Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Take Baggies Off of Your Grocery List with Pack'Ems!

By now, the kiddies have been back to school for a few months. School supply shopping has been covered and pens, pencils, and paper shouldn't need replenishing until after the holidays. But if you pack a lunch or send a snack for your kids daily, you still have a regular staple on your shopping list - plastic baggies. You can cross them off the list with Squeez’Ems & Pack’Ems by Booginhead! Both are eco-friendly, reusable food pouches that are easy to fill with your child’s favorite foods. They make it easy to send your child off with a healthy, homemade lunch all year! {Product sent for review/feature consideration}

Meet Squeez’Ems, eco-friendly, reusable food pouches for any pureed or blended food. They are easy to fill, clean and store and are perfect for back-to-school lunch boxes. Fill them with yogurt, applesauce or any pureed food. Squeez’Ems are comprised of just one piece to eliminate the worry over losing parts. It features a new screw top lid that turns clockwise to prevent accidental opening. It guarantees a tighter, 100% leak-proof seal.

Pack’Ems reusable food pouches are the perfect companion to your kids’ lunch and snacks. They come in both large and small and feature a gusseted bottom for easy, stand-up design. They are easy to open and close with unique VELCRO® brand Press-Lok™ patented material.

Both Squeez’Ems and Pack’Ems are dishwasher-safe, easy-to-clean, BPA, PVC and phthalate-free.

And to continue your school year off to a great start, here are some tips and recipes from Booginhead for packing the perfect healthy lunch.

Getting kids to eat a healthy diet isn’t always easy and carb heavy school lunches can be expensive and aren’t always the healthiest. Whipping up healthy, fun options doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. The key to success is having a plan in place. These time saving tips will help you pack healthy lunches that your child will love: Use as many whole foods as possible. Processed foods don’t offer much nutrition and tend to be extremely high in sodium content. Provide high protein, low sugar options. Kids will feel full longer and won’t hit a sugar low mid-afternoon. To make school mornings easier, do as much prep work as you can the night before—fruits can be cut up and veggies can be sliced in advance and stored in water to keep fresh.

Buy in bulk. If you live near a warehouse store like Costco, Sam’s Club or Walmart you can buy in bulk. Items such as crackers, chips and fruit snacks can be stored in a cool dry place and last for several months. Perishables like fruits and veggies can be purchased and frozen or refrigerated to prolong freshness. Take time once a week to portion out snacks so when it comes time to put lunches together you can set up an assembly line to grab and go.

Cook ahead for the week. Prepare lunch options like boiled eggs and chicken salad in advance to make mornings go smoother. You can even send them off with leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

Smoothies can be made in advance and frozen. Smoothies can include yogurt, regular milk or almond/soy/coconut milk, fresh fruit and veggies. Store them in a re-usable container, such as Squeez’Ems, to save on time and money. Toss them in the lunch box frozen and they’ll be defrosted by lunchtime.

  • Consider foods like soup, chili and stew occasionally to give your child a warm lunch. Pack in an insulated bottle and store in an insulated lunchbox. Fill the bottle with boiling water and let stand for several minutes before adding the hot contents. Keep the bottle closed until kids are ready to eat at lunchtime.

  • Purchase freezer gel packs. The gel pack can help keep cold foods cold in an insulated lunchbox. Any items not consumed at lunchtime should be discarded. Adding a cold piece of fruit and or juice box can also help regulate the temperature of the lunchbox.

  • Don’t forget a lunch note! Add a little lunch note to the lunchbox, as well. You may want to send a joke of the day, a fun fact or a simple I love you and am thinking about you.

One of the toughest parts of packing school lunches is coming up with creative ideas that kids will like and eat. Here are some ideas healthy lunch that your kids will love!

  • Chicken or Turkey Salad Rolls—combine diced chicken or turkey, toasted almonds, halved seedless red grapes, diced green apples and celery, mayonnaise and mustard. Transfer to an airtight container; serve on a whole wheat hot dog bun or include crackers.

  • Turkey-Cheese Pita Pockets—spread a low fat creamy cheese, inside a whole wheat pita, then fill with roast turkey slices, baby spinach leaves and cucumber slices. Include dried apricots or banana chips and a low sugar beverage.

  • BLTA Wraps—mash an avocado with lemon juice, then spread on a whole wheat wrap. Top with crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, and thinly sliced romaine lettuce. Roll up and wrap in parchment or wax paper to secure.

  • Easy Italian Hero—toss thinly sliced lettuce with a mixture of yellow mustard and mayonnaise. Assemble a sandwich on a split hoagie roll using sliced provolone, salami, turkey, tomatoes, and iceberg lettuce mixture. Include some broccoli and ranch dip.

  • Peanut/Sun Butter Banana Burrito—spread peanut or sun butter on a toasted whole-wheat wrap, then sprinkle with crumbled bacon and drizzle with honey. Place a whole banana at the edge of the wrap, then roll, pressing gently to break the banana and form a cylinder shape. Or, slice the banana, scatter, and roll. Include celery and carrot sticks.

  • Curried Egg Salad Pinwheels—combine chopped hard-boiled eggs, raisins, sliced celery, mayonnaise and curry powder. Trim the crust from a slice of bread and press slice of bread to flatten. Spread with a layer of egg salad, then roll and secure with a toothpick.

  • Bento Box-Style Lunch—bento boxes are the rage of the lunch room right now. Pick up a pack at your local big box store (like Target) or order online. They come with several small compartments to fill with an assortment of ingredients your child desires, such as crackers or pretzels, cubed cheese, cut up fruit, carrot sticks, rolled up lunch meat or hummus.

**Note: always remember to check with your school to make sure you can send tree nuts or peanuts. If your child is gluten/dairy free, make sure you skip ingredients that are off limits and swap out for an alternative such as a gluten free wrap.

Until next time...

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