Eat Right: Back to School Meals and Lunchbox Finds!

Back-to-school for New Jammies kids means new teachers, new school clothes, new friends and new experiences. It also means brainstorming new healthy lunch ideas for culinary variety to make sure the kids are eating right.    

This year year we discovered some mamas on a mission to test and find the best in eco-friendly lunch box options!  Yes, I still miss my metal Strawberry Shortcake lunch box from yesteryear, but now there’s a whole world of options to choose from that making packing and storage a cinch, while living up to our eco-expectations!

Still one of my favorites, the Bento Boxes, which are BPA- and phthalate-free and 100% recyclable, are extremely popular, especially this colorful divided lunch box, as they can help with portioning and organizing. We love Bentgo Kids, an innovative bento-style lunch box designed exclusively for active kids on the go, because you can put liquid dips in it and they won’t leak into other compartments with special sealed lid.

“What makes Bentgo Kids so much fun is the endless combinations of nutritious foods you can pack in the five convenient compartments,” says the company. “The largest compartment is the perfect size for a half sandwich or salad. Three mid-size compartments are great for fruit, veggies and other snack favorites. The smallest compartment is sized just right for dipping sauces. Bentgo Kids’ removable compartment tray allows you to mix and match the three fun colors to suit your child’s unique preference.”

Bentgo is also a purchase with a purpose, as the company is a proud supporter of Feed the Children. Try this Bentgo Kids All-in-One Lunch Box.

“Your purchase makes a difference in the lives of hungry children in America and around the world,” says Bentgo Kids.

Retro Mama Goes Green also has some fun non-toxic suggestions this year ranging from lunch bags to boxes!   Lisa says “Many lunch boxes can contain harmful things like PVC, lead, BPA, and phthalates. And disposable paper bags cost a lot of money over time and are wasteful. Thankfully there are some great waste-free, safe options out there.”

Keep it cool with our favorite eco-friendly and sweat free ice packs from

U- Konserve

Not only do we love their ice-packs, but this company is on a mission to save the planets from plastic straws and cups.   I must confess, recently my children swayed me to purchase some fun bendy plastic straws, but now seeing U-Konserve’s options and being reminded of the large impact of small choices, I’m loving this find.

For sustainable lunch packaging, we also love Two + Two re-usable and washable sandwich wraps and snack bags. Don’t waste ziplock bags and throw away plastic! These are made nearby in New Jammies home state of Colorado, and are food-safe and eco-friendly.    The sandwich wraps are easy to clean, come in fun prints, and create a great placemat for eating.   The snack bags come in multiple sizes to suit any hunger!

“This young company is run by two creative moms with a passion for style, sewing, Mother Earth, and doing what’s best (and cutest) for their little ones,” says Two+Two. “Products keep food fresh and uncontaminated with a proprietary lining that is free of lead, BPA, PVC and phthalates. The various sizes of eco-friendly reusable bags accommodate any and all packing organizing and traveling needs.”

Fill the snack bags and lunch boxes mentioned above with fresh-cut veggies, including carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower and broccoli pieces, and cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices from the garden, trail mix and granola, as healthy options.   I personally use them anytime I am on the go with kids as those little tummies have a big appetite all the time!

Now we’ve got all our amazing gear options, how do we making packing lunch fun, healthy, and easy on parents.     We’re digging this healthy food prep web-site Gimme Delicious  Showcasing colorful images of healthy, easy cooking, make ahead dishes that look amazing to eat at home or on the go.   Kids will be loving the rainbow of flavors here.   In addition to lunch, some of the pre-prep freezer ideas will make healthy, weeknight dinners on busy school nights ready to go!

This balanced dish is great for dinner or lunch….

Pesto Chicken Veggie Sheet Pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another mama that likes to keep lunch simple, veggie style is the author of  Veggies Don’t Bite! blog.    These quick packing lunches will keep kids coming back for more and you can put these together with ease even if you haven’t had your morning latte yet.   She also has other lunch box suggestions as well as veggie loving recipes for the whole family.

 

We hope your school year is off to a healthy start!   Eat right, play right, sleep tight!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy foods for a Spring in Your Step

Spring brings the opportunity for New Jammies families to welcome the new season feeling refreshed. We say goodbye to the stuffy head colds, high fevers and sore throats of winter, taking an holistic approach to health with immune-boosting foods. Whether it’s a natural immune-supporting power bowl or an energy ball with chia seeds, these recipes harken back Spring’s fresh take at a healthy life.

Spring Power Bowl

Courtesy  Two Peas and Their Pod

For the Quinoa Bowl:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 asparagus spears, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Lemon Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Swap proteins, grains, veggies to your liking.

 

Kid Friendly Energy Balls
Courtesy The Lean Green Bean

These little morsels pack a healthy energizing punch.    Not only are the freezable, but they travel well and hey their something you can feel good about giving your child.   The lean green bean shares and assortments of recipes but this one caught my eye.  Citrus is always a great immune boosting food to enjoy in warmer weather and longer days.

Bursting with citrus flavor, these Lemon Energy balls make the perfect snack. Made with just 5 ingredients, they’re gluten-free, paleo-friendly and perfect for stashing in the fridge or freezer!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • zest and juice from a medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put dates, nuts and seeds in a food processor and pulse several times to chop.
  2. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla and process until mixture comes together.
  3. Form into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. (I made 14 balls).

 

Veggie Spring Rolls20-Minute Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls
Makes 6 spring rolls
Courtesy chefsavvy.com

This fresh recipe for vegetable spring rolls are perfect for a light lunch, healthy snack or easy-to-make appetizer. Colorful and full of flavor, these naturally vegan spring rolls include mango, high in Vitamins C & A. “The large amounts of Vitamin C act as a great immune booster. Carrots are loaded with antioxidants and a great source of Vitamin A. Bell peppers are packed with vitamins and fiber. Also a great source of antioxidants. The scallions’ Vitamin K and fiber make this a good choice for the spring rolls. Red cabbage is rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants,” says the recipe on chefsavvy.com.

Ingredients
6 spring rolls wrappers
½ cup bell peppers (I used yellow, red and orange bell peppers)
½ cup red cabbage, shredded
½ cup scallions
½ cup mango, sliced
½ cup carrots, julienne

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sweet chili garlic sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
¼ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions
1. Place 1 spring roll wrapper at a time in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 seconds until it softens up a bit. Place it on your work surface and add a handful of each veggie in the top center of the wrapper leaving enough space at the top to roll. (Do not over stuff)
2. Fold the edge closest to you over the toppings and tuck the sides in and over the portion you just rolled. Roll away from you making sure to keep the spring roll tight. Repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Should make about 6 rolls.
3. Serve immediately with the Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. Cover with a damp cloth so they do not stick together if you won’t be serving them right away.

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
1. Add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sriracha and honey to a small bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream.
3. Serve immediately with the spring rolls. If the sauce separates give it a quick whisk.

Instapot Lemon Veggie Risotto
Courtesy Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

It seems like every other day a parent is telling me how they are obsessed with their Instapot and it’s time saving ability to create homemade meals for the family.   When time is of the essence, but we still want to put a healthy dinner on the table, Instapot to the rescue.   If you too are in the Instapot fan club you may enjoy this veggie loaded risotto.   For all you classic risotto cooks, here are some new flavors to add to your slow cooked love.

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup fresh peas, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup leek, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 bunch chives, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add asparagus, broccoli, and peas to the baking sheet. Coat with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oilsalt and pepper, toss well. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is fork tender. Once done, remove from oven and set aside.
2. In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, press SAUTÉ. Add remaining extra-virgin olive oil and let the pot heat up. Once hot, add in onions, leeks and garlic. Let cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions start to turn translucent.
3. Add rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast.
4. Add vegetable stock, butter and thyme. Stir well.
5. Turn the pressure cooker or instant pot off. Secure lid in place, turn valve to sealing, press manual, and modify time to 7 minutes.
6. Once the time has lapsed, and the pressure cooker is done, turn the valve to venting to quickly release the pressure. Open the lid and stir well.
7. Turn the setting to SAUTE. Add spinach, chives, roasted veggies, and spices to the rice. Stir for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with lemon zest and additional chives.

Bon Appetit!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.