Tuesday, August 20, 2013

School Lunches & Mott’s Fruitsations + Veggie Fruit Snacks #MOTTSBTS

It's been a long time since I had to pack a lunch for the Teen. High schoolers are too cool to bring a lunch from home it seems.Cash is king. And, since Little Boo ate a hot lunch at daycare right up until he changed schools in April, I've never really had to pack lunches for him. His new school is right around the corner from us, so he was coming home for lunch most every day this spring, but I've decided that won't be the case this year. He was feeling a little left out of the lunch-time social scene, and I was feeling like all I ever did was walk back and forth to school all day.

So, in two weeks' time I'll be back in the lunchbox grind, after a long reprieve. Woo. Hoo.

Naturally, I'll be turning to Pinterest for some fun lunch ideas. There's some mighty creative moms on there, and I'll be pinning and re-pinning to keep the inspiration coming. But meanwhile, I thought I'd share some tips and ideas I have that I hope will help make your school lunches a little easier.

  • Know your kid. Does your child prefer a hot meal? Then you'll need to invest in a thermos container. Hates sandwiches? Don't push it - try a tortilla wrap or stackable crackers with cheese and/or lunch meats. I've picked up a fun bento-type lunch box (big on Pinterest), which should work well for Little Boo's grazing style of eating. Finger foods are big with him.
  • Be prepared. Spend some time on Sunday evening preparing components for the week's lunches. Wash and cut fruit and veggies. Package them into individual servings you can grab each morning. Have a snack basket where you can stash your store-bought treats for easy access. I like to take the treats out of their boxes to make morning selection quick.
  • Don't overlook the benefits of leftovers. A leftover slice of pizza from dinner? Cut it up appie style for the bento box, or heat in microwave and wrap in foil in the morning. (The Teen used to love this!) Making chicken nuggets? Throw in a few extra for lunch the next day. If your child loves a hot meal, heat up leftover casserole or soup in the morning and send in a thermos.
  • Take advantage of take-out. Don't throw out the condiment packages you get with take-out meals. Those little packs of ketchup and plum sauce are great for throwing in lunch bags.
  • Don't overwhelm. Little kids especially might be more prone to eat items presented in sizes more suitable to their little hands. I like to cut sandwiches in four squares or into strips (works great with cheese). Cut fruit and veggies into individual bites. Make it easy for your kid to pick up bits and eat while chatting and giggling with his friends.
  • Send variety. I think this is the big one for me. Little Boo can be a picky eater, so if I send small portions of a few options, there's a better chance he'll eat something. Oh. And on that note, don't get frustrated if your kid loves something one week and won't touch it the next. She'll come around again, but it may be that she was getting tired of eating the same thing every day. Even though she may have asked for it!
There are a couple of struggles I find with school lunches - getting my kid to eat at all, and making sure he's eating options with good nutritional value. I can be sure he'll eat the mini chocolate bar or cookies I include, but not so sure the carrots will be consumed.

Enter Mott's. They have come out with a new product, Mott's Fruitsations + Veggie, just in time for back to school.

These gummy snacks come in at 80 calories per pouch, and are gluten-free and naturally flavoured. Each pouch contains 100% of daily recommended Vitamin C. I like that the first ingredient listed is "pear, apple and carrot juice from concentrate." They also contain concentrated blueberry juice. I'm a big fan of sneaking in vegetables wherever I can, and every little bit helps.  I will note that these do have added sugar, but each pouch comes in at just 6% of the recommended daily for carbohydrates, and that seems ok to me, particularly as the snacks are bringing nutritional value along with that sugar, unlike some of the other gummy treats I could include.

Best of all - they're delicious. Little Boo has tried both the Berry and the Assorted Fruit flavours and gave both the thumbs up. I've tested them out as well, and definitely approve.

Be sure to visit the Life Made Delicious Facebook Page where you can enter a contest with three prizes of $500 gift cards up for grabs! That could make a big dent in back-to-school shopping, right?! The contest runs until September 8th, 2013, and is open to Canadian residents only.

While you're there entering the contest, take a moment to request your $0.50 off coupon for Mott's Fruitations + Veggie snacks (while quantities last). Give them a try yourself and let me know what you think!

Disclosure – I am participating in the Mott’s Fruitsations & Veggie fruit snacks Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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