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Kids' Bento Box LunchIt's hard to believe summer vacation is coming to an end. August means back to school for most families. New notebooks, pencils, and erasers are on the list of supplies. But don't forget to restock your pantry and fridge with foods and beverages that provide nutrients to help your children perform their best in and out of school. For help on how to plan complete balanced meals for your family, check out these tips:

Lunch Box Lesson Plan

Pack a well-balanced lunch by including your family's favorite foods and better snacks. If you don't have time to put together a lunch for your child, look for easy grab and go options such as Publix Deli Kids Meals. You can also get tips from MyPlate.

Recipes

Total Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Choose colorful fruits and vegetables:

  • Fruits—red apples, purple plums, orange cantaloupes, yellow bananas, green grapes.
  • Veggies—red grape tomatoes, green broccoli, orange carrots, yellow bell pepper strips.

Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label, such as 100% whole wheat bread, whole grain crackers, whole wheat tortilla, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta.

Add low-fat string cheese, low-fat cheese cubes, or low-fat yogurt.

Try chicken, turkey, lean beef, lean pork, reduced sodium Deli meat, tuna, eggs, nuts, or nut butters.

Low-fat or fat-free milk, 100% juice, or water.

Fill a whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter and banana. Serve with broccoli trees and low-fat yogurt.
Or
Whole grain crackers, low-fat string cheese, hardboiled eggs, strawberries, and yellow bell pepper strips.

 

Smart After-School Snacks

Choose snacks containing foods that kids need to eat more of, including fruits and vegetables, dairy, and whole grains. Tip: To add protein to your snacks, include delicious dippers such as hummus, peanut butter, or low-fat yogurt.

No-sugar-added applesauce, fruit cups in 100% juice, apple slices, grapes, bananas, strawberries, raisin boxes. Try apple slices with peanut butter, or your favorite fruit with low-fat yogurt.

Baby carrots, cut-up broccoli or cauliflower, grape tomatoes, bell pepper slices, snow peas, celery. Try celery with peanut butter and raisins, or baby carrots with hummus.

Single-serve low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese; low-fat string cheese or cheese cubes. Some smart snack ideas include cheese and fruit kabobs, or grapes with cheese cubes.

Whole grain cereal, whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat crackers, and whole wheat English muffins. Make a homemade trail mix with whole grain cereal, dried fruit, and unsalted nuts.

 

Dinner Done

During the busy weekdays, it can be challenging to get a satisfying and balanced dinner on the table each night. Check out these tips for quick and easy family meals, ready to satisfy everyone at the table—even the kids!

Having a weekly meal plan in place before Monday morning comes along will help ensure you’re not struggling for ideas after work. Check out the Better Choice recipes on publix.com for simple yet complete meals for your family. Get everyone involved from the very beginning by getting their input for the food they would like to see on the weekly menu.

Family meals don't have to be elaborate to be balanced and taste good. Aim to have a protein, grain, and vegetable at each dinner. Use convenience items such as bagged vegetables and skillet sauces to create a quick and easy meal. Look for the Better Choice tags to select convenience items that are lower in added sodium, fat, saturated fat, and added sugar.

Use your meal plan to create your shopping list. Take a few minutes to do an inventory of your pantry and fridge and write down anything that you need to buy to create your week’s meals. With a Publix account, you can create a shopping list customized for your preferred store. The aisle numbers of the items on your list will be added automatically.

If you are crunched for time on weeknights, chop and measure your ingredients on the weekends. You may even prefer to cook all of your meals over the weekend, and then freeze them to eat during the week.

From planning and shopping to preparation and cleanup, the goal of family dinners is to spend time with each other. Give each family member a task to get everyone involved in the process. Even young children can help pick out recipes, prep veggies, and take part in cooking the meals.

 

Taking Steps Toward Better Wellness

The journey toward wellness isn't always easy, but there are many great resources that can provide tips and information to help encourage you along the way.

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