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Back on Target for Back To School

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Back to School is one of the most exciting times as well as one of the most stressful times. It’s the start of a new routine for the whole family and can be full of chaos. Make this a year to remember by setting your whole family up for a healthy and happy school year. Start by stocking your fridge with the superfoods found in the center of this Food Target. Time to get back on target! 

In order to feel happy and satisfied, the body has to produce serotonin? Serotonin helps with everything from digestion to making sure you get a good night sleep and is an important element to your overall success. Did you know that 90% of serotonin is actually made in the gut through the foods we eat? That’s right, serotonin boosting foods include all the items you find in the center of this Food Target above.

What happens in today’s worlds is that we feed our kids (and ourselves) everything that comes in a box, package, gel, bar, smoothie, drink, or even supplement. None of these items provide good bacteria for the gut or stimulate serotonin. In order to have a healthy microbiome and boost serotonin naturally, the gut needs real, live, living foods. (Think of foods that rot). Instead of giving your kids apple juice, cut up a real apple. Instead of serving up a peanut butter and jelly on a processed slice of bread, switch to sprouted bread which is much easier to digest and contains a higher mineral content. With allergies at an all time high and germs lingering at every corner, it’s important to maintain a healthy immune system by improving gut health with real, whole foods. After all, 90% of our immune system is actually made in the gut and you must have a strong microbiome and healthy bacteria to fend the body from allergies, food sensitivities, and autoimmune issues.

Start this year off right by packing serotonin boosting lunches that you and your kids will love. I use this Food Target as a guide for making meals in general. Ideally you want to balance each meal or snack with a carb, protein and fat to make you feel satisfied and keep you energized. It’s about balance and choosing better quality foods. Think of foods that don’t have an ingredient list or items that only have real ingredients you can pronounce.

One of the best lunch foods of course is sandwiches. The are quick, easy, and a staple in the lunchbox. The key is to pack a sandwich that has more of a “nutritious punch.” August is actually Sandwich month, so here are some unique ways to spice up your sandwiches for the lunchbox.

When it comes to packing sandwiches, I find that it’s all about the condiments sometime and the ingredients you use. Swap avocado oil mayo for processed mayo and choose sprouted grain breads. You can also make delicious pesto’s and dressings that are loaded in nutrition and flavor.

Veggie Pesto Sandwiches

Makes 8 Sandwiches

2 large summer squash

2 large zucchinis

4 large portabella mushroom caps

1 jar of sundried tomatoes

Fresh mozzarella slices (optional)

Ciabatta Rolls or Sprouted Bread Slices/Wraps

Broccoli Pesto Recipe

1 cup of broccoli florets

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

¼ parmesan cheese, shredded

¼ cup salted shelled pistachios

Slice summer squash and zucchini, and portabellas into slices lengthwise. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper and grill for 2-3 minutes per side or until tender. (Grill pan may be used for more controlled cooking). Meanwhile, add broccoli pesto ingredients to a food processer and blend until smooth.

To assemble sandwiches, start by spreading an even layer of broccoli pesto on the bread. Add veggies, mozzarella and top with the other bread slice. Cut in half and serve. 

Simple Chicken Salad

Makes 8 Wraps

1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 quart of organic chicken broth

1/3 cup of avocado oil mayonnaise

¼ cup of green onions, sliced

¼ cup of celery, diced

Coconut or lettuce wraps

Boil chicken breasts in broth for 10-15 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove chicken and discard broth. Let chicken cool for 5 minutes and slice into bite size pieces. Add cut chicken to a large bowl and add mayonnaise, green onions, and celery. Use a large spoon to mix well and add to coconut wraps.

Gourmet PB & J

Spice up your boring PB & J by adding sliced bananas, honey, or fresh berries to a sandwich or wraps. Try using natural peanut butter, healthier jellies, and sprouted grain breads or wraps.

Tortellini Pasta Salad with Summer Herb Dressing

Serves 8

1 (20 ounce) package of refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini

1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved

1 large cucumber, chopped

1 cup of pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

½ cup of green onions, chopped

¾ cup of feta cheese, crumbled

Summer Herb Salad Dressing

1 heaping cup of fresh basil

½ cup of fresh chives

½ cup of red wine vinegar

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt or to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse and add to a large bowl. Add tomatoes, cucumber, olives, green onions, and feta cheese.

Meanwhile, blend dressing ingredients in a food processor and drizzle about 1/3 of a cup over tortellini mixture. Stir to mix. Store extra dressing in a container in the refrigerator to use for delicious summer salads. Dressing lasts about 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Side Dishes

Hummus & Veggies

Potato Chips (Ingredients should include potatoes, sea salt, and avocado or coconut oil)

Fresh Fruit

Dried Fruit (Mangos, Figs, Dates)

Brain Boosting Breakfast