Back to School Lunches from Gelson's Registered Dietitian Jessica Siegel

Check out these healthful back to school lunch ideas from our very own Jessica Siegel.

In today's Gelson’s Back to School Lunches with Jessica Siegel video series, Jessica shares her Cheese and Apple on Raisin Panini recipe. This sandwich can also be made as a cold sandwich using Food for Life Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread and spread with butter just on the inside.

Cheese and Apple on Raisin Panini

Serves 1

  • 1 teaspoon Vital Farms pasture butter, melted
  • 1 Food for Life Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffin, split
  • 2 slices Finlandia Munster cheese, divided
  • 1/4 small organic Fuji apple, thinly sliced down the side into 5-6 circular slices

Instructions:

Brush both sides of the muffin pieces with butter. Place one slice of cheese on one inside half of the muffin. Arrange apple slices on top so that they do not overlap. Top with remaining cheese and break off any hanging cheese corners and pile them on top of the top cheese slices; cover with remaining side of the muffin. Place on panini press or in a skillet and cook until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Cut in half or quarters and allow to cool on the counter for a few minutes before refrigerating overnight.

In today's Gelson’s Back to School Lunches with Jessica Siegel video series, Jessica shares her Tuna Unmelt recipe. This is a tuna melt with the cheese unmelted, though you could certainly toast or grill it to melt the cheese if you prefer—or leave off the cheese completely. The tuna liquid is high in brain-supporting omega-3 fats, so be sure to mash it into the tuna.

Tuna Unmelt

Serves 2

  • 1 can Wild Planet no salt added tuna, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons Straus organic plain whole milk yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons minced organic Fuji apple without skin
  • 3 tablespoons minced organic celery
  • 1/8 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt
  • 4 slices Food for Life Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread
  • 2 slices Finlandia sliced Havarti cheese

Instructions:

Mash tuna and can liquid together in a bowl. Mix in yogurt; stir in apple, celery and garlic salt. Place one slice of cheese on two bread slices. Cover each with remaining bread and cut sandwiches into two or four pieces. Open sandwiches and divide tuna among the cheese-bread pieces; reassemble.

Cheese and Apple on Raisin Panini

Serves 1

This sandwich combo is my 10-year-old’s favorite. It can also be made as a cold sandwich using Food for Life Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread and spread with butter just on the inside.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon cultured pasture butter, melted
  • 1 Food for Life Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffin, split
  • 2 slices grass-fed Munster cheese, divided
  • ¼ small apple, thinly sliced into 5-6 round slices

Directions:

  1. Brush both sides of the muffin pieces with butter.
  2. Place one slice of cheese on one inside half of the muffin.
  3. Arrange apple slices on top so that they do not overlap.
  4. Top with remaining cheese and break off any hanging cheese corners and pile them on top of the top cheese slices; cover with remaining side of the muffin.
  5. Place on panini press or in a skillet and cook until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.
  6. Cut in half or quarters and allow to cool on the counter for a few minutes before refrigerating overnight.

Pair with:
Edamame
Baby carrots
Plum

Bean and Cheese Burrito with Avocado Dip

Serves 4

The beans will keep nicely in the refrigerator for several days so you can make just one burrito at a time and easily use the leftovers to make one on another day. Make and heat these the night before, then cool overnight in the fridge; pack them cold and they will be room temperature by lunch time.


Ingredients:

  • 1 small avocado, peeled, pit removed
  • -fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can light in sodium vegetarian refried beans
  • 4 sprouted whole grain wraps or tortillas
  • 4 ounces grass-fed shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Mash avocado and stir in a squeeze of lime juice and salt.
  2. Spread ¼ can of beans evenly over each wrap but leave about ½-inch around the edges.
  3. Sprinkle 1 ounce of cheese evenly over half of each wrap.
  4. Fold opposite top and bottom edges of the wrap inward and roll the wrap from the left to right to close.
  5. Place in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave briefly, until cheese is melted.
  6. Allow to cool slightly before refrigerating overnight.
  7. Pack ¼ of the avocado dip in a separate wide-mouth container for dipping.

Pair with:
Cherry tomatoes
Tangerine

Chicken Pesto Pitas

Serves 4

Pita may be difficult for younger kids to handle, so you can turn this into a wrap using whole grain tortillas, such as Food for Life Ezekiel tortillas if that works better for your child. The veggies are included in the sandwich, so you’ll just need to pack some fruit on the side and you’re good to go.


Ingredients:

  • 2 whole wheat pitas, halved down the center and carefully split open
  • Follow your Heart Vegenaise
  • 8 cucumber ribbons made with a vegetable peeler from a peeled Persian cucumber, ribbons drained on a paper towel for a few minutes
  • 8 slices avocado
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) grilled chicken breast strips, such as Applegate naturals
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought basil pesto made with extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tomato slices


Directions:

  1. Spread Vegenaise inside of each pita half.
  2. Place two cucumber ribbons and two avocado slices inside the pitas.
  3. Mix chicken pieces with pesto in a small bowl; spoon a quarter of the chicken mixture into each pita half.
  4. Pack tomato slices in a separate snack bag or small container so your child can add it at lunch time, otherwise it will make the pita soggy.

Pair with:
Red grapes