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!

Tasty Tuesday: Cherry Pie Oatmeal Bake

Thank you Hungry Girl for today’s recipe…

1/6th of pan: 241 calories, 6g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 336mg sodium, 37.5g carbs, 7g fiber, 6.5g sugars, 9.5g protein — SmartPoints® value 6*

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

3 cups old-fashioned oats (I use gluten free)
5 natural no-calorie sweetener packets (like Truvia)
1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large eggs’ worth)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup frozen unsweetened pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed, drained, chopped
3/4 oz. (about 3 tbsp.) sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, sweetener, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. In a medium-large bowl, combine almond milk, applesauce, egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix until uniform.
  4. Add mixture in the medium-large bowl to the large bowl. Stir until uniform.
  5. Gently fold in cherries. Transfer mixture to the baking pan, and smooth out the surface.
  6. Top with almonds, and lightly press them into the mixture.
  7. Bake until top is light golden brown and entire dish is cooked through, about 35 minutes.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

Headed to a picnic?  Take this along in either one of these Thirty One thermals:

The Rolling Cooler keeps you cool wherever you go this season. This roomy cooler featuring wheels and a telescoping handle for easy transport was a Hostess Exclusive BUT it can be yours in the Christmas in July Outlet Sale (the sale ends on 7/11). Handles make it a breeze to carry, and the leak-lock lining keeps contents cold and helps prevent leaks. Dimensions: 14″H x 15.5″L x 11.5″D

 

Head to the beach, campground or family picnic with your favorite foods. The Picnic Thermal Tote has a Leak Lock Thermal Lining which can hold ice when you need to keep things cool for a longer time. A removable, adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry when you have your hands full, and the zip-around closure ensures everything stays put while you’re transporting it from the car. It has a removable, adjustable shoulder strap, an exterior front pocket and is approx. 13″H x 11″L x 6″D.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Salisbury Steak

 

Today’s recipe is from Susan Popok of Traveling Vineyard.

This is one of her family go-to recipes….

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground turkey or ground beef

1 package. of dried onion soup mix

1 egg

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

3 TBSP butter (split in recipe)

1 TBSP olive oil

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 TBSP minced garlic

1/2 pound mushrooms

2 TBPS flour

14 oz beef broth (1 can)

1/4 cup white wine

Instructions:

  1. Form 4 oval patties with first 4 ingredients
  2. Brown in pan with 1 tbs each butter & olive oil, remove, to pan
  3. Add 2 tbsp. butter with thinly sliced onion, minced garlic & mushrooms
  4. Add flour
  5. Add beef broth and wine
  6. Return patties to pan, cover & simmer for 15 minutes

NOTE: You can substitute Brown Gravy mix for beef broth and wine.

Susan Popok is with Traveling Vineyard.  Here is a little bit about this awesome company:

Traveling Vineyard began with an idea back in 2001: it is hard to know if you like a wine unless you try it first. That thought launched our entire in-home wine tasting concept. Since then we have launched hundreds of Wine Guides into successful work at home jobs. Because unlike other direct selling concepts, everybody likes to relax, enjoy and taste some free wine.

Whatever the reason, our story is still only beginning to unfold. But since the very first day our mission has been crystal clear.  By making tastings less stuffy, we hope more people will get the chance to see the possibilities in every bottle. Our Wine Guides are committed to bringing joy through a relaxed home experience that educates and demystifies wine. By going out in our communities and sharing our love and passion, we seek to build friendships and great memories along the way. Together we’ll sip, savor and change the way the world sees, tastes and shops for wine.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Cranberry Tuna Slaw

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I’m a total salad girl!  I eat some variation of a salad every day for either lunch or dinner and sometimes BOTH!  I love finding new options to make.  Check out this one from Hungry Girl!

1/4th of recipe (about 1 1/3 cups): 118 calories, 2g total fat (<0.5g sat fat), 270mg sodium, 16.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 9.5g sugars, 8.5g protein, Freestyle™ SmartPoints® value 3*

Prep: 5 minutes     Chill: 15 minutes    MAKES 4 SERVING

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli cole slaw (about one 10-oz. container or one 12-oz. bag)
1/2 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup light sesame ginger dressing (like Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger Dressing)
One 5-oz. can albacore tuna packed in water
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Place slaw, chopped water chestnuts, and chopped cranberries in a large bowl. Add dressing, and stir to coat.
  2. Drain tuna, add to the bowl, and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 15 minutes.
  3. Serve topped with scallions and sesame seeds.

NOTE;  Double the recipe and it is a great salad for an upcoming picnic.

There is no better way to carry your salad (for lunch or a picnic) then in a Thirty One thermal.  So many options to pick from….

Check out the options for lunch, each one will meet a different need depending on what you carry for lunch…

      SHHH!!! I have a secret.  Thirty One’s lunch tote thermals will be on SALE in July.  Stay tuned for more details.

Headed to a picnic or the farmer’s market, check out this thermal…..

Need help pick out the thermal best for you, message me and I will be glad to answer any questions.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Thank you Lori Sharkey, an Executive Manager with Pink Zebra, for today’s recipe from the Kraft Kitchens.  Lori’s family loved this dinner option.

Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 40 minutes   Servings: 7 at 1 cup each

You layer the ingredients of this Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole to save time and deliver big flavor. Enjoy this stuffed pepper casserole as a weeknight entrée!

Ingredients:

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 green peppers, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1 jar (24 oz.) OLIVO by CLASSICO Traditional Pasta Sauce
1-1/2 cups KRAFT Shredded Italian* Five Cheese, divided

Directions: 

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Brown meat with peppers and garlic in large skillet; drain. Return meat mixture to skillet; stir in rice, pasta sauce and 3/4 cup cheese.
  3. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 25 min. or until heated through.

So, let me tell you a little bit about the AMAZING Lori and Pink Zebra. I connected with Lori many years ago and we have been “unofficial” accountability partners over the last few years.  Getting together with Lori sparks ideas and gets my creative juices flowing.

Pink Zebra is an amazing company offering a fun twist on home fragrance and décor. She’s been a part of the company since 2013, and can go on for pages about each of our products!  Our flagship product, Sprinkles, are scented soy pieces you can use in our fun, decorative warmers. But, the best part, or most innovative fact about our Sprinkles is they can be mixed and matched to create a completely custom fragrance unique to you and your space. That’s kind of what we’re about: making things, “uniquely yours.”  Her favorite part of what she does is watching people take a whiff of any of our 55+ fragrances and recreating a fond memory. Science has shown us scents can bring us back to a place we loved as a child, influence our mood, and even help us focus and work performance so she’d love a chance to help you find the perfect fragrance for you!

And what’s the best way to take this yummy dish to a family gathering or a tailgate party? Perfect party

That’s right!  Thirty One’s Perfect Party SetThe Perfect Party Set expands to hold two 9” x 13” casserole pans inside 2 interior water-resistant thermal compartments. Handle grips make it easy to carry, while the exterior zipper pocket can keep additional items like utensils, baking instructions and additional ingredients secure during transport. It’s the most convenient way to take your favorite casseroles, desserts, appetizers and more to your next family picnic, neighborhood cookout, celebration or camping trip!  Monogramming and personalization options available.  Approx. 4”H unexpanded, 7”H expanded x 16.25”L x 10.25”D

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!