(Family Features) School day mornings are typically busy mornings. Getting the kids out of bed is one thing, but managing to whip up breakfast, pack lunches and get everyone out the door on time requires planning and preparation.
As the morning rushes by, there's little time to pack a unique lunch or make snacks for everyone, including mom. In fact, according to a national survey commissioned by DOLE® and conducted by Wakefield Research, 73 percent of moms say they have eaten their child's snack in a pinch.
To help save time and energy each day, check out these simple lunch-packing tips to revamp your morning routine and help create a smooth and stress-free school year.
Camouflage healthy snacks. While you may want to pack everyone a healthy snack, the kids aren't always excited to find an apple in their lunchbox. Try a wholesome snack they won't want to trade. DOLE Real Fruit Bites are made from real dried fruit, coated with yogurt and sprinkled with toasted whole grain oats. A single-serving pouch has 80 to 90 calories, no trans fat and are a good source of vitamin C. You can also find sneaky snack recipes online for treats baked up with healthy ingredients, like snack bars made with nuts and seeds, or brownies with pureed veggies in the mix. The kids will never know it's good for them.
Leverage last night's leftovers. Don't stick to the same old sandwich, juice box and snack regimen. Try adding instant rice to leftover chicken, transforming leftover steak into a hearty chili, or boiling some pasta to add to leftover hamburger meat. These simple tricks to repurposing yesterday's meal will save the family time and money this school year.
Share a smile. Lunch doesn't have to be elaborate every day. But there are plenty of fun, creative ways to make a simple lunch exciting, especially for the kids. For instance, cut sandwiches into different shapes with cookie cutters (you can find animal shapes and even puzzle-shaped cookie cutters online). Make the kids smile with a simple note or googly eyes on their sandwich wrapper. Try putting contact paper inside the lid for games or dry-erase notes that the kids can leave for you, too.
Keep it cool. There are plenty of ways to preserve your lunch so it's still tasty in the afternoon. Think outside the thermos and try freezing a yogurt cup or a juice box to keep lunches cold throughout the day.
Snack attack. With an on-the-go lifestyle, it's important to keep snacks on hand should hunger strike. In fact, according to the DOLE survey, 77 percent of women say they can't get through a normal day without a snack. After you pack up the family's lunches in the morning, be sure to grab some healthy snacks for your desk drawer or your purse so you can have a quick bite when necessary. The kids always need a pick-me-up after their school sports and activities, so make sure to have some fun snacks in the car.
For more snacking tips and ideas, visit www.DOLE.com.
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