Friday, March 15, 2013

Crunch A Color Healthy Lunch Challenge : Homemade Chicken Nuggets & Carrot Hearts

When Jennifer of Crunch a Color asked if I'd like to join her Healthy Lunch Challenge, I was flattered and a little incredulous... me? I try to pack healthy for my sproutlets but it often is a challenge, so wow, it's such a compliment to have my efforts recognized by such a healthy eating role model! Thank you, Jennifer, it's an honour to be asked, and I'll do my best :)

What's the Healthy Lunch Challenge?
Jennifer Tyler Lee, the mom behind the Crunch a Color Healthy Eating Game, challenged 15 bloggers to pack healthy lunches their kids would love to eat, using fresh, colourful ingredients, and the points cards from the game. Fun! And, the top 5 lunch ideas will be featured in Crunch a Color's April article on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution! Here's my Bella's healthy lunch:

What's For Lunch?
It wasn't hard to meet the Healthy Lunch Challenge criteria of three colours plus a healthy grain, & protein. Lunch is packed in Bella's favourite, EasyLunchboxes, and contains:
  • heart-shaped homemade chicken nuggets for protein & healthy grain (I even snuck some milled flax in the breading)
  • golden sunburst cherry tomato & carrot skewers on a bed of salad
  • the salad itself is made of fresh, crisp romaine & butter lettuce & purple raddichio, with shredded cheddar to top it with
  • sweet juicy pink watermelon & orange cantaloupe
  • an EasyLunchboxes Mini Dipper filled with trail mix, for snack

I'm fortunate my girl loves fresh veggies, but she's not as big a fan of fruit, so I try to make it more appealing to her by cutting it in fun shapes.  The watermelon & canteloupe were easy to cut with a small heart-shaped cookie cutter - and I got to nibble on the scraps, yum, a healthy snack for mum :) Since I had a heart theme going, I made her carrots into hearts too:
How to make carrot hearts for fun lunches
You can also make heart-shaped grapes, tomatoes, & cocktail sausages the same way :) If your little one is too young for toothpicks, I show how to make them without in this blog post.

What's my Healthy Eating Game score?

At first I scored Bella's lunch with 60 points, as shown below. But then I realized I could add an additional 5 points for her Klean Kanteen of water, and a 10 point red card for the cherry tomatoes :) Yay!

What Fun! Want to Play?
You can make your family's meals more fun with Crunch a Color's Healthy Eating Game! You might also like the companion game, Conversation Starters - I recently reviewed both games here. 

Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets - Kid-Friendly!
Healthy Homemade Kid-Friendly Chicken Nuggets 
Makes approximately 24 nuggets
  • 1 lb ground chicken 
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oatmeal 
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
  • 1 tsp Zatarain's Creole Seasoning
    (or seasoning salt & paprika to taste), divided  
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ¼ tsp black pepper 
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, oatmeal, half the grated parmesan, half the seasoning, the garlic powder and the pepper.
2. Knead the dry ingredients into the ground chicken.
3. Moisten hands to prevent sticking and form 1 tbsp of chicken mixture into a ball. Press into a small cookie cutter (play dough cutters work too!) for shaped nuggets or simply flatten for a basic nugget shape.
4. In a small shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining seasoning and grated parmesan.
5. Press the nuggets into the bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.
6. At this point you can freeze the nuggets on a cookie sheet, then store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Add 3-5 minutes to your cooking time when cooking from frozen.
7. Bake in preheated 375° F oven. Arrange the nuggets on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Lightly spray the nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional). Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once, and checking - don't overcook!
  • NOTE: These baked nuggets will not really brown - if browning is desired, place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes near the end of cooking.
Visit my post at for a print-friendly version of this recipe, and see how I used them to make a healthy kid-friendly lunch that beats the boxed storebought version :)
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Giveaway Closed
Thanks for entering & congratulations to the winner :)
Enjoy your Crunch a Color Healthy Eating Games!

Like the look of our EasyLunchboxes? Get some!
And the Crunch a Color Healthy Eating Games too!


  1. Awesome job! So colorful and tasty looking :D

  2. Awesome giveaway! I'd love the Healthy Eating Game! I know Eliana would love it! :)

  3. Wow.. that is a really high point value compared to a few that I have seen tonight who also took this challenge. :)

  4. I like to try and give them several different colors of food each day

  5. I think this game would bring a fun element to our lunches. Your lunch is beautiful and I can't wait to try out your recipe!

  6. This lunch is beautiful!

  7. So colorful and fun! I love the carrot hearts trick. Easy and really playful. Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic ideas, Cristi. These suggestions definitely help me break out of my lunch rut :)

  8. So the game and your lunch!

  9. What a fun idea--first time I've seen the carrots done as hearts (tomatoes, yes, but never carrots--how cool!).

  10. What a cool idea! I might be able to get my boy to eat better if he could "win" by eating well. Love the carrot hearts. :)

  11. Love the lunch and the challenge!!

  12. Love the chicken nuggets recipe!!

  13. Thanks for the giveaway....what a great idea!

  14. What a great idea! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  15. Gonna try the nugget recipie...

  16. I'm totally making my kids those chicken nuggets, how cute!

  17. What a beautiful lunch - adults, pack YOUR lunches this way too!

  18. Looks great! I really like the game.

  19. Amber Hernandez3/18/2013

    I can't wait to try the chicken nuggets! Thanks for inspiring me through your blog!

  20. I have looked at getting this "game" for my nieces. Now I think I must. Even if just for myself. ;)

  21. I love the idea of this game, and your lunch is gorgeous. I have also tried your chicken nugget recipe, but with tenderloin pieces and the seasonings as part of the breading. Yum!

  22. That is a beautiful lunch! Fantastic job!!!!

  23. Hi - I was out browsing the net and came across your website. I own a daycare and am looking for great ideas for kid's meals and I love what you have here! I'll be looking closer when I get home and can cruise the net in quiet. =D

    Thanks for the giveaway! Tina 'the book lady'

  24. Great lunch! Love it!!!

  25. Awesome - Love this!

  26. Anonymous3/21/2013

    Very neat idea!

  27. Wow! This lunch deserves tons of points!


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