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Chef Jamie Oliver Makes Over School Lunches

In an effort to reduce obesity among kids, this celebrity chef has come up with lots of healthy lunch ideas.

You spent your own childhood in the kitchen of your parents' restaurant/pub near Cambridge. Did they cook with healthy "naked" ingredients, or have you taught them a thing or two as your own culinary star has risen?

My dad always used the best food he could find. He visited local farms to source meat and poultry, and he grew his own vegetables as much as he could. He is a big inspiration to me.

Pack a Punch in Your Kid's Lunch

WebMD consulted nutritionist Joy Bauer for a week's worth of healthy lunchbox ideas that taste great and give kids a smart start on the school day.

Monday Canned wild salmon, mixed with low-fat mayo, with whole-grain crackers

Tuesday Cold whole-grain pasta salad with roasted or grilled veggies (try zucchini, mushrooms, and red peppers)

Wednesday Nonfat yogurt, berry fruit salad, with peanut butter in celery sticks

Thursday Grilled or roasted chicken breast tenders, sliced red peppers, and low-fat cheese on whole-grain pita (try spinach pita as a kid-friendly alternative)

Friday Jamie Oliver's own pumpkin rice laksa soup -- perfect for fall (see the recipe below), with soy chips


Jamie Oliver's Pumpkin Rice Laksa Soup

Serves 6-8

Make this hearty fall soup for dinner, then pack a Thermos in your child's school lunchbox the next morning.


1 lb 6 oz pumpkin, butternut squash, or acorn squash, halved, peeled, and deseeded

Small handful of lime leaves

2-3 chilies, deseeded and finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

2 thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger, peeled

3 sticks lemongrass, outer leaves removed

Large handful fresh cilantro, leaves picked, stalks chopped

1 heaping teaspoon five-spice powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Olive oil

1 white onion, peeled and finely sliced

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup basmati rice

2 14-oz cans coconut milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 or 2 limes

Optional: 1 fresh red chili, sliced

Optional: fresh coconut, grated


Chop the pumpkin flesh into 2-inch pieces. To make your fragrant soup base, first chop, then whiz or bash up the following in your food processor or pestle and mortar until you have a pulpy mix: the lime leaves, chilies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro stalks, five-spice powder, and cumin. Remove any stringy bits that may remain in the pulp. Put this fragrant mixture into a high-sided pan with a little oil and your finely sliced onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes to release the flavors. Add the pumpkin and the stock to the pan. Stir around, scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the pan.

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