Great Ideas

First Lady Michelle Obama and food site Epicurious asked kids to submit recipes for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Here are four of the winning entries!

Samantha Mastrati, 12



Serves 4 to 6

¾ cup plain panko bread crumbs

1½ tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried parsley

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan

2 large egg whites

2 tbsp. fat-free milk

1 lb. skinless chicken tenders (about 8 to 10 pieces)

1 tbsp. olive oil

Your favorite salsa

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a dark baking sheet with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, 1 tsp. basil, garlic powder, parsley and Parmesan. In a second small bowl, beat the egg whites, milk and remaining ½ tsp. basil. 2. Working with 1 piece at a time, dip chicken tenders into the egg mixture. Then dip one side into the bread crumb mixture and flip it over to coat the other side. Dip the chicken back in the egg mixture and then back in the bread crumb mixture. Place the coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken tenders over, drizzle with more olive oil, and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve with salsa.


“I came up with a new twist on my mom’s recipe,” says Robert.

Brynna Robert, 12




Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp. canola oil

½ fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced on the diagonal

½ cup broccoli florets

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin rings

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 scallions, thinly sliced

3 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce (optional)

½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 orange, separated into sections

1. In a medium sauté pan over moderate heat, warm 2 tsp. of the canola oil. Add the pineapple slices and cook until golden and softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pineapple to a plate and set aside. Do not clean the pan.

2. In the same pan, warm the remaining 1 tsp. of oil. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broccoli, red bell pepper, garlic, and ginger and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cooked brown rice, chickpeas, scallions, soy sauce and chili garlic sauce, if using. 3. Stir and continue cooking for 4 more minutes. Add parsley and reserved pineapple and stir to combine. Serve the stir-fry with orange wedges to squeeze juice on top.

Pizza Packets

Jacob Hirsch, 8



“Jacob is a very picky eater, so we made a healthier version of his favorite food,” says Jacob’s mom, Karen Ann Hirsch.


Makes 4 servings

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-oz.) can whole tomatoes

2 medium carrots, shredded

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium zucchini, shredded

1 tsp. dried oregano

¼ cup baby spinach leaves

2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

4 whole wheat pitas

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until they begin to soften, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, and oregano, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the spinach, and continue simmering, 1 minute. Let cool. Purée the vegetables with an immersion or regular blender, if desired.

2. Place a quarter of the chicken cubes inside each pita pocket. Add a few tablespoons of sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Arrange the pita pizza pockets on a large baking sheet, and bake until the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Veggie Soup

Peter Murphy, 9


In a power outage during Superstorm Sandy, “we came up with this soup that we could cook on our stove top,” says Peter’s mom, Jill Murphy.


Makes 6 servings

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, scrubbed and finely chopped

2 medium stalks of celery, finely chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½-in. pieces

¾ cup green beans, cut into ½-in. pieces

1 russet potato, peeled and cut into ½-in. cubes

½ cup tomato sauce or one medium tomato, chopped

½ cup pearl barley

1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

½ tsp. salt (or to taste)

1. In a large saucepan over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and green beans, and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the potato, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

2. Add 6 cups of water, tomato sauce and barley. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt. Purée soup with an immersion blender, if desired.

Heidi Klum‘s Favorite


The America’s Got Talent judge and mom to Leni, 9, Johan, 6, Henry, 7, and Lou, 3, shares her kids’ classroom must-haves


“No need to clean its bowl or remember to feed him!” jokes Klum of this pencil sharpener.

Goldfish Pencil Sharpener, $4;


“Why carry pencils in a plain case when there’s one that looks like ice cream?” asks Klum.

Yummypocket, $5-$9.50;


“My son Johan helped me design these,” says Klum of her line of tees.

Truly Scrumptious ‘Save the Children’ T-Shirt, $4.99; (available September)


Klum’s kids are “big fans” of these colorful water bottles.

Eddy Kids Water Bottle, $13;


“My daughter Leni has passed the pink phase,” says Klum. “She and her friends love turquoise and aqua, like on this bright printed backpack.”

Big Dot Aqua Sidekick Backpack, $29.99;


“These seem to be all the rage on the playground these days!” says Klum. “Kids love trading them.”

Kidrobot Yummy Dessert Keychains, $4.99 each;

Related Articles