(Family Features) Save time and serve up better-for-you lunches, snacks, desserts and after-school energy boosts with these simple and affordable recipes.
By packing quick and easy lunches, you can have your kids set for each busy day without sacrificing time together. Shopping for your grade-A, back-to-school essentials at a store like ALDI means you’ll use quality ingredients to prepare fun, better-for-you lunchboxes and more.
Consider these eight recipe ideas to pack a better lunchbox. Get schooled in savings and check out aldi.us to find more back-to-school inspiration.
- Secret Veggie Turkey Nuggets – Sneak those all-important veggies into your child’s lunch with these baked nuggets that combine ground turkey, cauliflower, zucchini and onions. Add a favorite dipping sauce to the lunchbox for a tasty, nutritious midday meal.
- Bento Box Lunch – If your child is adventurous when it comes to flavors, combine a turkey sandwich roll, quinoa salad, broccoli salad and cinnamon apples in this full-flavored bento box.
- Fruit Leather Wraps – Snack time doesn’t have to mean candy and other unhealthy options. Instead, provide a sweet treat that’s all-natural with blueberries and raspberries in these fruity wraps that are both guilt- and gluten-free.
- Tropical Granola Bar – One of the most versatile snacks to enjoy nearly any time of day: granola bars. This homemade version combines dried fruit with pumpkin flax and quick oats for a sweet, nutritious treat.
- Peanut Butter Granola Bites – Make dessert a more nutritious venture with the classic combination of peanut butter, fruit and honey. These small bites of savory flavor can be ready in just 12 minutes for a nighttime snack the whole family can share.
- Strawberry Yogurt Bars – The nutritious combination of oats and strawberries makes for a tasty treat. This kid-friendly recipe is an easy option to make ahead and serve anytime.
- Tropical Superfruit Smoothie – It only takes six natural ingredients and five minutes to make a supercharged after-school snack.
- Carrot Pineapple Smoothie – Before diving into the evening’s homework assignments, help your little learner refuel with fruits and veggies in this creamy smoothie.
(Family Features) As a parent, instilling healthy eating habits in your children at an early age can aid in proper growth and development. Eating well goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy weight, increasing energy levels and improving moods while also reducing risk of obesity and other chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes later in life.
Set your children on a path to making lifelong nutritious choices with these tips:
Foster independence. Allowing your children to help with shopping and meal prep can aid in them taking ownership of what they’re eating. Start by divvying up easier tasks such as setting the table then work toward creating snacks and meals on their own. These Rainbow Fruit Parfaits are simple for kids to assemble – just set the ingredients out and let them layer – and can serve as a healthful on-the-go breakfast or after-school snack.
Offer balanced options. Children require balanced diets made up of all three major food groups, including fruits and vegetables, for proper development. Looking for the Produce for Kids logo next to nutritional, family-friendly items at the grocery store is an easy way to identify healthy food choices while also supporting local organizations that help children and families in need.
Be a role model. Typically, your children will follow your behaviors, which includes the types of foods they select at mealtimes. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables can help ensure your family is getting a complete range of nutrients. For example, a recipe like this Rainbow Buddha Bowl provides a combination of fresh and roasted vegetables that can be customized to meet your family’s tastes. Thinking about how many colors you eat in a day may inspire your kids to do the same, which can foster a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
To find more healthy meal inspiration, including more than 500 registered dietitian- and family-tested recipes, visit produceforkids.com.
Rainbow Fruit Parfaits
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 mandarins, peeled and segmented
- 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
- 2 kiwis, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup red seedless grapes
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- In parfait glasses, layer strawberries, mandarins, pineapple, kiwis, blueberries and grapes.
- Top each fruit parfait with yogurt.
Rainbow Buddha Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Jodi of Create Kids Club on behalf of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 30 minutes
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1/2 small purple cabbage, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup red cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 4 tablespoons yogurt ranch dressing
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Place sweet potatoes, broccoli and cabbage on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
- Divide cooked quinoa into four bowls. Top with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and avocado.
- Drizzle with dressing.
Source: Produce for Kids
(Family Features) Make it easy to stick to your resolutions by starting every morning with a breakfast with more protein. Did you know the average breakfast bowl or plate contains on average only 13 grams of protein, yet some nutrition experts recommend getting 20-30 grams at each meal?
Spreading out your protein throughout the day (rather than in one large amount) can help optimize how your body uses it. That means getting enough protein at breakfast! A breakfast with enough protein can help you feel fuller longer so you’re more likely to stick to your healthy eating routine. One easy way to get eight grams of high-quality protein is to add milk to your breakfast routine – whether in a cup, bowl and in your favorite recipe, an 8-ounce glass of milk contains 8 grams of high-quality protein!
Here are eight delicious breakfast ideas with protein to kick-start your new year.
Make your oatmeal with milk instead of water to add milk’s high-quality protein to your morning meal. This twist also adds the classic combo of bacon and eggs to shake up your morning routine – serving up a total of 25 grams of protein.
Need a quick breakfast for busy mornings? These grab-and-go mini casseroles have a few simple ingredients, like lowfat milk, spinach and cheddar cheese – with a ton of palate payoff. Pair two mini casseroles with a cup of milk for 24 grams of protein.
Apple-Cinnamon Whole-Grain Pancake Muffins
Try this yummy twist on your morning go-to pancakes filled with delicious apple slices and cinnamon and made with 100% whole-grain pancake batter. Pair with an 8-ounce glass of milk to add an extra 8 grams of protein to the meal, for a total of 13 grams.
These savory crepes made with milk and filled with veggies and Swiss cheese for a delicious way to kick-start your day with 23 grams of protein.
Breakfast takes a flavorful twist in this recipe that uses traditional Italian flavors of polenta and marinara to create a delicious dish. Pair with a glass of milk for 25 grams of protein.
Lowfat milk and avocados make this smoothie extra creamy for 7 grams of protein per serving, and it’s packed with spinach, pineapple and bananas so it’s a choice you can feel good about.
Spice up your morning meal by adding quinoa and blueberries. Pair this dish with a glass of milk for 21 grams of protein power to start your day!
Sweet potatoes, lowfat milk and chicken sausage combine in this tasty egg scramble to give you a protein boost to start your morning right. Add a cup of milk for 22 grams of protein.
Source: Milk Life
(Family Features) School is back in session, and so are hectic weeknights with little time to cook dinner. Instead of reaching for ready-made meals or takeout, serve up tasty one-pot dinners made with wholesome ingredients like spaghetti squash and quinoa. These seven kid-friendly recipes bring everything together in a single baking dish or skillet, so there's less prep and clean up, and more time for reconnecting around the dinner table.
Source: McCormick Spice
(Family Features) As the weather cools down and routines ramp up, parents know it becomes increasingly challenging to keep the whole family on track. While most people know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, many don’t realize that protein in the morning is key to starting the day off right.
A protein-rich breakfast including milk can help energize your morning. Plus, protein at breakfast can help you feel full and satisfied, so you won’t feel hungry by mid-morning, which helps the whole family tackle work, errands, school, extracurricular activities or whatever else the day has in store.
One easy way to increase your family’s protein intake at breakfast is to simply add a glass of milk. Each 8-ounce serving has nine essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality, natural protein. If mornings in your household are chaotic, plan ahead by making protein-rich breakfasts the night before that are easy to pair with milk, ensuring that the whole family can get out the door on time and fed in the morning.
“As a mom and a pediatrician, I’m focused on what I feed my kids each day,” said Dr. Jennifer Shu, pediatrician and author. “Milk is a simple, nutritious way to make sure they get high-quality protein at each meal, plus other nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and more.”
When thinking about the week ahead, consider tasty, protein-rich recipes the whole family will love that can be prepared in advance and eaten on the go – like these PB and J Protein Power Muffins. For more recipe ideas and morning inspiration, visit milklife.com/morningprotein.
PB and J Protein Power Muffins
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 3/4 cups milk, divided
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed according to package directions
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons creamy reduced-fat peanut butter
- 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
- Heat oven to 350°F and grease 12-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- In medium saucepan, stir together quinoa and 1 cup milk. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 10-15 minutes until quinoa is tender and milk is absorbed.
- In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt; whisk to combine. In medium bowl, combine remaining milk, Greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla and peanut butter; mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in cooked quinoa. Divide batter among muffin cups.
- Drop 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry preserves into center of each muffin tin on top of batter. Bake 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool 5-10 minutes. Serve with 8-ounce glass of milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 540 calories; 8 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 70 mg cholesterol; 25 g protein; 91 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 520 mg sodium; 517 mg calcium (50% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.
Leidy HJ, Lepping RJ, Savage CR, Harris CT, Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast-skipping teens: a pilot fMRI study. Obesity. 2011;19:2019-2025.
Leidy HJ,Bossingham MJ, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. British Journal of Nutrition. 2009;101:798-803.
(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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Nature's Nectar Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
- 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.
- To make Quinoa Salad: In medium bowl, combine quinoa, almonds, oranges, cranberries, green onions and olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To make Broccoli Salad: In medium bowl, combine broccoli, almonds, cranberries, soy sauce and yogurt; season to taste with pepper.
- To make Cinnamon Apples: Toss apples with lemon juice and cinnamon. Place in sandwich bags and wrap tightly.
- Organize equal amounts of “Sushi Rolls,” Quinoa Salad, Broccoli Salad and Cinnamon Apples in separate bento box compartments.
(Family Features) Eating a high-protein breakfast can help provide energy and focus to keep your day on track. While many experts now recommend 25-30 grams of protein at each meal, the average breakfast plate only contains 13 grams. One way to help close the gap is to add an 8-ounce glass of milk to your meal. Whether organic, flavored or white, each variety provides nine essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8 ounces to help start the day on the right foot.
Get ahead of the game and prep breakfast the night before so you have something delicious and satisfying to look forward to each morning. Now is the perfect time to update your routine with these powerhouse breakfast ideas. These recipes are all made and paired with milk, helping you get protein and nutrients you need to fuel your day.
Once you try these delicious recipes, you’ll never go back to your old, lackluster options again. For additional breakfast inspiration, visit milklife.com.
(Family Features) When it comes to cooking up creative meals for the family, finding inspiration for new flavors while maintaining nutrition is typically a primary goal.
One solution is incorporating more seafood into weekly meal planning, which offers nutritional benefits like protein, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, iron and selenium. In celebration of National Seafood Month, consider these tips from Bumble Bee to add more seafood to your family’s diet:
- Change the Protein. Try substituting seafood for the meat or poultry in meals like shrimp tacos, salmon burgers or tuna nachos.
- Boost Nutrients. If you enjoy classic tuna salad, consider swapping mayo with mashed avocado or Greek yogurt, and try flavorful options like this Chipotle Tuna and Avocado Salad Sandwich.
- Make it a Bowl. Personalize mealtime with creative bowls, like Quinoa Bowls with Tuna, using a whole-grain base layered with seafood, veggies and toppings like guacamole or teriyaki sauce.
Find more recipes to add seafood to the table at BumbleBee.com.
Chipotle Tuna and Avocado Salad Sandwich
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1 can (5 ounces) Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, drained and broken into chunks
- 1/2 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sweet corn, cooked or thawed from frozen
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 slices whole-grain bread
- In medium bowl, gently toss tuna and avocado until combined.
- Add tomatoes, corn and parsley, tossing gently to combine.
- In small bowl, whisk lemon juice, vinegar, honey, garlic, chili powder and salt. Drizzle over tuna mixture and toss to coat.
- Divide tuna evenly among bread slices to make two sandwiches.
Quinoa Bowl with Tuna
Recipe courtesy of Cookie Named Desire on behalf of Bumble Bee
Prep time: 45 minutes
Thai Peanut Dressing:
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water, divided, plus additional (optional)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 can (14 ounces) chickpeas
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 cup red cabbage
- 1 can (5 ounces) Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water
- 1-2 tablespoons onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- To make Thai Peanut Dressing: In mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, ginger paste, fish sauce, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.
- Add 1 tablespoon water and whisk well. Continue adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce is consistency of heavy cream.
- Note: You may not use full 1/4 cup water and could use more depending on preference of thickness.
- To make Quinoa Bowls: Heat oven to 400° F.
- In medium pot, heat water and quinoa. When it boils, turn heat to low and cover. Cook until water is absorbed and remove from heat.
- Drain and dry chickpeas. In bowl, combine chickpeas with olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Spread chickpeas on baking sheet; bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.
- Spiralize zucchini at medium thickness. Using potato peeler, slice carrot in thin strips. Chop red cabbage. Drain and chunk tuna.
- In two bowls, split cooked quinoa evenly. Top with carrots, zucchini, cabbage, roasted chickpeas onions and tuna.
- Season with lime juice, cilantro and Thai Peanut Dressing.
Source: Bumble Bee
(Family Features) When it comes to nutritious eating, finding and creating tasty yet healthy recipes is key for many people.
One delicious and nutritious ingredient to add to a variety of dishes: U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherries, which are abundant in anthocyanins – a natural compound that contributes to the ruby-red color, distinctive sweet-tart taste and is also behind the potential health benefits.
Consider these five ways to incorporate Montmorency tart cherries into your daily routine to help with sleep, inflammation, exercise recovery, heart health and gut health. Find more information and recipes at ChooseCherries.com.
Have that good gut-feeling:Gut health has been the focus of multiple studies in recent years to maintain digestive health. In a first-of-its-kind study published in the “Journal of Biochemistry,” Montmorency tart cherries helped positively impact the gut microbiome – a collection of trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in the intestinal tract. To help shape and maintain your gut health, add an 8-ounce serving of Montmorency tart cherry juice to your daily diet or try blending this Montmorency Tart Cherry Matcha Smoothie.
Catch more zzz’s:With more than 50 million adults in the U.S. suffering from sleep or wakefulness disorders, a natural and flavorful remedy may help. One study, published in the “American Journal of Therapeutics,” extended sleep time by 84 minutes after study participants consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice for two weeks. This Tart Cherry Moon Milk is one way to add tart cherry juice before bed.
Make workout gains, not pains:Muscle soreness and pain associated after a tough workout is no longer something to dread. A study from “Medicine in Science and Sports Exercise” showed a reduction in muscle damage after intensive strength training from participants who consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice in comparison to a placebo. Whip up some Tart Cherry Power Gummies for a snack to power up before or after workouts.
Help ease arthritis and gout:Many Americans seek natural ways to help manage pain that don’t evoke potential side effects. Research indicates that U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherries, like those found in this Tart Cherry Granola Smoothie Bowl, may help naturally reduce inflammation related to arthritis and gout.
Keep your heart on beat:Adding more fruits packed with heart-healthy compounds is a great way to help your heart keep beating at its best. Montmorency tart cherries are a natural heart-healthy fruit that may lower blood pressure, reduce risk of stroke and decrease cholesterol levels. Incorporate them in a lunch like this Kale Quinoa Montmorency Tart Cherry Salad.
Source: Cherry Marketing Institute
Start the year off right with wholesome, nutritious morning recipes
(Family Features) With each New Year comes new goals and resolutions for the entire family. It’s the perfect time to start fresh and get everyone back on track with healthy nutrition. Starting each day with a nutritious breakfast is one way to do just that, not to mention a healthy habit to maintain throughout the year.
By incorporating simple, wholesome ingredients like milk into a balanced breakfast each morning, you can feel good knowing your family is starting the day on the right foot. With nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, calcium and vitamin D, pairing milk with breakfast can help everyone be their best.
Try these seven breakfast recipes paired with milk, one for each day of the week, to fuel all kinds of mornings throughout the New Year. Visit MilkLife.com for additional recipe inspiration.
Add Southwestern flavors to spice up this breakfast sandwich. Scrambled eggs seasoned with cumin, pepper and chili powder are topped with shredded cheese, ham and sliced avocados and placed inside a toasted English muffin for a twist on a classic breakfast favorite.
When you’re in a rush on weekday mornings but still want a wholesome breakfast while on the go, try these protein muffins with peanut butter and jelly. This simple recipe is a kid-friendly way to serve a childhood favorite and start the day with a smile.
While cottage cheese is not a traditional ingredient in pancakes, these pancakes definitely make it work. By combining blended cottage cheese with rolled oats, this dish adds protein and fiber at breakfast without skimping on taste.
How about a modern take on an ancient grain? This breakfast bowl with quinoa is a delicious and nutritious way to start your day. Chai spices combined with brown sugar, vanilla and milk add vibrant flavors sure to excite your taste buds.
This tasty twist on eggs brings a Southwestern flair to breakfast with avocados and turkey sausage piled high on a tortilla to spice up your morning.
This mini quiche recipe makes serving up protein at breakfast a snap. Use a muffin tin to create individual sausage quiches that are perfect for a make-ahead, grab-and-go breakfast.
Lock down your week’s breakfast plan with these savory crepes the entire family will enjoy. Cream cheese with chives mixed in topped with smoked salmon and wrapped inside a warm crepe winds up being a delicious morning jump-start.