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!

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

I’m sure you have heard it a million times “a picture says a thousand words” or something like it… No need for a caption sometimes, it is just enough to post a picture and let it speak for itself.

Picture taking is easy with smartphones, no need to carry a camera. You can take a picture anywhere you go as long as you have your cell phone.  I mean, how many of us leave the house without our cell phone?  I know, I don’t and if I do, I head back to the house to get it. Once you take a picture, it is easy to post on Facebook, Pinterest, SnapChat and Instagram.  I’m sure there are more places but they are the ones I know.  I will admit, I use Facebook most of the time and occasionally Instagram.

An article on the Direct Selling Education Foundation website called “4 Ways Photos Can Help You Grow Your Business” gives some great suggestions:

1. Take pictures of yourself and other people using your product.

I’m not a big fan of posting pictures with me in them BUT I will post pictures of product (or with my customers in them).

Sharing pictures when I am at a vendor shows allows me to share not only my display but encourage potential customers to visit the event.

Photo contests are a great way to get customers to share their pictures. I have done this as well on my closed Facebook group for my VIP customers.

2. Take pictures of your parties (with permission).

I don’t do this one as often as I would like.  I always forget until it is too late.  I am usually so involved partying with guests and the hostess I forget about taking pictures.

3. Take pictures of things you get to enjoy as a result of your business.

This could be of a vacation you have earned, a program or sport your children gets to participate in because of your business.  It can be somethng you have earned from your company as well.  So excited to be cursing this year for our 6th wedding anniversary courtesy of Thirty One. 4. Share pictures of things unrelated to your business. This lets people know you are not all about business.  Share pictures of your family, motivational quotes, pets, kids – anything and everything you are interested in.

I started sharing pictures long before I knew it was a marketing strategy.  It was a way for me to reach out to family, friends, and potential customers to let them know about me, my products and where I was for vendor events. Another way to network and build relationships with customers.

Share DON”T sell.  How often do you see the posts for “buy now” or “need to sell” begging you to buy their products?  How often have you seen ads for great deals on products fill your news feed?  I know I do every day.  I love seeing people use their products or their results from using things.  It creates an interest in the product.

What will your next photo op be to share your product or your business?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let’s Have Picnic

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Happy Friday…… I have to admit this is one of my favorite times of the year.  The summer crowds have left the Jersey Shore – well, most of the them, the humidity is gone and the weather is perfect.

Whether you’re looking to have some inexpensive fun with the family, or getting ready to tailgate while watching your favorite football team or looking for some quiet time with some one special…. a picnic is a great option!

Picnics come in all shapes and sizes and, honestly, there is no right or wrong way to do it. The best picnics seem to be the ones handled with a carefree attitude and positive energy. Hanging out with friends (or family)…on a blanket…eating your fave foods is supposed to be fun. Don’t worry about having a cute picnic basket (but a Thirty One thermal always helps).  Not sure what to bring? Don’t fret — food is food and it doesn’t need to be packaged in cutesy DIY wrapping. Picnics are — and should be — the most mellow, fun and relaxing way to hang with friends or family or solo, so your stresses drift away.

Here are 5 super simple things to keep in mind for your next picnic adventure.

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Location.  I remember picnics in the mountains, next to highways, on large boulders, in the backs of trucks, and in tiny backyards. Translation: it doesn’t need to take place in a park or at some epic location. What I would suggest is the space accommodate the amount of people coming. Large parks and beaches are perfect for big groups, whereas just a few people can fit pretty much anywhere.

Food. You can be as elaborate as you want to be when it comes to food. I’m basic making sure I have something everyone likes.  There is always some cheese, seasonal fruits and nuts, a bottle of wine, chips and salsa.  However, summer salads, and deli sandwiches are great too!  For large groups, potluck is fun where each person brings their favorite dish.

Blanket. This is a must!  Of course, these days I usually am making sure there are fold-up chairs or a picnic table close by too.

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Gear.  Maybe the “gear” with all the “right” picnicking stuff is not necessary BUT when you travel with a “bag lady”, you are sure to have lots of options.  You can get a “proper picnic basket” with matching essentials (plate, cups, silverware) or you can create your own.  Depending on what you pack for food, be sure to bring the appropriate tableware. But don’t forget cloth napkins, a cutting board, bottle opener, water, trash bags.

Games. What the heck is a picnic without games? Pack your favorite board games, cards, frisbee and book. Also, consider toting a camera and mobile speaker if you want music.

What else would you add to this list? Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Reward Yourself

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It is FRIDAY!  You have worked hard whether you are a stay at home mom or you punch a time clock from 9AM – 5PM.  If you have taken any of my challenges this week, you have definitely worked hard.  Personal growth is tough.  Take it from one who knows!

Whenever you accomplish something, you should reward yourself.  I know you are thinking – no time, no money, right?  Maybe you are thinking “I didn’t do anything worth celebrating this week”.  The truth is that there is always something to CELEBRATE.  It can be getting to the gym for workout, getting caught up on the household chores or maybe you just feel good.

Rewarding yourself on a weekly basis can be beneficial for your mood, and your motivation. You deserve it, so here are 20 ways to do it…

1. Get a manicure. Homemade, in front of the television or at the salon, it will make you feel great instantly.  I make a mess with nail polish so I save time by using Jamberry.

2. Take a bubble bath. The ultimate relaxation, and take your time!

3. Put money aside for a trip. Saving a specific amount each week will help you achieve a bigger treat like a trip.

4. Go out for dinner. Whether it is to your favorite restaurant, to your mom’s house, or to eat fast food…

5. Indulge in a sweet treat. Or salty. And don’t feel guilty about it.

6. Watch a movie in bed. Slip in your comfiest pajamas and enjoy.

7. UNPLUG!!! Take time off the Internet. We all need a break from the outside world, and during that time, you’ll be able to do anything, and you won’t be disturbed.

8. Read a book. Or a magazine.

9. Pick up flowers at your local market. This little attention will bring joy into your home.

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10. Listen to loud music. And don’t forget to dance!

11. Have a glass of wine. Invite your friends for dinner, and chat with them.

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12. Wander around town. There are probably many areas that you’ve never seen. A little bit of surprise can’t hurt.

13. Look at old memories. This is a great way to make you smile.

14. Call a friend or a family member. Someone you haven’t talked to in a while, or someone you talk to every day.

15. Cook your favorite meal. And don’t forget to turn the music on while you cook!

16. Sleep 15 more minutes. Or go to sleep early.

17. Write in a diary. It is so liberating, and very amusing to read later in your life.

18. Organize a picnic. What better way to enjoy the weather?

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19. Go to the cinema.

20. Go shopping. Window shop and try clothes on that are “not your usual style”.  Who knows you may find something you like.

Rewarding yourself doesn’t have to take a lot of money, it is a chance to pamper you.  The CELEBRATE your awesomeness.

What will you do to REWARD yourself this weekend?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!