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Ask A Bay Area Expert: School Lunches To Prepare In 10 Minutes Or Less

Chef Adriana Almazan Lahl is also a teacher and co-author of "Celebraciones Mexicanas: History, Traditions and Recipes," published in 2013 and first-place winner of the 2013 San Francisco "Mole to Die For" contest. Chef Adriana is a San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) After School Program recipe developer, a Sunset Elementary After School Program Cooking Club teacher, and the mother of a beautiful 9-year-old girl.

Chef Adriana Almazan Lahl and her book published in 2013

Chef Adriana Almazan Lahl
Sal De Vida Gourmet
(415) 682-4313

Chef Adriana is from Mexico City, where her family encouraged her lifelong passion for food and flavors. She developed and polished her culinary skills in Mexico, San Francisco, Saint Helena, and at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. Chef Adriana's culinary journey led her, along with the help of La Cocina Incubator Kitchen, to create SAL DE VIDA Gourmet, a package food and catering company in San Francisco, California. As a passionate advocate for children's nutrition and well-being, Chef Adriana aims to expand children's taste buds by encouraging them to try new flavors. She commits her students to help with duties at home including, cooking, setting the table for a meal, and clearing the table after meals. She instructs her students at the Sunset Elementary After School Cooking Club, "You don't have to eat the entire meal, but you have to try it," often with positive results. "By the third time they would try an ingredient they were unfamiliar with or simply not accepting, and they became more receptive to including in it in their diet, and frequently, they liked it," she said.

Chef Adriana offers three suggestions for easy and healthy lunches that kids like to eat. "Hope you enjoy," she adds.

Breadless Sandwich On A Stick (Lunch Skewers)
•  3 (6-inch) skewers
•  3 slices of deli turkey, ham or chicken breast cut in squares
•  2-3 leaves of lettuce cut the same sizes as deli meat
•  4 small cubes of Colby jack cheese, or mozzarella cheese (same size as deli meat)
•  4 grape tomatoes
•  4 slices small dill pickles or cubed cucumbers
•  3/4 cup ranch dressing (serve separately on a small container)


Soak skewers in water while you get ingredients ready. Thread skewers alternating deli meats, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and pickles. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping or dressing of your choice.

Cold Burritos
• 3 tablespoons of pinto beans (you can use canned beans, drained)
• ¼ cup chopped chicken
• 2 tablespoons shredded cheese
• Salsa Verde or salsa of your choice
• 1 burrito-size flour tortilla
•  Lettuce


In a mixing bowl combine the beans, chicken, cheese, and salsa. Warm the tortilla lightly to make it pliable, Lay out the tortilla on a flat surface and place mixture in a line across the bottom third of the tortilla, and then add the lettuce. Roll up the tortilla, tucking in the sides as you go. The burrito can be wrapped in foil to keep its shape.

Tortilla Wraps:
• 1 portion Laughing Cow cheese, flavor of your choice
• Spinach or lettuce leaves
• Slices of Deli Turkey meat
• 2 slices provolone cheese
• 1/4 sliced avocado
• 4 strips red bell pepper
• 1 large Flour Tortilla


Place flat tortilla on the counter and spread cheese evenly, layering the cheese, spinach, deli turkey, provolone cheese, sliced avocado, and four strips of red bell pepper. Roll the wrap and cut in half.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes on adult education, art and culture, business, and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a part of the Bay Area independent film making community. Her work can be found at


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