Great Subs @ SUBMARINA - Hemet
By Evan L. Mestman

There isn’t a school day that goes by that I worry about my son’s lunch. Of course, I ask myself the usual questions: Is he eating what he has in the bag? Will he trade his apple for a cookie? Will the school lunch he’s ordering once a week be nutritious? He’s a kid! He’s not a fussy eater, but there are plenty of days that he has come home with a bag full of food. I’ll ask him “what did you eat for lunch?” He always says, “nothing.” What’s a parent to do?

Plenty of Mom’s worry about what to feed their kids for lunch. They always ask me which foods are the best to pack. I believe there’s no such thing as a good or bad food. Remember, the food police aren’t arresting anyone at Ben and Jerry’s. Some foods are much more nutritious than others. The key to feeding your child well is to offer variety and make sure to include fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, 90% of Americans don’t eat the recommended five or more servings of antioxidant-rich and nutritious fruits and vegetables daily. Kids eat even less. While supplementation may guarantee you get enough Vitamin C and Beta Carotene, it‘s not a substitution for all the thousands of healthful nutrients found in fruits and vegetables that you can’t get in a pill. You want your kids to grow up healthy and strong. Here are some winners that will compliment any school lunch and help make your fruit and vegetable choices count.

Broccoli: Here’s an all American winner, as if you didn’t already know! Broccoli is chock full of vitamins, fiber, and minerals. It taste great, too. Broccoli is high is Vitamin C and carotenoids. These are antioxidants that help boost our immunity and protect our body from environmental insults like cigarette smoke and pollution. The two types of fiber in broccoli , soluble and insoluble, help lower cholesterol, fight cancer, and keep our digestive systems in tip-top shape. Broccoli also contains indoles and isothiocyantes that help decrease estrogen’s effectiveness and protects our cell’s DNA (the building blocks of genetics and reproduction). It’s also an excellent source of folic acid-a B vitamin that seem to be critical for cardiovascular health. Not bad for being green!

Kids either love it or hate it. Here are some ideas to help you kids eat more of the green stuff. Broccoli tastes best if it’s blanched first, cooked in boiling water or steamed for 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the cooking with an ice bath if you want to eat it cold. Marinate it in your favorite light Italian dressing and place it in a zip lock bag for lots of flavor. Substitute broccoli for half the cabbage in your favorite coleslaw recipe and add to a sandwich instead of lettuce and tomato. Don’t throw away the stalks.

Carrots: If this vegetable was marketed for its benefits, I bet it would sell for $20 per pound! Carrots have over 200 carotenoids, one of which is beta carotene. Scientists aren’t sure which caroteniod is responsible for protecting us from cancer. Since beta carotene provided such disappointing results in recent research, I’ll keep eating carrots and skip the beta carotene. Carrots also contain phenolic acid, a phytochemical that may reduce the risk of cancer.

A great way to get your kids to start eating carrots is top his/her favorite sandwiches with shredded carrots along with lettuce and tomato. Kids will enjoy a bag of baby carrots (they are large carrots cut into small bite-sized pieces) with some low fat dressing on the side for dipping. Even try it shredded on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if your kids won’t eat their vegetables.

Beans: Most kids won’t eat beans, “I don’t like them.” “They taste yucky.” My son loves black beans, soybeans and chickpeas. There are so many different types of beans all with a different texture and flavor. Don’t give up on your first try. Beans are a great way to add a powerful nutritious punch to any meal. A large portion of the world population depends on beans to provide them with nutrition. People of the orient uses soybeans, Americans use peas, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries depend on chickpeas and lentils, Africans uses a combination of beans. Beans have the highest source of fiber for a whole food. They also are loaded with cancer-fighting phytochemicals like genistein and flavones. Soybeans have the most impressive list of plant chemicals to help fight, cancer, and high blood pressure, and menopausal symptoms. Add to its long list of benefits its ability to lower blood cholesterol and you have a winner. Use canned beans if you’re in a rush. Open a can of chickpeas, chop up an onion and some red pepper (if your child doesn’t like them, you can always substitute another bean and vegetable until they are happy), toss in your favorite salad dressing and let it marinate overnight. Let your child spread black beans or prepared humus (a chickpea spread) on a flour tortilla. When at home, add cheese and chopped onion and cilantro, heat it in the toaster oven or microwave and have a side of salsa with carrot sticks for a delicious and well rounded lunch.

Apricots, Melon, and Papaya: All these fruits are loaded with nutrients. They’re high in Vitamin C and mixed carotenoids, potasium and have lots of fiber. Papaya has enzymes that help digestion and break down protein. Some of these enzymes have anti-inflammatory qualities. All of these fruits are great as snack foods in a lunch bag. Whether dried or fresh, these fruits taste great solo or with other foods. Combine dried apricots and toasted almonds for a tasty snack.

Spinach: Here’s another vegetable with abundant amounts of beta carotene and potassium. Most kids say they don’t like spinach probably because it’s cooked incorrectly. Spinach tastes best if cooked when young and tender. Older spinach tends to be woody and tough. Don’t use aluminum cookware. The spinach will pick up an acidic taste and lose its beautiful green color. Don’t overcook spinach. It gets waterlogged easily and is probably the reason why many don’t like it. Use it on sandwiches with lettuce and tomato.

Herbs and Spices and Tea: Don’t to forget to spice up your kid’s life with garlic, turmeric, ginger, rosemary and green and black tea. Many parents think kids don’t like spices. It’s true their taste buds are more sensitive to hot and spicy foods. But, if you don’t introduce these flavors at an early age, your children won’t learn to like them. These additions to your children’s diet will provide antioxidants such as curcumin, lycopene, allicin, and flavonoids. They taste great and may be the hidden ingredients that provide protection from cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Use lightly sweetened green tea mixed with juice for a great tasting thirst-quencher.

Next time you question whether your children’s lunch is packing enough nutrition, try these easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables. You’d be surprised how easy it is to fee your children power foods for a powerful body!

About The Author

Evan L. Mestman is the owner of, the home of the Pleasure Principle Weight Loss Plan. Lose Weight, With Pleasure!

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By Audrey Okaneko

Kids love to help mom in the kitchen. Both of my girls always asked what they could do to help prepare meals.

Here are several suggestions for recipes kids can help make that require no cooking:

1. Fruit on a stick. Buy already cut up fruit pieces and have the kids put them on short skewers. Kids love to make the skewers and then eat them. Try mixing colors, such as blueberries with either strawberries or pineapple, or strawberries with cantaloupe.

2. Dips for veggies. Kids love to dip. Start with either yogurt, mayonnaise or cottage cheese. You can add ranch dressing mix, or Italian dressing mix, or even onion soup mix. Buy the small carrots or any other veggie and the kids can have veggies and their own home made dip.

3. Frozen banana. Cut bananas in half. Place a popsicle stick in each banana piece. Dip the banana in chocolate syrup. Now roll the banana in crushed nuts, crushed corn flakes, or crushed graham cracker crumbs. Freeze for a few hours, in waxed paper.

4. 7 layer dip (this is one of my favorites). It’s served cold, there is no cooking involved. Start with a can of refried beans as your bottom layer. Chop up olives, tomatoes, onions, cheese and avocado (has to be very ripe). On the very top add sour cream. Use tortilla chips to dip. We have made an entire meal out of this great recipe.

5. Graham cracker peanut butter balls. Mix one cup peanut butter, one cup powdered milk and one cup honey (it’s a bit sticky and gooey). Roll into small balls and then dip into crushed graham crackers. Refrigerate for several hours. Serve cold.

6. Sandwich wraps. Use tortillas and tear strips. Kids can take a piece of lunch meat and wrap it with one strip to make a wrap sandwich. You can add mayonnaise or mustard on top of the meat before you roll. We also love to wrap spinach dip.

7. Ritz cracker sandwiches. We have put everything imaginable on Ritz crackers. We’ve used cut up cheddar cheese cubes, cream cheese, peanut butter and even chocolate and vanilla frosting.

8. Deviled eggs. My kids both like hardboiled eggs. Just slice the egg, scoop out the yolk and add mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Then mix and scoop back in.

9. Pickle sandwich. Spread softened cream cheese onto a slice of either turkey or roast beef lunch meat. Wrap the meat around a pickle and chill. Cut into bit size pieces.

10. Orange Delight. Pour ½ cup of orange juice into a class. Add ½ cup orange sherbet. Pour in ¾ cup ginger ale or 7-Up. Mix and enjoy!

Audrey Okaneko is mom to two girls. She can be reached at or visited at

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By Renee Pottle

Rising food prices have sent many of us back to the kitchen to save money. And while there are many benefits of a home cooked meal, preparing dinner from scratch still takes valuable time from our busy schedules. But it can be easy to prepare simple entrees at home, saving you both time and money. So move beyond burgers and fries and fix one of these dishes tonight! All are easy to prepare and ready in about 30 minutes.

Soups: Soup is one of the easiest, most wholesome, well-received family meals. Unfortunately though, most canned soup offerings are high in salt and chemical preservatives and lack any distinguishable flavor. You can do better. Start with either low sodium broth or a combination of water and tomato juice. Don't worry about exact measurements - you can always add more water later if necessary. To the soup pot add; chopped or instant minced onion, cut up cooked meat or drained, canned beans, your favorite frozen vegetables, a handful of rice, barley or pasta, and dried herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, bay and/or marjoram for flavor. Simmer until heated through and the rice or pasta is cooked, 20-30 minutes. Just before serving add a splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar and season with freshly ground black pepper. To make a soup extra special, top with dumplings, serve over a slice of toasted French bread or serve in a purchased bread bowl. Cost: Deli soup $2.59, Homemade $1 per serving.

Stir Fries: Stir-fries are a great way to use up odds and ends of leftovers. Heat olive or peanut oil in a skillet. Quickly cook small pieces of chicken, beef or shrimp and add cut up vegetables like carrots, zucchini, broccoli, bell pepper and green beans. Make a simple but flavorful sauce by mixing together broth or water and orange or pineapple juice. Add a dash of cayenne pepper, your favorite herbs and a little cornstarch. Stir the mixture until the sauce thickens, adding more water if necessary. Serve over rice or noodles. Cost: Lunch counter rice bowl: $5.49, Homemade $2.50.

Casseroles: Mom was right. Casseroles are easy to prepare and money saving too! Start with cooked rice, pasta or millet. Use brown rice instead of white rice or pasta shells or ziti in place of spaghetti noodles for variety. Stir in cooked, chopped meat and your favorite vegetables. Peas, carrots and corn are especially good choices in casseroles as they maintain their flavor even when baked at high temperatures. Mix everything together with a thickened broth or a can of low-fat, low-sodium cream of celery soup. Add herbs for flavor. Top the casserole with dried bread or cracker crumbs and grated cheese and bake until hot and bubbly. Serve with a tart relish, chutney or dill pickles on the side for a complete meal. Cost: Food court baked ziti $3.49, Homemade $1.

Sandwiches: Traditionally considered lunch food, sandwiches are now a dinnertime favorite too. Keep whole-wheat sandwich rolls or pita bread in the cupboard to make your own Hoagies, Grinders or Italian sandwiches. Start with a flavorful mustard (Walla Walla Sweet Onion by AJ's Edible Arts and Seadog Beer Mustard by Raye's Mustards are good choices) and stuff with deli meat and cheese, prepared hummus, chicken, tuna or egg salad. Add slices of bell pepper, tomato, spinach, avocado, olives and pickles and top with a splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar. For an even heartier sandwich, add marinated artichoke hearts, pineapple chunks or grilled eggplant slices. Cost: Sandwich shop grinder $6. Homemade: $2.

Stick with simple meals and dinner will be ready in no time. Better yet, you'll save money and have a healthier family too!

Renee Pottle is a Home Economist and the author of I Want My Dinner Now! - Simple Meals for Busy Cooks and The Happy Lunchbox - 4 Weeks of Recipes and Menus. She can be reached thorough her web site:

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By Kathi Dameron

"Arrivederci Roma. Goodbye, goodbye to Rome."

The lyrics sang across my heartstrings as I climbed aboard the train and settled in for the three-hour journey.

As the clanging and puffing high-speed Eurail train rolled out of the station, I reached into my travel bag and pulled out the rustic country bread sandwich – the panino I had purchased earlier that morning from an irresistible display of authentic edible hearth-baked masterpieces.

It was a great adventure to be traveling across Italy by backpack and rail with dad’s blessing and dad’s financial backing. Even though many years have come and gone since that passage of time when the world stretched wide open with its panorama of possibilities, my memories are as fresh as if they had just been baked.

At the time, my dad’s third wife suggested to me that I should journal my experiences.
“Write some travel articles, dear, that you can later put into a book,” my high-achieving stepmother with her freshly inked PhD advised. But instead I gave her prophetic suggestion “the boot” and simply stepped into each day of my Italian adventure with gusto and verve, allowing the experiences to become forever pressed into the pages of my memory bank.

Like any traveler enthralled with a new destination, I reveled in the delight of discovery.
I learned that new culinary discoveries are often as memorable as the magnificent art and architecture of the places visited.

On that day my panino lunch, enjoyed during the stunning and scenic train trip to the great renaissance city of Florence, left a lasting impression on my idea of a great tasting picnic sandwich.

True Italian panini’s are expressions of simplicity, anchored in absolute freshness with perhaps occasional bursts of pungent, aromatic, fruity or creamy richness.

Having once savored a true panino, it is difficult to say arrivederci to this great tasting edible masterpiece of pure simplicity.

More Ideas from Kathi

If the splendid days of springtime beckon you outdoors why not create your own Tutto Italiano or “all things Italian” spring picnic? Whether you are into styling your own backyard trattoria or are more in the mood for an adventurous jaunt to some hideaway off-the-beaten-track with a picnic basket in one hand and the hand of a companion in the other, you are bound for an adventure that will satisfy more than your taste buds. My picnic menu begins with panini sandwiches, to which you might add:

A pesto-laced and garlic-infused antipasto pasta salad of rich jeweled morsels of sun-drenched tomatoes, ripe olives, creamy imported cheeses, al dente pasta and artichoke hearts bathed in fruity olive oil.
A basket of luscious strawberries, red grapes and figs.
A rapturous homemade tiramisu torte with just the right high-octane notes of java for a sweet edible finale.
Perhaps a few select Italian-flavored musical CD’s, a good bottle of Italian vino and perhaps someone wonderful with whom to create a new memory.

(c) Kathi Dameron, Kathi Dameron and Associates

My recipe for how to create a classic panino picnic sandwich is posted at

Kathi Dameron is a food writer and former caterer. She writes a regular newspaper column called: Entertaining with Kathi.

If you would like to read the Entertaining with Kathi column in your local newspaper or favorite magazine, you can perform a wonderful random act of kindness by sharing my writing with interested parties!

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