To kids, birthday parties are a big deal and only happen once a year. From the decorations to their friends and all the sweet, delicious treats to devour, it can be an overwhelming amount of excitement and awe.
They receive gifts, get to have fun with their friends and family, and get to snack on treats they typically don’t have on a regular basis. This is part of what makes birthdays so fun.
It can be a lot of pressure for parents, though. You want everything to be perfect and fall in line with expectations, especially when it comes to the food and treats served to everyone that day.
At the next party you’re hosting, try this delightful Fruity Sprinkles Smoothie that fits the theme for nearly any colorful birthday bash.
It’s made with frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries and frozen mango for a healthier alternative to sugar-filled birthday cake. Topped with fluffy, fun whipped cream and mini sprinkles, it still provides a sweet, festive treat. Plus, this smoothie can be made in a matter of minutes using only one kitchen appliance for easy clean up.
To make it, blend frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, frozen mango, milk and yogurt until well combined.
Pour the mixture into four smoothie glasses and garnish each with whipped cream and sprinkles to add some extra color. It’s that easy to make and even better to enjoy while watching your kid make wonderful memories with friends and family.
Find more fun celebration recipes at Culinary.net.
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Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Fruity Sprinkles Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 2 cups frozen strawberries
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 carton (6 ounces) vanilla yogurt
- whipped cream
- In blender, blend blueberries, strawberries, mango, milk and yogurt until combined.
- Pour smoothie into four glasses. Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles.
It’s that time of year again when nearly everyone wants to be outside all day, every day. These are the times kids have been waiting for all year long.
The sun is shining bright in the sky, the flowers are blooming and the temperature is rising every minute. Spring and summer are typically full of fun, laughter, family and friends – not to mention great recipes everyone can enjoy indoors and outdoors throughout the warmer months.
Try this Sunshine Smoothie for something cool and refreshing during the sunny seasons. This recipe will have nearly everyone feeling reenergized and ready for more warm weather. It’s a perfect afternoon pick-me-up after a long day of yard work, sunbathing or swing-set climbing. It can cool you down and has a fruity flavor that is almost irresistible.
When thinking about recipes to try this spring, consider taking advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables at grocery stores and farmer’s markets. There can be so many wonderful flavors to try. For example, this recipe includes grapefruit (a less commonly used fruit), fresh orange and ripe bananas.
With the heat coming and fresh ingredients available, this smoothie may quickly become one of your family’s new favorites. It’s light, smooth and has that fresh fruit taste you often crave when the sun is blazing.
To make this recipe, blend 2 cups of grape juice, 2 cups of orange juice, two ripe bananas, 1 cup of vanilla yogurt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until the ingredients are smooth. Be sure to serve cold.
It’ll be nearly impossible to resist a sweet, bright and creamy smoothie after a long day of play out in the sun.
Find more seasonal recipes and ideas at Culinary.net.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
- 2 cups orange juice
- 2 cups grapefruit juice
- 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In blender, blend orange juice, grapefruit juice, banana chunks, yogurt and vanilla extract until smooth. Serve immediately.
Note: If smoothie is too tart, reduce to 1 cup grapefruit juice.
(Family Features) Committing to a daily wellness routine may include many components from eating healthy and exercising to meditating and achieving quality sleep. For some, the most difficult of these goals is changing eating habits to consume more nutritious foods.
However, rethinking the way you eat (and drink) doesn’t have to mean a colossal shift in your diet. According to Healthline, clean eating and the addition of a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your daily routine can help support healthy digestion, weight range maintenance, healthy glucose levels and a functioning immune system. In fact, some experts recommend consuming 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar each day as a shot or part of a recipe.
Consider an apple cider vinegar option from Marukan, which has brewed premium vinegars for 370 years, to create dishes from breakfast to dinner. Start your day by enjoying this Blueberry Apple Cider Vinegar Smoothie that takes just 5 minutes to make so it doesn’t throw off your morning routine.
A quick, nutritious and easy weeknight dinner is what many families strive for, and you can accomplish that feat with Apple Cider Vinegar Beef and Broccoli. Cooked broccoli florets and beef strips are combined with an apple cider vinegar and ponzu soy dressing-based sauce and served over cooked rice for a 20-minute meal your loved ones can savor together while simultaneously enhancing your nutrition.
These recipes can help you participate in the Marukan Apple Cider Vinegar 24-Day Challenge, which encourages entrants to consume 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar each day and share the benefits they experience while creating daily wellness habits on their journeys to healthier routines.
Find more information about participating in the challenge along with nutritious recipes at MarukanACV.com.
Blueberry Apple Cider Vinegar Smoothie
Total time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons Marukan Organic Apple Cider & Rice Vinegar Drink Blend
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1/2 cup bananas, frozen
- 1/2 cup blueberries, frozen
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1/2 cup almond milk yogurt, plain
- fresh blueberries, for garnish
- In blender, blend spinach, water, organic apple cider, almond butter, frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger and yogurt until smooth. Pour into two glasses and garnish with fresh blueberries.
Apple Cider Vinegar Beef and Broccoli
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- 1 pound beef strips
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Marukan Ponzu Premium Soy Dressing with Sudachi Citrus
- 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons Marukan Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- cooked rice
- sliced green onions, for garnish
- cilantro, for garnish
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- In skillet over medium heat, heat vegetable oil. Cook broccoli 3 minutes until slightly softened; set aside. Add beef to pan and cook 3 minutes until browned. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant.
- In bowl, mix ponzu soy dressing, beef broth, sesame oil, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar and cornstarch. Add sauce mixture to beef in skillet and cook 10 minutes until sauce mixture cooks down. Toss in broccoli and cook 2 minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions, cilantro and sesame seeds.
Source: Marukan Apple Cider Vinegar
(Family Features) Whether you live on your own or are a busy parent, cooking at home can help ensure you're eating fresh, wholesome meals. Regardless of your abilities in the kitchen, creating simple dishes featuring fresh produce and good-for-you sources of protein can not only benefit your health, but also increase the amount of quality time spent with loved ones around the family table.
The thought of cooking lamb at home can be intimidating for some, however, New Zealand grass-fed lamb steaks like those from Silver Fern Farms can be prepared the same way you would grass-fed beef. With no added growth hormones or antibiotics, the natural, minimally processed cuts of lamb are a nutrient-dense source of protein, iron and zinc, and packed with vitamins and minerals. Plus, grass-fed lamb from New Zealand is a lean, finely textured and flavorful meat, well-suited for a variety of dishes.
For example, these New Zealand Grass-Fed Lamb Steaks with Yogurt and Cilantro Marinade are served over a bed of couscous and marinated in a mixture of lemon, garlic, cumin, cilantro and yogurt. Because the natural cuts of meat are hand-selected to deliver a quality eating experience, they are easy to prepare and can be put on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Find more information, cooking tips and recipes at beefandlambnz.com.
Recipe courtesy of Silver Fern Farms on behalf of Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 Silver Fern Farms 100% New Zealand Grass-Fed Lamb Steaks (4 ounces each)
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon, zest and juice only
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup natural yogurt
- 1 prepared vegetable couscous
- crumbled feta cheese
- To prepare lamb: Season lamb steaks with salt and pepper, to taste.
- To make marinade: In resealable bag or mixing bowl, combine lemon zest and juice, garlic, cumin, cilantro and yogurt.
- Using pastry brush or spoon, coat lamb steaks with marinade and let rest 15 minutes.
- Wipe excess marinade from lamb steaks. Reserve remaining marinade in bag.
- On grill warmed to high heat or skillet over medium-high heat, cook lamb steaks approximately 3-4 minutes on the first sides for medium-rare steaks then flip to cook other sides for 3-4 minutes.
- Once lamb steaks are cooked to desired doneness, transfer to cutting board or plate, cover with tinfoil and let rest 5 minutes.
- Slice lamb steaks across grain and serve over vegetable couscous.
- Drizzle with remaining marinade, if desired, and garnish with crumbled feta cheese.
Source: Beef + Lamb New Zealand
(Family Features) Freshen up family dinners by adding new ingredients like pecans, with natural richness and subtle sweetness coupled with irresistible crunch.
Kitchen staples are being used to add twists to traditional dishes, so finding an item you can use to mix up classic family recipes is key. Pecans pack flavor, texture and nutrition all in one bite, and they have a long shelf life. Shelled pecans can be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator for about nine months and for up to two years in sealed plastic bags in the freezer.
While pecans are beloved in classic desserts, like pecan pie, they also offer a variety of nutrition benefits that can be added to nearly any meal. They are among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats, contain 3 grams of plant protein per serving and are a source of fiber, flavonoids and minerals like manganese, which is essential for metabolism and bone health.
Nearly two decades of research document the heart-health benefits of pecans. In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) has 18 grams of unsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat.
Add crunch to this Chinese Chicken Salad with Pecans by swapping out croutons, use chopped pecans as a flavorful and nutrient-dense coating for Pecan Chicken Meatballs and bake this Pecan Banana Bread as a nutritious and kid-friendly breakfast or snack to fill your home with a delicious scent.
Pecan Chicken Meatballs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 9 meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/4 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh pecan pieces, divided
- Heat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large bowl, mix ground chicken, spinach, lemon juice, egg, garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne (if desired) and 1/2 cup pecans until well combined.
- Roll chicken mixture into 1 tablespoon- sized meatballs.
- Place reserved pecans in bowl. Roll meatballs in pecans to coat then place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake 20-30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve warm with sauces for dipping or over pasta.
Chinese Chicken Salad with Pecans
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup pecan butter
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons warm water, plus additional as needed (optional)
- 4 ounces dried thin rice noodles
- cold water
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
- 1/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup crispy wontons
- 1 cup mandarin oranges
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken breast, chopped
- To make dressing: In medium bowl, whisk pecan butter, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil and soy sauce until smooth.
- Add 2 tablespoons warm water and whisk until incorporated. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if desired, until dressing reaches pourable consistency.
- To make salad: Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and transfer to bowl with cold water to keep from sticking.
- In large bowl, toss romaine and iceberg lettuces, pecans, scallions, bean sprouts, crispy wontons, mandarin oranges and sesame seeds.
- Divide salad among four plates; top each with 1/2 cup chicken and serve with dressing.
Pecan Banana Bread
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
- 10 ounces gluten-free baking flour mix
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 flax eggs
- 1 cup organic brown or coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup vegan yogurt
- 3/4 cup mashed bananas, ripe
- 1 cup raw pecan pieces, chopped, plus additional for topping
- Heat oven to 350° F. Prepare 9-by-5-inch banana bread pan.
- In medium bowl, sift flour mix, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt; whisk to combine.
- In mixer bowl, mix eggs, sugar and coconut oil 2 minutes on medium-low speed.
- Scrape vanilla bean and add to mixture. Add vegan yogurt and mashed bananas; mix 2 minutes on medium-low speed.
- Remove bowl from mixer and fold 1 cup raw pecan pieces into batter until evenly distributed.
- Add batter to banana bread pan and use spatula to smooth down top. Sprinkle additional pecan pieces on top.
- Bake banana bread on top rack 60 minutes until toothpick comes out with few crumbs but not completely clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes in pan. Hold sides of pan and flip onto wire rack.
- Allow bread to cool completely. Slice as desired.
Source: American Pecan Council
(Family Features) An innovative sushi-style concept, “beefshi” features convenient beef products like pastrami, roast beef, summer sausage, hot dogs, corned beef or bologna prepared in rolls with rice and vegetables. You can beef up your menu with a trendy twist with a recipe like this Beefy Cali Roll that includes corned beef, avocado and cucumber.
Find more information and recipes at beefshi.com.
Beefy Cali Roll
Recipe courtesy of the North American Meat Institute on behalf of the Beef Checkoff
Yield: 2 rolls (16 pieces)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 1/2 avocado, mashed until smooth
- 2 sheets nori
- 2 cups prepared sushi rice
- 6 thin slices corned beef
- 1/2 avocado, cut into slivers
- 1/4 cucumber, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- rice seasoning
- wasabi peas
- To make hand vinegar: In small bowl, stir water and rice vinegar.
- To make piquant sauce: In small bowl, blend yogurt, mustard, horseradish and avocado.
- To make maki: Lay sushi mat on clean surface. Moisten hands with hand vinegar and shake off excess. Place one nori sheet on mat, shiny-side down. Spread 1 cup rice across nori, leaving 1 inch empty at farthest end.
- Lay half of corned beef, avocado and cucumber crosswise along rice, covering half the surface closest to you.
- Securing corned beef, avocado and cucumber with fingers, use thumbs to push end of mat up and over filling until edge of the nori meets rice on opposite side. Press firmly on roll.
- Lift top of mat and roll firmly until tight and round. Squeeze gently to shape roll. Press ends in carefully to secure loose rice. Remove mat and set roll aside.
- Repeat to make second roll.
- Use thin, sharp knife to cut each roll into eight slices. Arrange on sushi platter and sprinkle with rice seasoning and wasabi peas. Serve with piquant sauce.
Sponsor: North American Meat Institute
Quick and tasty meals and snacks
(Family Features) For those who are always on the go, it can be difficult to find time to whip up meals and snacks that are both nutritious and tasty. However, with some simple changes – and timesaving recipes – you can create delicious dishes and meals that will keep you feeling energized to fuel your busy lifestyle.
For example, these quick and easy recipes for a main course, snacks and even desserts are all part of the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, a long-term, healthy eating approach focused on high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats. The eating approach, which is a more flexible version of the popular ketogenic diet, offers a balanced mix of foods containing fiber-rich and nutrient-dense carbohydrates while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and the “hidden sugar effect” – when carbohydrates convert to sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugar, but your body does.
An On-the-Go Morning Treat
Busy mornings can lead to breakfast being put on the backburner or skipped altogether. However, with an option like the Atkins Chocolate Banana Shake, which is made with real fruit, you can enjoy the most important meal of the day on-the-go or anytime you need a snack break.
A beneficial source of B vitamins, these protein-rich shakes can satisfy hunger with 5 grams of fiber and provide steady energy all day long. Made to easily fit into a busy lifestyle, they’re also gluten-free with no artificial colors or preservatives, and low-glycemic with 4 net carbs and 2 grams of sugar.
Egg Roll Bowl with Shrimp
Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 5 cups frozen cauliflower rice
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons minced or pressed garlic
- 2 teaspoons ginger paste
- 6 cups pre-cut coleslaw (cabbage and carrots)
- 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, root and tips trimmed
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice blend
- 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin rice cooking wine
- 1 pound cooked and peeled shrimp, thawed
- 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
- In microwave, steam cauliflower according to package instructions.
- While cauliflower is cooking, warm large, nonstick skillet with lid over medium heat. Add oils, swirl to coat pan and, when shimmering, add garlic and ginger. Sauté until sizzling and fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.
- Add coleslaw, bell pepper and scallions; continue sautéing, stirring frequently, until cabbage just begins to wilt, about 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle on five-spice blend and stir to incorporate. Add soy sauce and mirin rice cooking wine to pan and stir to evenly coat cabbage. Add shrimp to skillet; toss to evenly distribute. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and allow shrimp to warm, about 3 minutes.
- Measure about 1 cup cooked cauliflower rice into bottom of four bowls. Top evenly with shrimp and cabbage mixture, about 1 cup vegetables and 9-11 large shrimp per serving, drizzling with pan sauce evenly. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 teaspoon sesame seeds and serve while hot.
Notes: To help meal come together quickly, use frozen cauliflower rice, pre-grated ginger paste, pre-minced jarred garlic and bagged coleslaw mix. Green onions and bell pepper can also be pre-sliced.
Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- Heat oven to 325° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use large cup or mug to draw six roughly 4-inch circles on parchment paper. Fill each circle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, smoothing shreds out and creating slightly thicker outer edge. Sprinkle each with pinch of Italian seasoning and bake 7 1/2 minutes, or until outer edges and bottoms are golden but not burned.
- Remove from oven and let cool at least 1 minute before eating. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 day.
Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Recipe courtesy of Atkins
- 3 avocados
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons Erythritol (low-carb sweetener)
- 3 teaspoons stevia-based sugar substitute
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Mash avocado and place in blender with coconut milk. Blend until smooth.
- In microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips 20 seconds, stir well and heat in 10-second intervals until melted, stirring in-between. Once melted, add to avocado mixture and continue to blend while scraping down sides of bowl.
- Add cocoa powder, sweetener, sugar substitute, vanilla and salt. Blend and scrape down sides of bowl until all ingredients are well combined and mousse is smooth and creamy. Add additional sugar substitute 1/4 teaspoon at a time if sweeter mousse is desired.
Note: All ingredients should be at room temperature to make blending smooth and easy.
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 13 pieces Atkins Honey Almond Vanilla Crunch Bites
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch sugar substitute
- Roughly chop crunch bites.
- In small glass, layer blueberries, crunch bites and yogurt. Swirl almond butter on top and finish with sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar substitute.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Egg Roll Bowl with Shrimp, Parmesan Crisps and Avocado Chocolate Mousse)
Family-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner
(Family Features) Morning routines, homework, practices and more are all part of back-to-school season, and even when time is short, flavorful meals can be, too.
Whether it’s breakfast and dinner together as a family or sending your little learner out the door with a nutritious lunch, making tasty recipes in your own kitchen doesn’t have to be a drain on an already busy schedule. With dishes like a new take on French toast to a quickly packed lunchbox and bolder burgers, you can keep your loved ones fueled for everything the school year brings your way.
For more back-to-school recipes, visit Culinary.net.
Freshen Up Family Breakfasts
A truly beneficial start to the day is usually centered around breakfast. Start your family on the right foot with a meal that delivers sweet flavor along with nutritious fruits.
This Honey Leches French Toast recipe swaps out syrup for hot honey combined with the crisp taste of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
Visit honey.com for more family-friendly recipes.
Honey Leches French Toast
Recipe courtesy of chef Rob Corliss on behalf of the National Honey Board
- 2 tablespoons blueberry honey
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup blueberry honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 small slices premade pound cake
- nonstick cooking spray
- To make Honey Leches: In mixing bowl, whisk blueberry honey, evaporated milk, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
- To make Berry Garnish: In mixing bowl, lightly toss raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
- To make Hot Honey: In small mixing bowl, whisk blueberry honey and cayenne pepper to evenly combine. Keep warm so hot honey is pourable.
- Heat electric griddle to 375° F.
- Arrange pound cake slices, side by side, flat, in casserole dish or pan with sides. Pour Honey Leches over and around pound cake slices; soak 1 minute.
- Lightly coat griddle with nonstick cooking spray. Remove pound cake slices from Honey Leches, allowing liquid to drain off, then place each slice on hot griddle.
- On griddle, cook pound cake slices approximately 2 minutes on each side until golden crispy and hot throughout.
- To serve, place two overlapping pound cake slices on plate (four plates total). Top each with approximately 1/4 cup mixed berries then drizzle each with approximately 2 tablespoons hot honey.
A Healthy, Happy Midday Meal
Back to school means back to packing daily lunches, and for parents aspiring to send healthier options with their children, look no further than a bento box loaded with the nutritional values of fruits, dairy and protein.
Surprise your little one with this Happy Lunchbox, a sweet treat to help keep him or her hydrated throughout the school day. Start with watermelon, a portable, versatile and easy-to-serve staple composed of 92% water for a hydrating snack. Add in a favorite yogurt flavor, mixed berries, cheddar cheese cubes and smoked turkey breast for a well-rounded lunch to maintain energy all day.
By assembling this nutritious meal using a divided bento box, you can add a little fun to an already flavorful lunch. Find more refreshing recipes for back-to-school season at watermelon.org.
Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board
- Watermelon, cut into sticks
- yogurt, for dipping berries
- 18 cubes (1 inch each) seedless watermelon
- 6 cubes smoked turkey breast
- 6 cubes cheddar cheese
- 6 coffee stirrers or beverage straws
- In small plate with dividers, assemble watermelon sticks with yogurt in one section and berries in separate section.
- To make Watermelon Kebabs: Skewer watermelon, turkey and cheese cubes on stirrers or straws. Assemble in third section of plate.
A Bigger, Bolder Burger
Making a meal everyone loves can sometimes be a challenge when tastes differ and each member of the family craves something different. However, turning to a nearly universally enjoyed staple – a burger – may be just the solution.
Next time your group debates the night’s dinner menu, turn to a customizable creation like the Brooklyn Bacon Bonanza Burger created by celebrity chef and author George Duran for Jarlsberg’s Global Burger Campaign. Topped with melted cheese and optional garnishes like fried eggs and tomato slices, this burger can be personalized to appease the taste buds of everyone under your roof.
Find more back-to-school meal solutions at jarlsberg.com.
Brooklyn Bacon Bonanza Burger
Recipe courtesy of chef George Duran on behalf of Jarlsberg
- 4 thick chunks Jarlsberg cheese
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup chopped cooked bacon
- 3 tablespoons sundried tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- nonstick cooking spray
- 4 eggs for frying (optional)
- 4 hamburger buns
- 8 thin slices tomato
- Place cheese in freezer about 1 hour ahead of time.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat. In small bowl, mix hot sauce and mayonnaise; set aside.
- In large bowl, season beef, pork, onion, bacon, tomato paste and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Using hands, mix until well combined.
- Using hands, form meat mixture into four balls. With thumb, make indentation in centers of balls and place one chunk cheese in center of each. Begin shaping burgers around cheese until patties form.
- Spray grill grates with nonstick spray. Grill burgers, turning frequently, until cooked through and cheese begins to ooze out, about 8-10 minutes.
- In nonstick skillet, fry eggs, if desired; set aside. Serve burgers on hamburger buns with chipotle-mayo, tomato slices and fried eggs.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (French toast)
(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 parents and kids navigate back-to-school routines and extracurricular activities, making healthy food choices is essential to keep everyone energized and engaged.
When it comes to selecting snacks and preparing meals, keep it simple and stock up on foods that are easy to prep and can be used in more than one way. One such food: fresh California grapes, which are abundant throughout the fall and into January. Crisp, juicy grapes can be eaten nearly anytime and anywhere, including school, the office and during after-school activities, at home or away.
Whether eaten fresh or frozen for a cool treat, grapes are a healthy, hydrating alternative to highly processed and calorie-rich foods. They can also be used as an ingredient in easy weeknight meals like California-Style Pizza, cousin to Hawaiian pizza, where fresh grapes star instead of pineapple and prepared pizza dough gives the cook a head start. Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Grapes are an easy, fun snack or dessert that kids can help prepare.
For more snack and meal inspiration, visit grapesfromcalifornia.com.
- 1 pound prepared pizza dough
- 3/4 cup prepared pizza sauce
- 1 1/2 cups halved California seedless grapes
- 1 cup diced lean ham
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Heat oven to 450° F.
- Divide dough into eight equal portions. Spread into pizza rounds on baking sheets.
- Spread with pizza sauce; sprinkle with grapes, ham and cheese. Bake until dough is lightly browned and cheese melted, about 12-14 minutes.
Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 32 g carbohydrates; 6.2 g fat (24% calories from fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 573 mg sodium; 121 mg calcium; 1.4 g fiber.
Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Grapes
Servings: 6 (10 grapes per serving)
- 60 California grapes, any color, rinsed and patted dry
- 3/4 cup 2% vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup graham cracker flour or almond flour
- Insert toothpick into each grape. Place yogurt in small bowl. Pour graham cracker or almond flour onto plate. Line 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Dip each grape into yogurt, coating two-thirds of grape, then dip yogurt-covered grape into desired flour to coat bottom. Place each dipped grape on baking dish; repeat until all grapes are yogurt-covered and dipped in flour. Freeze at least two hours, or until grapes are frozen solid.
Nutritional information per serving with graham cracker crumbs: 100 calories; 3 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 1.5 g fat (14% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 55 mg sodium; 0 g fiber.
Nutritional information per serving with almond flour: 110 calories; 4 g protein; 14 g carbohydrates; 4.5 g fat (37% calories from fat); 0.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 15 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.