More Healthy Lunch Ideas

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on February 22, 2014 0 Comments
healthy lunch ideas


Healthy lunch ideas that are good for your body and the environment.


Have you taken a close look at what you’re packing in your kids’ lunches? Not just the food, but also the packaging. I thought I had a good handle on what was going into our boxes, and that we were doing a (mostly) good job, until a study of the ocean in my son’s Kindergarten class brought things into focus for me.

On his own initiative, my (then) 6-year-old son took on the challenge of making our lunches waste free. His target: plastic baggies. I share the story of what catalyzed this adventure on The Huffington Post, along with my son’s tips on how to pack a waste free lunch. He’s got some healthy lunch ideas to share of his own!

Our Favorite Healthy Lunch Ideas

Packing a healthy lunch that’s as good for us as it is for the environment has become easier with the addition of a few easy lunch recipes to our regular routine. I generally find that if we have a few of these healthy recipes at the ready before the week begins, my kids can easily pack lunches for themselves that are healthy for their bodies and the planet. On the weeks when I set aside a few hours on the weekend to make a few recipes in advance, it’s definitely less stressful!

Healthy Zucchini Muffins

Tomato Mozzarella Skewers

Nut Free Basil Pesto

Healthy Homemade Hummus

Homemade Granola Bars

For more healthy lunch ideas, check out these fresh recipes from our Healthy Lunch Challenge

We'd love to hear what you do to pack healthy, low waste lunches! Share your healthy lunch ideas with us in the comments below, or on Facebook.

Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of the forthcoming book The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award winning healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured at Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray’s Yum-O!, Pottery Barn Kids, and Laurie David’s Family Dinner. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post.

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Back on Track: How To Get Your Family Eating Healthy (Again)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on January 09, 2014 0 Comments

how to eat healthy again

Establish a new set of healthy habits for your family—the easy way.


It's that time of year, again. Time for resolutions. Most people make resolutions that they don't keep. I was one of those people, until I discovered a simple way to establish a new set of healthy habits for my family. It didn't take a heroic effort. We didn't have to give anything up. Instead, we focused on growth, exploration and trying new things. Small steps led to big changes. I share the secrets to our success in the James Beard Award Winning magazine, Edible. Be sure to check out the Winter Issue, which you can find at Whole Foods Markets.

Ready to Recharge?

Pushing a rock up an icy hill: That’s how I feel about getting myself, and my family, back on the healthy eating track in the New Year. Like most families, we enjoy the holidays with all of their pleasures—including the sweet ones. Come January, we’re ready to recharge. Here’s what we do to get back on track:

1) Set One Simple Goal, Together

If I had a dime for every resolution I’ve made, and broken, I could buy a lot of lattes. Each year, I would dutifully add “eat healthy” to the top of my list and fail by February. Then I stumbled on a way to get myself, and my family, eating healthier without a struggle. The secret was simple: one resolution, taken on together. For my family, trying one new food each week was the catalyst for all sorts of fun food adventures and a big shift in the way that we eat. It could just as easily be cooking together or shopping the farmers' market as a family every weekend. The key is to pick one simple goal that you can work on together.

2) Focus on Process, Not Product

Saying that we were going to “eat healthy” felt enormous, and amorphous. Even worse, I was focused on the wrong thing. What I learned from our experience trying one new food each week was a helpful reminder: The journey makes the difference. It didn’t matter whether we liked the new food or not. The point was that we enjoyed seeking out new foods together, and cooking new foods together and talking about new foods together. It was about the process, not the product—the journey, not the destination. Another important thing to remember is that any change worth making takes time. It’s a setup for disappointment if you expect to change your family’s eating habits in a week, or a month. Take the long view. Think about working towards your goal over the course of the year. There will be twists and turns along the way—and that’s fine! Know that when you reach your destination, there will be more to discover. There is always more to learn.

3) Set Up for Success

As you roll into the New Year, make it easy by setting up for success. Stock your fridge full of colors. Even the bleak winter months deliver loads of colorful produce: deep green kale, purple cauliflower, colorful rainbow carrots, juicy pink grapefruit, mellow yellow pears. Head out to your local farmers market to load up on your colors—along with a new food, or two, to try. Then try your best to start each day on the right foot with a healthy, colorful breakfast. What your family eats in the morning will set the tone for the day. Try something simple like broiled grapefruit with a drizzle of honey and a dash of ground ginger or Greek yogurt with homemade pear sauce. Carry those colors right through to dinner, along with a conversation about where your food adventures will take you next.

Jennifer Tyler Lee is the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color, and author of the forthcoming book, The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014). Jennifer’s weekly new food adventures and easy recipes are featured at Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and The Huffington Post.

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Healthy Halloween: Treats, Tricks and Tips

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on October 31, 2013 0 Comments

Halloween treats are about to descend on our house. But this year I've got a plan for how to make Halloween a little healthier.


This week on the Huffington Post I'm talking about easy ways to make Halloween a little healthier. One easy strategy that we plan to try is to trade treats for treasures:

Five candies buys you a pack of hockey cards or a take-apart eraser. Twenty-five candies gets you a bucket of balls at the driving range. One hundred candies can be redeemed for tickets to the local college basketball game.

Visit The Huffington Post for more healthy Halloween treats, tricks and tips to keep your little ones healthy and happy this holiday.

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color®, and author of the upcoming book, The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014), a week-by-week playbook to get your family eating healthy, one new food at a time. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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Healthy Lunch Ideas at Edible

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on October 22, 2013 0 Comments

If you’re like me, packing a healthy lunch that your kids will actually eat is one of the most challenging tasks you face each week.


I am honored to be writing for Edible Communities—the James Beard award-winning series of magazines that celebrate local foods, season by season. This month, it's all about healthy lunch ideas.

"I was fed up (and fresh out of ideas). So, together with my kids, we came up with a simple strategy to build a better lunch box. For a system of any kind to be successful in our house it has to be (a) sustainable (one that I can maintain on a busy schedule) and (b) easy (one that my kids can be a part of).

The system had to work in all weather conditions—even on frazzled mornings when we were rushing out the door with barely a minute to spare—otherwise it would lose its appeal. With those guiding principles, we came up with a few simple lunch packing agreements."

Read about our all-weather lunch packing system and get more healthy lunch ideas at Edible Silicon Valley, and be sure to pick up a free copy of the magazine at one of these Bay Area locations. To find Edible in your neighborhood, check out their full list of publications

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color®, and author of the upcoming book, The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014), a week-by-week playbook to get your family eating healthy, one new food at a time. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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High Protein Snacks that Satisfy (52 New Foods, Week 41)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on October 15, 2013 0 Comments

high protein snacks nuts 52 new foods

Bring on the snacks! But when you do, make them high protein snacks.


Should I limit snacks to once a day like the French? Or serve them up every few hours to beat back mid-afternoon meltdowns? Debate on this topic is fierce. After many trials, I’ve found it’s best for my kids (and me) to snack—with a caveat. When we snack, we choose high protein snacks.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts may be high in calories, but they are also a great source of protein. They have an added benefit as well. They’re packed with omega-3 fats—the kind of fat that healthy bodies need. Although it’s better to source your omega-3 fats from fish, nuts provide another helpful source according to Walter Willett, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

Walnuts top our list, and we usually enjoy them with something equally crunchy like an apple. Our visit to the market this week uncovered an apple the size of a walnut, which made for a fun and nutritious snack. Simple and easy.

For kids with nut allergies, seeds can offer similar benefits. Our school is nut free, so our healthy protein snack of choice is an easy no bake cookie made with sunflower seeds, honey and oats.

More High Protein Snacks

Nuts are a great high protein snacks, but there are many others. Here are a few more favorites that regularly appear on our family table:

Beans: Edamame and chickpeas are great sources of protein. Try them in a healthy homemade hummus.

Greek Yogurt: Go Greek and nearly double your protein. Try it with homemade granola and a drizzle of maple syrup or blended into a pineapple smoothie.

Which are your favorite high protein snacks? Share your ideas!

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color®, and author of the upcoming book, The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014), a week-by-week playbook to get your family eating healthy, one new food at a time. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

Read More


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