Food and Family Videos


Monday, August 26, 2013

Back-to-school: Nutritional snacks, meals and recipes to start the year

It's coming. Kids will grumble and parents will silently cheer as the big day quickly approaches.
It's the first day of school. Kids and their parents are beginning the yearly ritual of preparing for the fast approaching first day of school.
If you're out and about doing any shopping at this time, you can easily spot the school shoppers. Mom's will be calmly (or not) explaining to their children why they can't have the clothes they've picked out. The younger kids will sulk and the teenagers may be having what looks like mini-meltdowns. And then, after a little compromising the task of clothes shopping will be behind them and they will move on to the easier task of picking up the school supplies.
For the most part, parents allow their kids to pick out their own back packs and lunch bags. Supplies such as paper, pencils, crayons, etc. is pretty standard and usually determined by the teacher. So this part of the back-to-school preparation should be just routine and stress free.
Now that you've clothed them and filled their back packs with school supplies, it's time to plan the meals and snacks.
Photo courtesy of ALDI
What and when you feed your family will probably change when the kids make their way back to school. More and more you hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - and especially for kids. Studies show that kids who skip breakfast have a higher rate of tardiness and absenteeism in school. Everyone, and especially kids, need a nutritious breakfast to give them that much needed brain power to begin the day.
Most parents are looking for quick, yet nutritional snacks and lunch items when packing their child's lunch And there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of all the pre-packaged meals and snacks being offered at your local grocery stores and markets. A lot of these items are both nutritional and easy on the wallet.
If you shop at ALDI's, you already know they offer all these items and more. If you haven't shopped at ALDI's - you're missing out.
Here's a few lunch and snack items that ALDI's is offering to help with your back-to-school lunch needs:.

Lunch Mate Honey Turkey & Oven Roasted Turkey (16 oz.) – from $3.29 to $2.99 
Happy Farms Deli Sliced Cheddar & Pepper Jack Cheese (8 oz.) – from $1.99 to $1.79
Lunch Buddies Turkey & Cheese or Ham & Cheese Lunches (8.9 – 9.1 oz.) – from $1.99 to $1.79
Nature’s Nectar 100% Apple Juice Boxes (8 – 6.75 oz.) – from $1.99 to $1.49
Lunch Buddies All Natural Fruit Snacks (19.2 oz.) – from $3.69 to $3.49
Lunch Buddies Chocolate Pudding Cups (13-14 oz.) – from $0.89 to $0.69
Benton’s Animal Crackers (13 oz.) – from $1.29 to $0.99
Photo courtesy of ALDI

And parent's are not only looking for cost savings. Making sure kids are getting the proper nutrition and will eat what you prepare, is top priority.
Here's a couple recipes from Chef Jonathan, courtesy of Aldi Test Kitchen to consider when packing lunches or preparing a healthy snack: 
This is healthy and tastes great too!

Fruit and Hazelnut Panini

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Courtesy of ALDI Test Kitchen

Yields: 4 sandwiches
½ cup sliced strawberries
½ cup raspberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup Berryhill Hazelnut Spread
4 ounces Happy Farms Cream Cheese, softened
8 slices L'oven Fresh 12 Grain Wide Pan Bread
2 bananas, sliced in quarters lengthwise
Preheat sandwich press or waffle maker.
In a medium bowl, mix berries together.
In another medium bowl, combine hazelnut spread and cream cheese.
To assemble sandwiches: Spread 1 tablespoon of hazelnut mixture on each slice of bread, place 2 slices of banana on each bottom slice, top with mixed berries, and top each sandwich with 1 slice of bread.
Place 2 sandwiches in sandwich press or waffle maker, cook until bread is crispy and hazelnut spread is melted, approximately 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half diagonally or in quarters.

Kids can help to prepare this after school snack and can be made ahead.
Frozen Fruit Dippers

Prep time: 10 minutes (plus 2 hours, 10 minutes to freeze)
Cook time: 2 minutes
Servings: 4
Courtesy of ALDI Test Kitchen
½ pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 banana, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
½ cup raspberries
½ cup Baker's Corner Real Semi-Sweet Morsels
¼ cup Peanut Delight Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
Line a sheet pan with wax or parchment paper. Place all fruit in a single layer.
Place sheet pan in the freezer for 2-4 hours.
Microwave chocolate and peanut butter for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Stir; continue microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until fully melted and smooth.
Using your hands or a toothpick, dip the fruit halfway into the chocolate mixture and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Place into freezer for 10 minutes or until ready to serve.
TIP: Kids can help make the dip by combining the chocolate and peanut butter and pushing the microwave buttons!

And here at Grandma's house, you can't go wrong if you always have a bowl of fresh fruit on the table, no matter what you're serving up for breakfast.
Try this for a nutritional breakfast before school, it's always a favorite with my grandkids. Serve as finger food.
Mix in bowl and set on table:
Seedless grapes, cut in half
Whole strawberries, sliced
Toast a whole grain frozen waffle, or two for the bigger kids, and cut into strips. Serve with a side of peanut butter or substitute low-fat Strawberry Cream Cheese for dipping for variety or in case of peanut allergies.
This is quick, easy and your kids will eagerly devour this before school.
Teenagers always seem to want to skip out on breakfast. Try having this nutritional smoothie ready to blend of a morning and get their day started out right. One of my favorite smoothies.
Vanilla-Strawberry Smoothie
1/2 cup non-fat Greek vanilla yogurt
2 whole bananas cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups cleaned and cut-up fresh strawberries
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup ice
Place all ingredients in blender except for yogurt. Blend until smooth. Add yogurt and blend just until mixed.
If you're looking for more recipes or cost saving products. Visit ALDI's website for back-to-school ideas, recipes and weekly product sales.
Contact for food and product reviews.Email your favorite recipe to enter my bi-weekly cookbook giveaway. Follow on Twitter @OCKidsKorner.


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