The topic of school lunch can leave a bad taste in the mouth of some parents. In some cases, it is not always the healthiest or affordable option for students.
Lauren Jackson is a private chef from Southfield and her two sons, Chandler and Alexander, do not eat school lunch. In fact, they pack meals that come straight from their mother’s new cookbook for children, “The Little Spatula.” Released in August, The Little Spatula Volume I features 19 recipes that will please the pickiest of eaters.
“I’ve always had a passion about children cooking and having a good relationship with eating,” said Jackson, who learned how to cook as a child from her mother and grandmother. “When my oldest was a year old, I tried to be a sneaky mom and incorporate vegetables in his meals. As he got older, he would always want to be in the kitchen with me. So I wanted to create easy to follow recipes for the children to help their parents with or eventually make themselves. That’s how the book was born.”
The Little Spatula includes back-pocket recipes that are perfect to pull out on weeknights during the school year, from chicken nuggets and bacon cheeseburger sliders, to egg muffin cups and lasagna. The book is $22.95 and can be found online at thelittlespatula.com, Little High Flyers boutique in Midtown Detroit, Target.com, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com.
“The recipes in this book are for children of all ages and adults as well,” said Jackson. “It allows you to cook delicious meals with the items you have on hand, because more than likely you have them in your cabinet or refrigerator.”
Just in time for the school year, Jackson sells her popular “Munchbox” on her site for $14.99. The silicone, three-compartment lunch box is perfect for school lunches and on the go meals and comes with a spoon and fork. The Munchbox comes in seven colors, is BPA-free, dishwasher and microwave safe, and leak proof.
“The Munchbox allows kids to take their food on the go, whether it’s to school or sports,” said Jackson. “It also allows you to have a healthy food option while on the go, so you won’t have to stop somewhere like McDonald’s. It’s marketed towards children, but anyone can use it.”
Jackson also offers cooking classes monthly for kids ages 2-12 and a separate class for teenagers. Her next session is September 15, but has already sold out. There, with the supervision of their parents, the junior chefs will prepare herb chicken with garlic penne and chopped salad, with sundaes for dessert. A super cool science experiment is included in the end.
“This is a hands on experience, so every child will have their own personal space and I provide the ingredients for whatever meal we are making that day,” said Jackson.