Summer is a blast! I’ve had so much fun teaching my kids’ cooking camps; enjoying much needed time to play, relax, and rejuvenate on the beaches in California; and precious moments taking super-early morning walks with my mom to beat the Arizona heat. But even though the temperatures are still soaring, we’re back to school now, which inspired me to get into the kitchen and create some simple, easy, nutritious, and delicious recipes to fuel a fantastic new school year.
My first swap takes on sugary breakfast foods like donuts and cereals. I love to literally mix things up a bit by making yummy smoothies. The best part is they can be made out of an unlimited combination of fresh and delicious ingredients. My Chocolate Cherry Zucchini smoothie recipe is fun, flavorful, and a refreshingly sweet way to get your daily veggies. All the kids in my cooking camp really loved this recipe. Plus, did you know that zucchini is heart-healthy? Just another reason to blend it up right now.
My next swap takes on pizza. I know this is a very popular (and in my opinion, boring) lunchtime meal, because eating cheese, peperoni, and maybe a few other toppings isn’t always the healthiest or adventurous choice. That’s why I like to swap pizza out for my Mediterranean Chickpea Flatbread. I love Mediterranean flavors like cumin and paprika, which really make the flavors in this dish pop! The chickpeas are used both in hummus form, as well as whole roasted on top of the flat bread, imparting plenty of calcium to keep our bones nice and strong.
Finally, an essential component to back-to-school recipes is making sure they are simple and quick to prepare, and my Green Rice and Tofu Fajita Bowl is a fantastic example of a perfect lunch to bring to school. I love how colorful and flavorful the green rice is, and how well the spinach, jalapeño, and cilantro work together. And, the crispy tofu just makes it all complete. It’s truly perfection.
I hope that these swaps will inspire you to get creative with back-to-school meals, and to have a happy and healthy new school year!
Haile Thomas is a 10th grader at The Gregory School, a motivational speaker, a young chef, and the founder of the HAPPY Organization.