-sweetened jelly, carrot sticks or sugar snap peas, Lemon Treats, and a bottle of water.
• Instead of mac & cheese, cheese puffs, applesauce and soda…
…try Black Bean Hummus served with veggies and whole wheat pita, unsweetened applesauce or in-season fresh-cut fruit, and almond or soy milk.
• Instead of a sending a granola, candy and fruit juice…
…try homemade granola or Pumpkin Pecan Cookies, fruit leather and fruit juice spritzer (half 100% fruit juice/half seltzer).
You don’t have to completely overhaul your entire pantry, but a few changes here and there can make a huge difference! Check out Whole Food’s Healthy Eating For Parents And Kids for great ideas and strategies to eating healthy with your kids.
Check out Whole Kids Foundation whose mission is to improve children’s nutrition and wellness with the goal of ending the childhood obesity epidemic. Through partnerships with innovative organizations, schools and educators they work to provide children access to healthier choices.