Food for Thought…Pumpkins

Last week we talked about the power food, pumpkin, on our Facebook Business Page.  With the arrival of Fall, pumpkins are now in season and a fun vegetable to eat and decorate with!  So pick a pumpkin from your local farm or market and get ready to pull out those seeds.

Here’s a fun, simple, easy to prepare great tasting snack:

Toasted Sea Salt and Olive Oil Pumpkin Seeds…Yum!

  1. Pick pumpkin – the bigger the pumpkin usually the more seeds it has. Wipe outside of pumpkin clean with wet cloth.
  2. Cut or Carve pumpkin and remove pumpkin seeds. Place pumpkin seeds in bowl and rinse well. Drain pumpkin seeds well and pat dry.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  4. In a dry bowl, place dry pumpkin seeds. For every cup of pumpkin seeds add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.  Mix well.
  5. Spread olive oil and sea salt pumpkin seeds on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Place in oven and bake until lightly toasted.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool…and then Enjoy!

If you Want to Spice it UP…sprinkle some of your favourite seasoning – for example oregano, garlic powder or cumin – prior to roasting, toss well and roast away!

Healthy Lunchbox One Pot Turkey Chili in the Electric Pressure Cooker


Prep: 5 minutes (after 8-12 hour soak of dry beans)

beans           ingred
Achieve Full Pressure: 10 minutes
Pressure Cook and Release: 13 mins for dry beans, 5 mins for canned beans
Total time: 28 minutes for dried beans, 20 minutes for canned beans
Makes 8 servings


1 1/4 pounds ground turkey, lean 93% or more
1 1/2 Cups total dry beans, soaked 8 to 12 hours. Use a mix of black, kidney, pink & black eyed peas or your preference*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin

**Short on time? Substitute 2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) of kidney, black, pink or other beans for dried beans. Drain and rinse canned beans thoroughly.


1. Rinse dried beans well. Remove any bad beans or debris. Place in large bowl. Cover with water by at least 2 inches. Cover bowl and let beans soak at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

2. Drain beans into colander and wash well.

3. Crumble turkey into electric pressure cooker liner pot. Add beans and other remaining ingredients; stir to combine.

4. Close cover securely. If your cooker has a beans or chili setting, use that. If not, set cooker to high pressure setting for 8 minutes followed by natural release for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, release any remaining pressure using quick release method. Remove pressure cooker lid. Stir chili. Taste.

5. If beans are not done to your preference, cook under high pressure for a few minutes more and use quick-release method. Add salt, pepper and adjust seasonings to taste.

6. If using canned beans, cook under high pressure for 5 minutes, then use quick-release method.

7. Serve with grated cheddar cheese and your favorite chili fixings.


If using canned beans, set cooker to high pressure for 5 minutes, and use the quick release method to bring pressure down to normal.

Baking soda and olive oil help reduce foaming of beans. You may also wish to add a teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water if using dry beans.

Do not salt soaking water or add salt during cooking process as salt tends to toughen beans.

Do not fill pressure cooker more than halfway when cooking beans.

Keep a damp kitchen towel on hand when using quick release method when cooking beans in case the beans foam out through the valve. This is unlikely unless you overfill the cooker past the halfway mark.

Apple…Not Just Technology


The infamous apple is found almost everywhere.  In bible stories, physics books, on our phones, Ipads, computers and laptops and in sayings such as: “an Apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  What a powerful fruit yet my question is do we eat as many apples as we refer to in our daily lives?
And why is the Apple selected as a symbol in so many different areas of our lives and the world?  Could it be that in its simplicity it denotes strength in its raw form, versatility in the many ways it can be consumed and used in recipes, or nourishment because of its naturally occurring nutritional properties?  And why I am referring to the apple in this way – well let’s delve a little further into this. Continue reading

Making Healthy Eating & Exercise Fun

A newly adapted obesity-prevention program ‘5-2-1-0’ developed by the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County aims to teach children about exercise and nutrition through fun games. The concept ‘5-2-1-0’ stands for daily consumption of nutritious five fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of recreational screen time, one hour of after school activity and zero sugary drinks.

Continue reading

8 Foods that May Help Improve Oral Health

According to the article by Catherine Winters, Contributing Editor at Live Science “Chew on This: 8 Foods for Healthy Teeth” (October 21, 2013), regular brushing and flossing help keep teeth healthy by getting rid of sugars and food particles that when combined with bacteria form plaque which damages tooth enamel, causes cavities and gum disease.  In addition to brushing and flossing research is now showing that there are certain foods that may be good for teeth and promote oral health.  Continue reading

Chicken Casserole

Yields: 6 servings

1 ½ lbs.                 Chicken boneless, cut into bite size pieces

8 oz.                     Cream of mushroom soup, condensed

3 tbls                    Olive oil

4                          Egg noodles, cooked

½ cup                   Celery, chopped

½ cup                   Onion, chopped

½ cup                   Red peppers, diced

⅓ cup                   Bread crumbs

  1. In fry pan heat olive oil and saute chicken.
  2. Place hot cooked noodles into casserole dish.
  3. Add soup to pan; stir and mix in well.
  4. Then add chicken and vegetables to pan and mix in well.
  5. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of casserole in pan.
  6. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until browned on top and bubble.

California Fresh Fruit Plate

Here’s a quick and healthy snack for the whole family. Nutritious and bright, fruits are a great choice!

Yields: 8 servings
3 cups Seedless grapes, green and red
16 Orange slices
16 Kiwi Slices
1 cup Blueberries
16 Whole strawberries
8 Fresh pineapple slices
8 scoops Sherbet or cottage cheese
Trimmed chilled lettuce leaves as needed

1. Rinse and drain grapes, cut into small clusters and refrigerate until chilled
2. Place lettuce leaves on chilled salad plate, arrange grape clusters and remaining fruits
around the outer edge of the plate
3. Center with pineapple slice topped with sherbet or cottage cheese
4. Garnish with mint sprig and serve with banana nut bread

Welcome to Healthy Lunch Box


Welcome and thank you for visiting our website! We are a team of passionate Dietitians working hard to put together fun and nutritional resources and games for children to use in the kitchen!  Please take the time to navigate through our website and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter – we aim to provide you with meals ideas and delicious recipes to prepare for your family and fun food games for children. We welcome you to get involved, whether you have a recipe or story to share, we’d love to hear from you!