Meal Ideas 19 July 2019

Power-Packed Lunchbox Ideas

(Family Features) Packing and prepping wholesome lunches doesn't have to be a chore. You can kick health into high gear this school year with new ideas to make creative, nutrient-rich meals.

Fit to satisfy various dietary restrictions, the Power Your Lunchbox program offers kid-friendly options and allergy-sensitive selections. The program, which is dedicated to helping families make healthier lunches during the school year, features more than 80 registered dietitian-approved, family-tested meal ideas with produce as a focal point.

Consider skipping the typical sandwich, chips and apple. Instead, it only takes a few minutes to embark on a creative approach to lunch. Get the kids involved by having them use small cookie cutters to make fresh fruits and vegetables into fun shapes. Try complementing the produce with wraps or soups to add extra excitement to typical lunchbox fare.

Regardless if your child is a picky eater or is on the more adventurous side, bento box lunches such as Chinese Mandarin Pasta Salad Bento Box and Turkey Taco Salad Bento Box can prove to be satisfying, power-packed meals.

For more lunchbox inspiration, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.

Chinese Mandarin Pasta Salad Bento Box

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 16 ounces rotini pasta
  • 6 mini sweet peppers, sliced
  • 3 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 cup sesame ginger dressing
  • 1/4 cup chow mein noodles
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup steamed edamame
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. In large bowl, mix pasta, peppers, oranges, green onions, spinach, carrots and dressing. Toss to coat well. Top with chow mein noodles.
  3. Place in lunchbox with kiwi and edamame.

Turkey Taco Salad Bento Box

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup cooked turkey meat, seasoned with taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheese
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons guacamole
  • 1 ounce tortilla chips
  1. Assemble taco salad with lettuce, taco meat, cheese and tomatoes.
  2. Place in lunchbox with guacamole and chips.

Source: Produce for Kids

Meal Ideas 19 July 2019

3 Tips to Add Some Love to the Lunchbox

(Family Features) The school year can be an exciting time for parents and children alike. However, between getting ready and rushing to get out the door, making a nutritious and delicious lunch can sometimes fall by the wayside.

Whether preparing meals the night before or using quick and easy ingredients to help cut back on prep time, make the most of your kids' lunches and add a little personalized touch to give them comfort as they transition back to school.

Try these tips, tricks and ideas to help you put a smile on your children's faces and give you some peace of mind during the busy back-to-school season.

Prepare the Night Before
School mornings can get hectic. Recipes like these Spinach Ham Rollups or Ham Sandwich and Veggie Bento Box are perfect, nutritious meals to prepare the evening before, allowing you to spend more time with your little ones before they leave for school.

Incorporate Easy-to-Use Ingredients
When you're crunched for time, hardly anything can beat an easy-to-make lunch. Keeping high-quality, flavorful and versatile ingredients on-hand like Farmer John Sliced Ham or Turkey can help you make something different each day and pack your way to a better lunchbox in a matter of minutes.

Add a Handwritten Note
With everyone in the family juggling activities and busy schedules during the school year, a heartfelt message can be a nice surprise. A short message wishing your children a good day, or a simple note of love and appreciation can give them a piece of home while they're away.

For more quick, easy recipes for back-to-school season and beyond, visit farmerjohn.com.

Spinach Ham Rollups

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1 container (8 ounces) chive and onion cream cheese spread
  • 6 spinach tortillas
  • 1 package Farmer John Black Forest Ham
  • 12 leaves lettuce
  • 12 thin tomato slices
  1. Spread cream cheese on each tortilla.
  2. Layer two lettuce leaves, two tomato slices and two ham slices on each tortilla.
  3. Roll tortillas; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until serving time.
  4. When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap. Cut each rollup into four servings.

Ham Sandwich and Veggie Bento Box

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 3 slices Farmer John Classic Cooked Ham
  • 1 slice cheese
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup grapes
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 3 strawberries
  1. Layer ham and cheese on bottom bread slice to assemble sandwich.
  2. Use cookie cutter or knife to cut sandwich into desired shape. Place sandwich in larger section of bento box.
  3. Add carrots, grapes, blueberries and strawberries to remaining spaces in bento box.

Source: Farmer John

Kids 01 August 2018

Make the Grade with Back-to-School Lunches

(Family Features) Back-to-school time means it’s back to being busy before, during and after school, so it’s time for parents and kids to create new routines. From early wakeup calls to shuttling kids to school and activities, ease the morning mayhem by incorporating a simple meal-planning strategy.

As a parent, look for fresh, make-ahead options your kids will enjoy. Serve up lunchbox love by mixing up the classic sandwich with a spin on sushi in this Bento Box Lunch recipe. It’s a creative way to deliver nutritious, wholesome ingredients that will make the whole lunchroom drool. Plus, it’s something you can take for lunch too.

No matter what meals you’re prepping, a store like ALDI can be your solution for packing tasty and better-for-you choices for lunches and on-the-go snacks. With high-quality ingredients at affordable prices, ALDI offers what you need to get ready for the days ahead.

For more recipes and meal prepping ideas, visit aldi.us.

Bento Box Lunch

Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Sushi Roll”:

  • 4          slices SimplyNature Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted Low Sodium 7 Grain Bread
  • 4          slices Lunch Mate Never Any! Turkey
  • 1          teaspoon Burman's Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2       avocado, sliced
  • 1          mini cucumber, cut into 3-inch-by-1/4-inch sticks

Quinoa Salad:

  • 1 cup SimplyNature Organic Quinoa, cooked
  • 1/4       cup Southern Grove Sliced Almonds
  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and separated
  • 1/4       cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
  • 1 bunches green onions, sliced
  • 1          teaspoon Carlini Pure Olive Oil
  • Stonemill Iodized Salt, to taste
  • Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Broccoli Salad:

  • 1          large head broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4       cup Southern Grove Sliced Almonds
  • 1/4       cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
  • 1          teaspoon Fusia Soy Sauce
  • 1/2       cup Friendly Farms Vanilla Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Cinnamon Apples:

  • 1          Granny Smith apple, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon Nature's Nectar Lemon Juice
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Ground Cinnamon

 

  1. To make “Sushi Roll”: Trim crust from bread. Using rolling pin, roll out bread slices to 1/8-inch thickness. Top with turkey, mustard, avocado and cucumber. Roll into cylinder, wrap with plastic wrap and cut in half.
  2. To make Quinoa Salad: In medium bowl, combine quinoa, almonds, oranges, cranberries, green onions and olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. To make Broccoli Salad: In medium bowl, combine broccoli, almonds, cranberries, soy sauce and yogurt; season to taste with pepper.
  4. To make Cinnamon Apples: Toss apples with lemon juice and cinnamon. Place in sandwich bags and wrap tightly.
  5. Organize equal amounts of “Sushi Rolls,” Quinoa Salad, Broccoli Salad and Cinnamon Apples in separate bento box compartments.

Source: ALDI

Kids 03 September 2018

Pack a Healthier Lunchbox this School Year

(Family Features) When school is in session, it's the perfect time to renew your family's healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing.

While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn't have to be. By taking the free Power Your Lunchbox Promise, you can gain access to customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes, which creatively include servings of fruits and veggies to keep kids' brains charged all day.

Making the promise not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices this year, it also helps those in need. For every promise made, health-focused partner brands will collectively donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. In addition to kid- and registered dietitian-approved breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, the promise website features coupons, health tips to help your family during the school year, lunchbox ideas and giveaways.

Additionally, teachers have a special section of the site where they can make the promise as a classroom and download free fruit and veggie themed classroom decor and lesson plans.

To find your lunchbox inspiration and make the promise, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.

Rainbow Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 2 red mini sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 mandarin, peeled and segmented
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1 large spinach wrap
  • 1 tablespoon hummus
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 ounces low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
  1. Assemble two lunchboxes each with half of the peppers, mandarin, kiwi, snap peas, blueberries and grapes.
  2. Lay wrap on flat surface. Spread with hummus and top with cheese, turkey and spinach. Roll up tightly and slice into 1-inch thick rounds. Add half to each lunchbox.

Black Bean Empanadas

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings 6

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 mini sweet peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 12 frozen empanada discs, thawed
  • 3/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • 6 guacamole minis
  • 6 packages crispy fruit
  1. In skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add peppers, onions and tomatoes. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add black beans and taco seasoning. Cook 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat oven to 375 F.
  3. Lay empanada dough out on parchment-lined baking sheet. Fill with black bean filling and 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold dough over filling to create pocket. Use fork to press down sides to seal. Brush with egg whites. Repeat with remaining dough, filling, cheese and egg whites.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Serve two empanadas with guacamole, for dipping, and crispy fruit on side.

Source: Produce for Kids

Healthy 05 February 2019

New Year, New Family Habits: Simple ideas to make healthy eating easier

(Family Features) When your family is transitioning back into a regular routine in the new year, it’s the perfect time to recommit to healthy eating habits throughout the day. Getting the whole family on board may be easier than you think – just keep the focus on flavor and fun.

If you’re short on ideas to jumpstart better family eating, try these tips:

Keep it simple. Busy families often rely on the convenience of boxed meals, but you can get the same easy, delicious meal in a much healthier way. Everything cooks in one pot for easy clean-up, and this Cheeseburger Mac recipe swaps ground beef for leaner ground turkey. Not only is this an easy weeknight dinner, but leftovers can be packed in a thermos for lunch on chilly days.

Have fun. Try using creative shapes, textures and colors to make mealtime and lunchboxes more fun. Use cookies cutters to easily create butterflies, flowers, dinosaurs and more. Allow your kids to get involved in packing their own lunchboxes or helping with a meal. If your kids have a love of space or are learning about it in school, this bento box is definitely out of this world. Grapes create the dark backdrop while Swiss cheese is the perfect place for a moon landing. Clementine crescent moons and mini sweet pepper planet rings round out the meal.

Make a family promise. To keep the momentum going, rely on a resource like the Power Your Lunchbox Promise website, which offers everything from healthy lunchbox ideas to after-school snacks and dinners. All meal ideas have been approved by a registered dietitian, meet USDA guidelines and are kid-friendly. What’s more, for every Power Your Lunchbox Promise made on the website, health-conscious companies supporting the initiative will make a $1 donation to Feeding America's programs that support families and children. Learn more at poweryourlunchbox.com.

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Cheeseburger Mac

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1          pound lean ground turkey
  • 1          small onion, finely chopped
  • 1          cup mini sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons paprika
  • 1          teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2    cups water
  • 1          cup milk
  • 3          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2    cups whole-grain dry macaroni
  • 1          cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  1. In large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil. Add turkey, onion and peppers. Cook 7-10 minutes, or until turkey is cooked through.
  2. In small bowl, mix paprika, sugar, salt and chili powder. Add to turkey and stir. Add water, milk, tomato paste and pasta. Mix well. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and top with cheese.

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Space Exploration Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1/2       cup red seedless grapes
  • 1          whole-wheat sandwich round
  • 2          slices low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
  • 1          slice Swiss cheese
  • 1/2       slice low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1          clementine, peeled and segmented
  • 3          mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings
  • 1          package freeze-dried fruit
  1. Add grapes to bottom of large section of bento box to create space background. Place bottom of sandwich round on top, add turkey and sandwich round top.
  2. Lay Swiss cheese on cutting board. Using small bowl or other round object, cut into circle. Place on top of sandwich to create moon.
  3. Lay cheddar cheese on cutting board. Using small star cookie cutter, cut out stars. Add to space around moon.
  4. Pair with clementine “crescent moons,” pepper “planet rings” and freeze-dried fruit.

Source: Produce for Kids

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