Eat Right: Healthy Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas

LunchboxSchool is back from summer, and the perks of packing lunches for New Jammies kids is the ability to control what they eat for lunch.

That means more fruits and veggies. And less fillers and high fructose sugars.

At New Jammies, we love lunchbox recipes that are simple and nutritious, making prep time quicker and lunches more healthy. For her toddler, New Jammies founder Nicole Ludlow makes easy snacks that can easily be adapted to lunchbox fare in the next few years as he heads to class.

“I cut up all kinds of fruit — grapes, strawberries, peaches, plums, bananas, avocado, etc. Harder fruits or veggies like apples, pears, carrots I might steam,” she says. “Fruits and cheeses are also the easiest snack for me right now.”

The Cooking Light website is a helpful resource for nutritional lunchbox ideas, for kids. In the “Healthy Eating for Kids: Recipes and Nutrition Advice” article, which suggests delicious foods kids will eat and nutritious meals moms will love, Sidney Fry, MS, RD, offers several ideas for back-to-school, including:

OrangeFor the Rabbits
Give salad greens some oomph with lots of lean protein.

Veggies: Mixed greens, 2 oz. rotisserie chicken, 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 hard-cooked egg, 2 tablespoons oil-and-vinegar dressing
Fruit: 1 orange, peeled
Snack: 2 cups 94%-fat-free popcorn
Stats: 444 calories, 4g sat fat, 460mg sodium

The Pita Pocketeer
Low-fat Greek yogurt is the base for this tangy chicken salad. Chocolate kisses are perfectly portioned treats.

Protein and veggies: CL Creamy Chicken Salad (1/2 cup) with mixed greens in half a 6-inch whole-wheat pita
Fruit: 1 medium apple
Snack: 4 milk chocolate kisses
Stats: 446 calories, 4.6g sat fat, 451mg sodium

Creamy Chicken Salad
Courtesy Cooking Light

Ingredients
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
7 tablespoons (about 2 ounces) coarsely chopped smoked almonds
6 cups mixed salad greens

Preparation
1. Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full of water; bring to a boil.
2. Wrap each chicken breast half completely and tightly in heavy-duty plastic wrap. Add the chicken to boiling water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Remove from pan, and let stand for 5 minutes. Unwrap chicken and shred; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cold.
3. Combine mayonnaise and the next 7 ingredients (through black pepper) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until combined. Add chicken, 1/3 cup celery, cranberries, and almonds; toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve over salad greens.

On its yummy website, the Food Network’s chefs provide recipes for kid-approved lunchbox ideas. Soup is universally known to be good for the soul, and it can be an easy addition in a lunchbox thermos to a cheese sandwich and goldfish crackers. Soups from the can are the go-to solution for on-the-go families. But this Food Network recipe for tomato soup only takes a blender or food processor and 10 minutes while the kids are doing homework to make for an homemade and healthy (less sodium and mystery ingredients) lunchbox option.

tomatoTen-Minute Tomato Soup
Courtesy the Food Network Kitchen

Ingredients
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, in juice
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup cream

Preparation
1. Puree the tomatoes, celery and broth in a blender until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Season with lemon juice and maple syrup. Stir in cream.
2. Transfer to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave on HIGH until warmed through, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively heat the old-fashioned way in a pan.)
3. Pour hot soup into an air-tight thermos. Pack in a lunch sack and send off to school.

Total Time: 14 min (Prep: 10 min, cook: 4 min)
Yield: 4 servings

If your kids love store-bought oatmeal bars but you’re not crazy about all the food additives and preservatives, take some time to bake and control what they eat. Ree Drummond, best known as the Food Network’s Pioneer Woman, home schools her kids and makes their food from scratch as part of her family’s farm-to-table ranching life. In the episode “Little School House on the Prairie,” the Pioneer Woman whips up a batch of strawberry oatmeal bars that make 24. Freeze them to have bars available in advance.

StrawberryStrawberry Oatmeal Bars
Courtesy Ree Drummond

Ingredients
1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.
2. Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly.
3. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares.

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Ranching Cowboys

Ranching Cowboys

New for Fall!
Head back-to-school with new designs now featured on the newjammies.com website. Check out these fun collections your kids will love:
Elephant Kites
Trains
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Ranching Cowboys
Bicycle Hills

Sleep Tight: Sending Kids Back to School Well-Rested

imageAs New Jammies kids head back to school, sleep is a major component to making sure they’re alert and ready to take on the day. For starters, we suggest a good night’s sleep and a healthy diet of fruits and veggies.

There are also many suggestions from experts on how to help send kids back to school well-rested. According to Prevea Health Services in Green Bay, Wisconsin, summer can change a child’s sleep schedule dramatically.

“During the summer, going to bed late and sleeping in late can become normal for kids. Two to three weeks before school starts, ease your children back into a more school-friendly sleep routine with consistent bedtimes. Encourage them to gradually start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to help them better transition/’ says the healthcare organization, on its website. “The start of the school year can be very challenging when children are not well rested, so make sure to practice good sleep habits.”

Previa also suggests not allowing TVs in children’s bedrooms, turning off other electronics or cell phones at least 30 minutes before lights out, limiting caffeine during the day and discouraging any leading up to bedtime. Parents can also follow these suggestions for themselves and lead by example.

“These are valuable tips for parents, too,” Previa says. “It’s helpful to set a good example for kids to follow.”

Allowing for enough time to sleep is important when preparing for back-to-school. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says school-aged kids, 6-13 years old, need 9-11 hours of sleep, especially as they become involved in additional school activities.

“At the same time, there is an increasing demand on their time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities,” says the NSF. “In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep.”

The National Sleep Foundation reminds parents that in particular, watching TV close to bedtime is associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleeping.

Preschoolers (3-5 years) typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age.

“As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. With further development of imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors peak during preschool years,” says the National Sleep Foundation.

The foundation’s sleep tips for preschoolers suggests parents make sure to:

• Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
• Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
• Have a child sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark – and without a TV.

The website www.sleepforkids.org is a service of the National Sleep Foundation that teaches the importance of sleep to kids. Through the site, parents can order the informative booklet “Time to Sleep with P.J. Bear,” which uses an illustrated story to teach children about sleep. The website also includes a Games and Puzzles section where kids can have fun while learning about sleep. They can see how much sleep time they get by calculating their bedtime and test their memories with the Sleep Card Game. They can also print out the “Bring Out the Stars” activity page that features P.J. Bear.

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New Jammies appShop Right

This school year, New Jammies is making shopping for back-to-school sleepwear easier with our new mobile site and shopping app. New Jammies wants to make shopping online for kid’s PJs, footies, sleep sacks and more a breeze for our on-the-go customers. Go to your smart phone or tablet’s App Store and search for New Jammies to download our new shopping app for iPhone and Android. And visit our updated mobile shopping website at www.newjammies.com to shop our 100% organic cotton pajamas on the go!