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 with customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes.
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
Black Bean Empanadas
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Produce for Kids
Just when it seems like you have gotten into your summer groove, it’s time to get back into your school routine, which can be cause both relief and stress at the same time for parents and students alike. Head off potential problems as you transition into the busy back-to-school season with these family-friendly tips to get everyone back on the school-time track.
5 Tips for a Smooth Back-to-School Transition
(Family Features) Just when it seems like you have gotten into your summer groove, it’s time to get back into your school routine, which can be cause both relief and stress at the same time for parents and students alike. Even if your kids are fairly adaptable, big changes like heading back to school after a summer of limited scheduling can be stressful.
Head off potential problems as you transition into the busy back-to-school season with these family-friendly tips to get everyone back on the school-time track:
Set a Family Schedule
List Family Goals
Buy Supplies Ahead of Time
Find more ideas to ease your family’s transition back to school at MyChinet.com.SOURCE:
Help your student make the grade this year with some of these top picks for everything from classroom tools like calculators and planners to lunchtime solutions like lunchboxes, water filtration systems and on-the-go snacks.
Set for Success
Back-to-school shopping essentials
(Family Features) Whether your children are entering kindergarten, starting up their high school careers or heading off to college, back-to-school season often means running from store to store in search of the necessities for a successful year. Help your student make the grade this year with some of these top picks for everything from classroom tools like calculators and planners to lunchtime solutions like lunchboxes, water filtration systems and on-the-go snacks.
Find more tips and back-to-school essentials to ensure your kids have everything they need before class is back in session at eLivingToday.com.
Send students back to school in style with a dedicated math and science machine in one of the year’s trendiest tones. “Rose Curve Gold” is now an available color option for Texas Instruments’ TI-84 Plus Color Edition (CE) line of graphing calculators. Now thinner and lighter with six times the memory, the calculator can take students from middle school through high school and into advanced college courses. For more information, visit education.ti.com.
Back-to-school season requires plenty of packing and preparing. Be ready with an option like this Freezable Hampton Lunch Bag from PackIt, built to hold containers and bottles of various sizes for easy on-the-go access. The large, redesigned shoulder tote has built-in freezable gel to keep items cool, and the interior wipes clean with its food-safe lining. The kids can have everything they need all packed in one collapsible bag made from non-toxic poly canvas. For more information and packing gear, visit PackIt.com.
America’s drinking water infrastructure received a “D” grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers in its 2017 report card. However, you can still send your preschool- through college-aged students back to school with cleaner, great-tasting water. The PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration System is an on-demand filtered water solution certified to reduce more than 70 contaminants, including 99 percent of lead – more than any other brand, according to NSF. Learn more at PUR.com.
The school year typically brings with it cooler temperatures. Ensure your student is prepared for the elements whether he or she has to walk across campus or wait at the bus stop with the proper outerwear, including a light jacket for fall. With a variety of styles, lengths and materials available, the right jacket can be both functional and fashionable.
Savory School-Day Snacks
Whether it’s for lunch or snacking on-the-go, an option like these convenient packs of Sabra Singles can satisfy midday cravings. Bursting with great taste and wholesome nutrition, these 2-ounce servings of Sabra hummus are packed with plant-based ingredients you can feel good about. Pair with veggies or pita chips for a nutritious lunchtime snack, and find more at sabra.com.
Help your student keep those notes, study times and test dates organized with a quality planner that also showcases his or her personality. Available in a myriad of trendy colors and patterns – like polka dots, stripes or chevron – as well as various calendar layouts like daily, weekly or monthly, the right planner can help your child stay on track, achieve goals and preserve memories in one stylish and organized place.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Children running, Jacket, Planners)SOURCE:
Coming up with fresh ideas every day to keep kids’ lunches exciting is no small task. When the goal is an empty lunchbox and a full, happy tummy, the winning combination is a blend of nutrition and flavor. Step up your game this school year with these ideas for a better lunchbox, and try this recipe for Portable Veggie Kabobs with Tangy Veggie Dip.
6 Ways to Build a Better Lunchbox
(Family Features) Coming up with fresh ideas every day to keep kids’ lunches exciting is no small task. When the goal is an empty lunchbox and a full, happy tummy, the winning combination is a blend of nutrition and flavor.
Step up your game this school year with these ideas for a better lunchbox:
Get creative. Foods that look can good taste good, too. Transform sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters or make tiny heart- or star-shaped, bite-size pieces of cheese for a fun finger food. Another fun idea: thread sliced and bite-sized vegetables on a wooden stick for a no-cook kabob. For a sweet variation, use fruit instead and sprinkle with coconut for extra flavor.
Skip the packaging. Little fingers can struggle to open pre-packaged foods, so instead opt for fresh ingredients that fit into a bento-style box. Not only can kids see what tasty treats await and dig straight into their meals, less packaging means less processing, which is good for their health and the environment.
Keep it simple. Opt for delicious, flavorful foods that deliver nutrients kids need and the taste they want without any extras. An option like Hidden Valley Simply Ranch makes for a rich and creamy complement to carrot sticks, cucumber and other lunchbox staples. With no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors this ranch is perfect for encouraging kids to eat the veggies you pack. Look for Classic Ranch or for a special twist, try flavors such as Cucumber Basil or Chili Lime.
Rely on the familiar. Refueling during the day is important to keep kids focused and able to mentally and physically tackle the rest of the school day. Avoid trying out new foods at lunchtime and save experimenting with new flavors for meals at home.
Go for variety. Representing multiple foods groups isn’t only a good way to deliver good nutrition, the variety in colors and textures can make the meal more interesting and encourage kids to eat more. Include savory meats, crunchy crackers, veggies and sweet fruits.
Add a treat. Whether it’s a favorite fruit or yogurt, a single piece of candy or even a simple note that says “I love you and I’m proud of you,” find a way to add something sweet to every lunch and bring a smile to your child’s daily routine.
Look for more kid-friendly meals at hiddenvalley.com.
Portable Veggie Kabobs with Tangy Veggie Dip
Prep time: 5 minutes
Tip: Add cheese cubes for protein on kabobs, if desired.
Photo courtesy of Mick JonesSOURCE:
The real new year begins when you can smell the fresh pink erasers and hear the clatter of brand new pencils on still-smooth notebook covers. Even if you don’t have kids in school, the end of summer and the beginning of fall is a great time to reassess, realign, hit the restart button and make resolutions, such as loving mornings, empowering kids, appreciating others, making fun a priority, being a team, making snacks work hard, fueling up with real food – like burritos and taquitos – and cheering on mom wins, that will help carry your family smoothly through the school year.
New (School) Year, New You
Make family resolutions that stick
(Family Features) Forget Jan. 1. Parents know the real new year begins when you can smell the fresh pink erasers and hear the clatter of brand new pencils on still-smooth notebook covers.
Here are some tips from parents about resolutions they’ve made for the coming school year:
Learn to love mornings
“It was a disaster,” she said. “There was a lot of yelling, a lot of missing socks, a lot of arguments about eating a good breakfast – it was just not the way to start a productive, happy day.”
Luther decided to turn the first – and worst – hour of her day into one of the best by waking up earlier, exercising and turning on music.
Luther also changed the way she looked at breakfast.
“It doesn’t have to be from scratch,” she said, “but it does have to have protein – and be fast. We love frozen breakfast burritos, for example.”
Empower the kids
But kids are eager to help, she said. Just like adults, they feel empowered when they can do things for themselves.
Luther decided to empower her kids and simplify her life at the same time by creating “Get Ready Buckets,” which hold everything they need to get moving in the morning, from hairbrushes to socks.
That same message of empowerment can simplify and improve other stressful times of day. Do the kids walk in the door hungry and cranky and leave you feeling the same way? Stock the freezer with hearty snacks, such as El Monterey Taquitos, that kids can heat up on their own.
“Our teachers put so much time and effort into their jobs,” Merkley said, “and we’re so grateful for that.”
While she usually gives teachers a gift card at the end of the year, she doesn’t wait until then to send notes and emails with a simple, “Thank you.” She also makes sure to say thanks in person – and in front of her kids.
Make fun a priority
“When we laugh and make things and learn things together,” she said, “we’re making memories. I want my kids to remember their childhoods as more than just getting to school on time and cleaning their rooms.”
Be a team
As their motto, the Denneys chose, “Work hard and be nice.” It’s simple, succinct and sums up what they want for their family.
Fuel up with real food
“Sometimes I’ll buy the ingredients myself to cook from scratch and sometimes I’ll look for foods I recognize on the label,” she said. “When I pick up El Monterey Signature Burritos, I see ingredients like fresh-baked tortillas, real cheddar cheese – foods I would buy anyway for my family, so I feel great about that.”
Make snacks work hard
“Protein and real food – that’s what I’m going to look for in afternoon snacks,” she said. “Something that fills the kids up and gets them ready to get back out the door and play, or buckle down and do their homework.”
Cheer on #momwins
“Checking off every last thing on my spring cleaning checklist is a win, for sure,” she said, “but so is a good, smooth morning with my family. So is a sit-down dinner that didn’t stress me out. So is feeling good about what we’re eating. So is every little hug. Those are all #momwins, and I’m going to give myself a little pat on the back for every one.”
For more breakfast, snack and dinner ideas to help you keep your family resolutions, visit ElMonterey.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family eating)
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