The Cobb is a protein-packed salad that will stick with your kids through the school day. This version relies on smoked turkey for the signature flavor that typically comes from bacon. Blue cheese is an optional add-in since its flavor is too strong for a lot of little ones. The assembly is more composed than chopped, which makes it as pretty as it is tasty.
Makes 2 salads
1 Divide the lettuce between two large containers. In each container, arrange half the tomato, avocado, turkey, eggs, and blue cheese (if using) in rows on top of the lettuce.
2 To make the dressing, divide the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil between two small containers. Put on the lids and shake well.
MAKE-AHEAD NOTES: The salad and dressing can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator, but wait until morning to cut and add the avocado. Be sure to give your child instructions for drizzling the dressing over the salad at lunchtime.
Nutrition facts: 260 calories, 9 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 21 g fat (3.5 grams saturated), 200 mg cholesterol, 590 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 50% daily value for vitamin A, 20% daily value for calcium, 10% daily value for iron.
Katie Sullivan Morford, Best Lunch Box Ever: Ideas and Recipes for School Lunches Kids Will Love, Chronicle Books (2013)
No matter who packs it—Mom, Dad, caregiver or the child himself—a lunch is a big deal. It contributes nearly a third of the child’s calorie and nutrient needs. It’s something to look forward to in the middle of the school day. And it’s changed from the lunch your parent prepared for you.
“I think packed lunches were simpler a generation ago,” says Katie Morford, MS, RD, author of the cookbook Best Lunch Box Ever and the blog Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. “It was a sandwich, a piece of fruit and maybe a bag of chips or a treat. I don’t think a whole lot of vegetables went into school lunches or as much thought about the nutritional value of lunches.”
Morford suggests involving kids by letting them pick fruit and veggies they like or getting adventurous and choosing ones they’ve never tried before. “You might be surprised to find your child loves jicama or kumquats.”
Finally, include enough range to keep the kids from boredom. But don’t be surprised if they settle on a few faves and request them week after week. Little ones enjoy a few familiar, comforting items nearby when they’re away from home.
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a nutritionist living in Naperville.
See more of Christine's stories here.
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