Sunday, August 4, 2013

Shoes in the kitchen! (Okay, not exactly, just the boxes)

It's that time of year again. There's a nip in the air, the days are shorter, the leaves crack under your, it's still the hot dog days of summer, you keep checking the calendar to see if you can cram one more family getaway in, everyone has suntan lines and bedtimes have been a little more lax. This all means it's time for Back To School.

Do yourself a favor - start baking extra batches of muffins, waffles or pancakes as you are making breakfast this summer. Stick those in the freezer for hectic back to school mornings (the muffins could actually go into lunches as well). Do a Costco/Sam's Club run based soley on stocking the pantry for lunches - non-perishable items that will help make your mornings run a little smoother. Oh, and while you are there grab one of those two million packs of yogurt (toss them in the freezer) and a couple boxes of the Horizon Milk Boxes that don't require refridgeration.

Organize one shelf in your cabinets to be the lunch making center. Hit the end of summer clearance sales and get a three of those plastic shoeboxs. Make one the protein box, one the fruit box and one the carb box (we'll give you suggestions in a second), then when you are packing lunch on the fly you just grab one item from each box.

Protein Box: Nuts & Seeds(prepackaged or buy in bulk and distribute into snack size ziplocks or small plastic containers (we like the Mini Dippers from, nutbutter or sunbutter packages (check out the ones from Peanut Butter & Co.), Z-Bars (or something similar with 2 g of protein or more).

Fruit Box: raisins, craisins, fruit snacks (Tasty Brand or Annie's have more "real" ingredients than most), other dried fruit - mangoes, bananas, papaya are very popular with my kids.

Carb Box: Pretzel sticks (the fat kind), whole grain crackers, melba toast, granola, cheese & cracker packages, etc.

These items are meant to supplement the main fresh ingredients in the lunches you pack, we are just helping with the planning ahead part right now. We'll give you the week before school shopping list in next week's post.

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