Back-to-school breakfast, lunch ideas to help fuel students throughout the day

Living Well

It can be a struggle trying to find the time to make a healthy and delicious breakfast before the kids head off to school. And the challenge doesn’t end there.

Parents sometimes have to choose between making nutritious homecooked lunches or something already prepared that may not be the most healthy option.

But as dietitian Kim Galeaz shares, there are ways you can save time making foods that give students better focus, concentration, and performance at school.


Oven Baked Scrambled Eggs


  • 16 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat oven to 350⁰F. Spray a 9×13-inch glass baking dish with vegetable cooking spray.
  2. Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add milk and whisk vigorously until thoroughly blended. Pour in prepared dish.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, then stir eggs well to start breaking them up like scrambled eggs.
  4. Continue cooking 5 to 8 more minutes, until eggs are desired doneness. Enjoy immediately. Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly covered container. Enjoy within 3 to 4 days. Makes 8 (2 egg) servings or 5 (3 egg) servings.

Apple Nut Oatmeal Pancakes


  • 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur brand)
  • 2 ¼ cups Kroger quick cooking oats, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup very firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups full-fat whole buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely chopped apple (Keep skin on for added nutrition and color)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds


  1. Preheat large griddle to 325⁰F (or a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt until well blended. Lightly stir in chopped apples and nuts.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour into dry apple-nut mixture and stir only until all ingredients are wet.
  5. Pour ¼-cup portions of batter on hot griddle or skillet. Cook until bubbles form, then flip and cook until other side is brown and done. Enjoy immediately with favorite toppings. Makes about 20 pancakes.

Timesaver tip for the week: Wrap two or three pancakes together in plastic wrap, then place all portions in a zippered freezer bag. Freeze. Take out a portion when needed for a fast breakfast and microwave until heated thoroughly.

Chicken Taco Skillet


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) Kroger Salsa Style Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) Kroger petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) Kroger black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) Kroger super-sweet golden corn kernels, drained
  • 3 chipotle chilies, very finely minced (from 7 oz. can)
  • 3-4 tablespoons adobo sauce (from that 7 oz. can)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder


  1. In a very large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Once oil is hot, add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until nearly tender.
  3. Add garlic and chicken chunks. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is thoroughly done (165 degrees).
  4. Add both canned tomatoes, black beans, corn, chopped chipotle chilies, adobo sauce, cumin, ancho chili powder and chipotle chili powder. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, another 10 minutes until everything is thoroughly hot and blended.
  5. Taste and add more spices (and chopped chipotle chilies) if you prefer hotter flavor. Serve immediately or refrigerate leftovers in a tightly covered container. Use within 3 to 4 days. Makes about 6 cups taco filling.


Curried Tuna Salad with Cashews & Raisins


  • 2 pouch packs (6 oz. each) chunk light tuna (or one 12 oz. can + one 5 oz. can chunk light tuna in water, drained)
  • 1/3 – ½ cup favorite light mayonnaise (or part yogurt Greek plain + mayo)
  • ½ – 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ – 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon Garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews
  • ¾ cup golden or regular raisins (or any other favorite dried fruit like cranberries or cherries)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir to thoroughly combine and blend. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
  2. Serve on naan, in pita pockets or on favorite whole grain bread. Makes about 6 servings (heaping ¾ cup each.)

Asian Sweet & Sour Bean Salad


  • 3 cans (14.5 oz.) cut green beans, drained
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen Kroger Private Selection Mukimame (shelled edamame)
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) Kroger dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) Kroger garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup chopped red onion
  • ¾ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Chinese mustard
  • ½ to ¾ cup granulated sugar (depending on your sweet preference)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Microwave edamame according to package directions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine green beans, microwaved edamame, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and red onion, tossing lightly.
  3. Whisk rice vinegar, oil, and Chinese mustard together in a small bowl. Add sugar, salt and pepper and continue whisking until thoroughly blended.
  4. Pour dressing over bean-onion mixture and stir lightly to coat all ingredients.  Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in tightly covered container. Use within 5 to 6 days. Makes about 10 cups (about 12 servings of ¾ cup each.)

Sweet Corn Hummus


  • 2 cans (15.25 oz. each) Kroger super sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) Kroger garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ to 1 ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional garnishes: crushed red pepper, lime slices, cilantro, chives


  1. Place corn, garbanzo beans, garlic, olive oil and lime juice in food processor bowl. Mix until blended.
  2. Add smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and process until thoroughly combined and blended.
  3. Taste, add more spices or lime juice if desired. Refrigerate in tightly covered container and enjoy within 5 to 6 days. Makes 3 ¼ cups hummus.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake


  • 2 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur)
  • ¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional to enhance chocolate flavor
  • ½ cup Kroger vegetable oil
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup full-fat whole buttermilk (or full-fat plain Greek yogurt)
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 ¼ cups Kroger mini semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans


  1. Heat oven to 325⁰F. Grease and very lightly flour a 9×13-inch metal baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and optional espresso powder until blended.
  3. In a large mixing bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the oil, butter, sugar and vanilla.
  4. Mix in the buttermilk alternately with the flour mixture just until combined.
  5. Mix in the shredded zucchini and ¾ cup mini chocolate chips.
  6. Place batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
  7. Bake cake 35 minutes, or until top springs back lightly when touched and toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean (only a very few moist, not wet, crumbs are okay).
  8. Cool cake on wire rack. Store at room temperature a day or two, or cut cake into large pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place all pieces in zippered freezer bag. Freeze and remove pieces as desired for lunches/snacks. Makes 12 to 16 servings.  

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