Thursday, September 25, 2014

School lunch options and Louisiana tastes

Pack that school lunch right
Packing lunches for my daughter, with unusual flavors, unique packaging and fun notes is one of the things I miss most about that baby being all grown up.
Parents today can take a few tips from a new APP from Merilee Kern, called 'Kids Making Healthy Choices' based on her award-winning illustrated fictional children's book, “Making Healthy Choices ­ A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids." Here’s some tips for a healthy, happy meal:
*  Lean meat, such as shaved ham or turkey, on whole grain bread or in a wheat wrap with some lettuce, low/fat free cheese, and a touch of low-fat/fat-free mayonnaise or mustard is sure to please…and nourish. 

*  Even the quintessential children’s sandwich, PB&J, can be made in a healthy way these days. Many peanut butter brands now offer low-fat and low-sodium versions.  That, coupled with an all-fruit, sugar-free jelly on whole grain bread makes this school cafeteria staple a guiltless pleasure. 

* Tuna fish is jam packed with oh-so-beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids.  When mixed with low-fat mayonnaise, diced apple, and, if your child likes, a bit of onion and served in a wheat pita  
* One the side? Low-salt pretzels; fat- and sugar-free yogurt or cottage cheese; celery sticks filed with low-fat/low-sodium peanut butter; any kind of pre-washed fresh fruit (nature's gift to humanity); dried or dehydrated fruit, such as raisins; apricots, pears, apples, roasted or raw almonds, walnuts or peanuts (not oiled or candied); low-fat string cheese or chunked low-fat cheese; and even baked chips or healthy pita chips in moderation are all great choices. 

* Skip the sugary juice box and send along a bottle of water instead to get your child in the habit of working toward his/her optimal fluid intake (experts recommend one consume about .5 ounces of water per pound of body weight).
 After school:
* Potato Chips/Fries - Cut the potato in the desired shape (round, rectangular, oblong, etc.).  Fully coat with egg whites.  Season with a touch of salt or other herbs as desired. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.  Serve with sugar-free catsup. 

* Popcorn: Air pop popcorn and on it drizzle a moderate amount of powdered butter substitute, light parmesan cheese, or even honey for a tasty twist. 

Mexican Bean Dip:  Drain and food process two 14-ounce cans of black beans.  Add three fourths of a cup of fat-free salsa and half of a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and blend until completely smooth.  Top with a dab of fat-free sour cream, fat-free cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, etc. as desired. 

* Fruit Smoothies: These are a warm weather staple that can, and should, be enjoyed year-round.  While fruit smoothie recipes abound, it need not be a complex process.  Simply blend, in amounts to your personal liking, either plain or flavored fat-free/sugar-free yogurt with skim milk, ice cubes, and either fresh or frozen fruit chunks. For added sweetness, you can add a touch of honey or an artificial sweetener, such as stevia. Blend and enjoy.

Louisiana good
If you could make a meal with Louisiana products you love, what would your menu be? I’d love an oyster poor-boy with crispy Zapp’s kettle chips and an Abita beer. Tabasco is on the side and some Community Coffee is welcome to follow. This month’s Thrive Magazine, based out of Lake Charles, La., features snippets on some of our favorite flavors from across the border. It’s the cover story for September.

New look for  classic crackers
Some Lance® cracker sandwiches have new looks. Whole grain crackers with real peanut butter, cheddar and sharp cheddar  are fresh from their boxes in time to fill lunchboxes across the south. Did you know Lance has been around for more than a century and the stuff coming out of Charlotte, N.C. uses real cheddar and pb? I don’t remember ever going nuts over cracker sandwiches until I tried these. But if you have, let’s say temptation issues, over snacks like these, consider this: I opened a package of six and crumbled two up to top two eggs for two breakfasts. Then I had two more with a salad for lunch. The other two stayed fresh in a plastic food container, ready for another day. Yes, I realize most snackers would wolf down the package in a few minutes, but these wheat guys are worth savoring. Lance Toasty crackers have improved peanut butter flavor with more eco-friendly packaging. I’m very much enjoying a round of crackers.
Also look for Lance® Xtra Fulls and Bolds and variety packs.  These guys are also responsible for the coveted Lance® Captain Wafers Crackers Variety Pack.

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