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Back to School Lunches

August 7, 2014

Hello fellow Power Shoppers!

Well, this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Whether you love or dread the first day of school, we can all agree on the importance of stocking up on the best lunches and munchies from the get-go. I’ve got answers to all your back-to-school culinary needs for toddlers, teens and everything in between.








Back-to-School Breakfasts

Amidst the wild, every-second-counts mornings, we often forget just how vital a nutritious breakfast is. Maybe you don’t have a minute to spare or you simply aren’t hungry when you first awake, but breakfast is necessary to get your metabolism moving and your brain functioning properly.

Preplan your breakfasts

  • If you have multiple mouths to feed, try to plan foods that everyone likes.
  • When you go grocery shopping, think ahead, and purchase healthy options that you can prepare ahead of time.

Go for whole grains and protein

  • Don’t be tempted by pastries and doughnuts! Try spreading peanut butter on a frozen whole grain waffle instead.
  • Another tip I love: wrap egg whites in a low carb tortilla with your favorite fixins’ and freeze on Sunday night. Just pop it in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes while you get ready in the morning, and you’ll have a scrumptious handheld meal!

Think fruits

  • Apples and bananas are classic to-go breakfast items, but change it up by packing grapes, berries and melons in a plastic baggie the night before.

Brown Bagging It

I know your pain. After about a month, I start running out of interesting lunch ideas, and the peanut butter & jelly sandwich starts making a regular appearance. Here are my tips for keeping things fresh and unique for your kids and yourself.

Mark your calendars

  • Put your ideas on a calendar ahead of time to avoid repeat lunches!

Keep it cool

  • Freeze yogurt, grapes and water bottles so they stay cold until lunch AND act as an ice pack!

Bread Variations

  • Sandwiches are nearly impossible to avoid. You can, however, change up your bread style to keep things interesting. Think about enclosing your lunch meat, chicken salad or veggies in a low carb tortilla, lettuce wrap, pita pocket, English muffin or whole wheat waffle.

Afterschool Noshes

Something scary happens around 3 pm. You all know the drill. My ravenous teenage son speed walks through the front door, straight to the pantry or fridge with his eye on the prize. Often, that prize is chicken nuggets, chips and dip or frozen pizza. This year, I’m armed and ready with salty snack alternatives.

Healthier options

  • Hummus with a mix of pita chips and raw veggies
  • Peanut butter spread on banana, apple or wheat bread
  • Your favorite low-fat cheese on thin pretzels
  • Homemade trail mix made with almonds, dark chocolate pieces, dried fruit and a healthy cereal

Of course, feel free to apply my healthy eating advice in your own meals as well (You certainly deserve it.)!

Be sure to check out the Healthy Living section of our website here for more tips and be sure to follow our friends at NuVal on social media for even more insight into the NuVal nutrition scoring system:

East TN:  https://twitter.com/NUVALneasttn

Southwest VA: https://twitter.com/NUVALswestva

Eastern KY:  https://twitter.com/NUVALeasternky

Now, I want to hear from YOU! How do you stretch your creative lunch ideas long into the school year?  Leave a comment below! Happy shopping :)

-Katie Swanson



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