Tasty Tuesday: Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

I know it is WAY too early to think about “healthy school lunches”, right?  BUT these are also some great ideas to use for trips to the beach or the park or even those outdoor activities this summer.

I never thought of Belinda as a fussy eater, she just knew what she wanted and it was one battle I did not want to fight.  So for lunch was usually carrots and dip or peanut butter and no jelly.  She wanted nothing to do with anything “green” but she did like “finger foods” for lunch so baby carrots were always good.

I’m sure some of you have a problem getting your kids to eat healthy.  Although I think it is a little easier these days.  Thanks to Thirty One for these yummy ideas!  We’ve searched far and wide to bring you the most delicious snacks you can easily swap out to boost your kids’ nutrition. (And they’re all perfect to pack in our colorful and hard-working insulated lunch bags!)

Swap out PB&J for a PB&B

We all remember pulling a pale, squashed PBJ out of our lunch bags as kids… with that dark purple splotch of jelly seeping through the soggy white bread. (Bleh.)  I loved it BUT Belinda didn’t do jelly.  Why not give your kids a healthy sammie worth celebrating? A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat or put it in a wrap.  It is packed with 17 g of protein, 7 g of fiber, complex carbs and healthy unsaturated fats. This combo can help kids feel full and energized throughout the afternoon.  Slicing up half a medium banana instead of spreading on two tablespoons of jam adds potassium and cuts out 10 g of sugar! You can even layer in sliced strawberries for a touch of sweetness and a big dose of vitamin C.

Swap out juice boxes for a reusable water bottle

Single-serving drink boxes are convenient and fun, but many also contain artificial color, flavoring and preservatives. Even 100% fruit juices can contain up to 20 g of sugar per pouch!  Instead, try infusing a pitcher of water with citrus slices, torn fresh herbs or muddled berries at home. Combine together herbs and fruits (like strawberry-basil or blueberry-mint) for a refreshing change of pace. Leave your pitcher to infuse overnight in the fridge and pour into a leak-proof water bottle.

Our roomy new Lunch Buddy Thermals feature an elastic-topped mesh side pocket that’s perfect for toting the kids’ water bottles to school and back each day. (And the fun prints are irresistible!)

Swap out applesauce for apple slices

Packing a large, sliced apple instead of a cup of applesauce can double your kids’ fiber intake (5.4 g vs 2.7 g), boost their vitamin C (10.3 mg vs 2.7 mg) and provide them with the beneficial antioxidants contained in the skin of the apple.  Kids love to eat raw apples plain as a healthful snack, or dip slices in a delicious nut or seed butter for added protein and a salty kick. If you want to keep the convenience factor, toss in a whole apple or nab a segmented slicer tool to make quick work of lunch prep.  If you do decide to sometimes opt for applesauce, look for healthier varieties made without added sugar or artificial preservatives. Or make your own unsweetened applesauce, and be sure to leave the skins on!

Swap out chips for nearly anything else

Do your kids crave something salty to go with their meals? (Us too!) Steer clear of the fat, sodium and calorie bombs that are potato chips, which have been scientifically linked to weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.   Instead, why not offer your kids one of these tasty (and nutritious) treats?

  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Deli turkey-wrapped cucumber slices
  • Nuts (Be sure to check your school’s allergen policy first)
  • Edamame, boiled or shelled and roasted
  • Air-popped popcorn (It’s a whole grain!)
  • Cheese cubes
  • Whole wheat pretzels
  • Celery sticks with nut or seed butter and raisins, or with cream cheese and dried cranberries
  • Swap out pudding cups for Greek yogurt
  • Kids love spooning up creamy treats at lunchtime. But when you’re packing their lunch bags, think Greek: While the calorie count and amount of calcium are essentially the same, a serving of Greek yogurt can provide as much as 20 times the protein of an individual pudding cup.

Stick to plain Greek yogurt for the least sugar, and add sliced berries or a little honey for sweetness. If the kids want the flavored kind, choose one with sugar near the end of the ingredient list: The first three ingredients should be milk, live and active cultures and fruit.

Keep their yogurt – and the rest of their healthy food swap-outs – cool until lunchtime in a classic Thermal Tote personalized with your child’s name and favorite embroidered Icon-It design. Your kids will be eating healthy and noshing in style!

 

What is your kids’ favorite lunch?  Share it with us…. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Pack the Perfect Picnic

 

The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day!  Well, one can dream, right?  The Jersey Shore seems to have more clouds then sun lately but we know it won’t be long, right?

With the Memorial Day weekend here is just about a week, a picnic is a wonderful way to celebrate!  There will be lots of barbecues and tailgating happening during the holiday weekend and we want to be sure you are prepared.  So here are some tips from Thirty One to help you pack the perfect picnic….

Whether you are picnicking alone or with a group of family or friends, we have a tote or thermal just for you!

For the gang….

When you’ve invited all of your daughter’s soccer pals or each of your son’s camp buddies to join you on a picnic, only Thirty-One’s Large Utility Tote will do!  A best-seller since it was introduced, the Large Utility Tote is big enough to pack everyone’s favorite foods. The wire support around the opening means it holds its shape, and you can see all of the food and drinks you have packed so you don’t forget a thing. Add a Top-A-Tote to keep the contents covered and secure.

For the family..

Create some memories by taking the family dinner outside! The Perfect Party Setreally is perfect – perfect for keeping food either hot or cold in one of its two thermal compartments. Each water-resistant section is large enough to fit a 9×13″ pan, making it a flexible option for any picnic. Place your hot casserole in the bottom compartment, and don’t forget a dozen cupcakes on top!

A picnic for two

Whether you’re picnicking with your bestie or your special someone, the Picnic Thermal Tote is an ideal option. Tall enough to fit your favourite bottled beverage, the tote even has a Leak Lock thermal lining for ice to keep things cold. The zip-around closure makes it easy to load and unload, and the adjustable, detachable strap means you can keep your hands free. Remember to stick a few extra napkins in the exterior front pocket!

A picnic for you

At work or at home, the Lunch Break Thermal is the convenient choice when you need a picnic all to yourself! Throw it in your car, tuck it in your office refrigerator or take it to the beach – the durable fabric will make it your thermal of choice when you want some time alone. The extended handles allow you to throw it over your shoulder in a moment, and the exterior pocket is roomy enough for your keys, phone or wallet. So go ahead: Make your escape!

On the go

Life is busy, and the Around The Clock Thermal is ready to follow you at lunchtime, snack time or anytime! If you’re not quite sure where you’ll be throughout the day, this thermal is one of your most versatile options. The thermal lining means you can be confident your food will stay cool, and (bonus!) it’s water-resistant to make clean-up a breeze. Large enough for lunches or a variety of snacks, the interior mesh pocket and front exterior zipper pocket also are handy options for storage. If you’re on the go from dawn to dusk, this thermal is the one for you!  Need a visual…. it will hold a 6-pack with some room for a few snacks.

Picnics are a blast, so make sure you have some fun with whichever picnic thermal or tote you choose! Don’t forget: A monogram or other personalization adds a special touch to a special meal, all season long.

Thank you ThirtyOne for today’s blog post…  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Thank you Moscato Mom for today’s recipe….

I LOVE pizza. I used to create pizza with english muffins, tortillas, pits bread and of course the little frozen ones were always a staple in the house.  When I couldn’t decide what to have for dinner, salad and a mini pizza worked.  THEN I was told to go gluten free, and dairy free.  To say the least, I was not a happy camper.

Frozen gluten free, dairy free pizzas are nasty!  I found if I stuck with gluten free and just a little bit of cheese (real mozzarella) I felt okay.  Then I was hit with the high points for gluten free products which did not mesh well with my Weight Watcher program.  What was a girl to do?

I trust Moscato Mom and love many of her recipes so I am ready to try this one….

She says “This dish is not just amazing the day you make it – but we made enough to take for lunch the next day and I swear it was even better reheated. Now I keep pretty much all of the ingredients on hand for any time that pizza mood strikes… which is often.”

Ingredients

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups Rao’s Low Carb Pizza Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Place the shredded zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with about a tablespoon of salt, and toss.
  • Let sit 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture by dumping the zucchini into a kitchen towel or clean t-shirt, pulling up the ends and squeezing out all of the moisture.
  • Combine zucchini with eggs in a large bowl.
  • Press the zucchini mixture into two 9x9in pans (or two pie dishes or a 13x9in baking dish).
  • Bake 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef as you cook it.
  • Drain the fat from the pan and stir in the spaghetti sauce and spoon the mixture over the zucchini crust.
  • Sprinkle with the mozzarella.
  • Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes longer.

Now for those leftovers…. My FAVORITE Thirty One lunch tote. 

For those who know me or have been to one of my parties, I am all about multi uses for our bags.  So, the Going Places Thermal is so much more than just a lunch bag…The leak lock lining keeps things dry when you head to those water parks.

 Mobile office   For Bible Study

  For lunch         A camera case

Who would have ever thought a thermal could be used for so many things?  The cross body strap makes it so much easy to carry for those moments when you need to be hands free.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!