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As a kid, summer break was the pinnacle of my year. My cousins would come to visit and we would spend days on end in the pool. To keep us fed (and occupied), my mom would put out a big plastic tray filled with PB&Js, cheese and crackers, and fresh fruit galore. Between snack fuel and the cold water, we could spend the whole day in the sun.

All these years later, eating fruit while sitting near the water is still a summer necessity for me. It may look a little different these days – with a newborn in my lap and my feet in a tiny toddler pool. But I’m still snacking on all the beautiful, juicy fruit I can get before autumn rolls around.

Thankfully, my toddler loves fruit too. His first “favorite food” was grapes, and he will gladly eat a whole pint of fresh berries in one sitting. But, like most parents, I’ve struggled to get him to eat a larger variety of foods.

If that’s you, think of this back-to-school season as a mini culinary adventure. Use your child’s favorite foods as a foundation for introducing new ones. For us, that means utilizing things like fruit and cheese in order to get more quality meat in my son’s diet.

Back-to-school may mark the end of pool days and family vacations, but we can still pack our lunchboxes with the freshness around us.

COLBY-JACK CHICKEN QUESADILLAS + STRAWBERRY MANGO SALSA
Makes enough for 4 lunches!

INGREDIENTS:
For the quesadillas:
 1 medium chicken breast
 sea salt
 1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
 4 medium-sized tortillas
 1 Hass avocado

For the strawberry mango salsa:
 1 mango, diced
 1.5 cups diced strawberries
 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
 2 tbsp diced onion (yellow or red)
 1 lime
 1/4 tsp sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Trim any fat or tendons off the chicken breast and season with sea salt. Cook the chicken on the stove over medium heat for 8 minutes. Flip, and cover the pan with a lid. Continue cooking for 8 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Set aside to cool.

2. Make your salsa! Wash and dry the berries thoroughly before dicing them up.
Mix together the diced mango and strawberries, chopped cilantro leaves,
juice of 1/2 a lime, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado and
season with sea salt and a squeeze of lime.

3. Dice the cooled chicken into small pieces. Spread ¼ of the mashed avocado on a tortilla. Place the tortilla in a pan over medium heat. Sprinkle ¼ cup of shredded cheese over the entire tortilla. Add ¼ of the chopped chicken, keeping it to one-half of the tortilla. Fold over the other side and press down with a spatula to keep everything together. Cook the quesadilla until the tortillas are golden on both sides and the cheese is melty. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

4. Cut your quesadillas into triangles. Serve each with a side of that beautiful strawberry mango salsa!

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