Monday, September 29, 2014

Let's Do Some Dipping...

My little guy loves peanut butter. He loves the smooth and the crunchy and will eat just about anything with peanut butter in it. Thankfully, he does not have any allergies with peanut butter and he does not attend a "nut free" school. So, he requests the 'ole PB&J quite often. We've tried some of the other nut butters out there like cashew and almond, and he will eat the almond butter (cashew, not so much). But, peanut butter always reigns supreme. One of his favorite snacks at home is apples with peanut butter for dipping, so when I found these peanut butter Jif To-Go cups at the grocery, I just had to get them. So, today's lunch is all about peanut butter dipping...apples, pretzels, and veggies. Yum!!! I might have to duplicate this lunch for myself!!

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
  • Jif To-Go with Granny Smith apples, celery and carrots, and Snyder's Pretzel Spoonz for dipping
  • cheddar cheese cubes
  • Natural Selects hotdog slices

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Fall Y'all...

Happy fall y'all!!! WooHoo!! Fall has finally arrived in the M-town! I am one happy girl. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Bring on the fleece sweatshirts, fuzzy socks, chili, and the beautiful fall foliage. I have to admit, we really did not have a very harsh summer, but I am just so ready for the cool to set in. Fall break is right around the corner, too, and the Hubs, the kidlets, and I are headed to the mountains for a little R&R. And I am super ready for that!

So, this lunch is a little ode to fall. I have this tiny squirrel cutter that is super cute, but it doesn't get much use because it's really too small to make sandwiches. But, it just cried out to me today and said, "Cut the cheese with me please." So, not only did I cut the cheese, but I cut the bologna, too. My little guy would be giggling uncontrollably right about now if he was reading this. You know..."cut the cheese". Anyway, I thought my little squirrel meat and cheese would be perfect for a DIY Fall Lunchable. They are the perfect size to stack on top of a Ritz cracker.

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
  • Natural Selects bologna cut into the shape of a squirrel.....yes, that's supposed to be a squirrel
  • Monterrey Jack cheese cut into the squirrel shape
  • Ritz crackers
  • green olives
  • green and black seedless grapes
  • baby carrots with ranch dressing for dipping in the green cup
I added a fun squirrel and acorn pick for additional cuteness.
Linked to: What's for lunch Wednesday

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Applegate & Yumbox....Win-Win!

Last week, I reviewed the Applegate HALF TIME lunch kit. The lovely people over at Applegate sent me 3 different types of the kit for us to try out and review, and I chose the bologna kit for Z's first lunch since bologna is his favorite deli meat. Today's lunch features the HALF TIME turkey kit packed in the Yumbox. This was a Win-Win all around as Z loved the turkey kit, too, and he loves the Yumbox. You can see my Applegate HALF TIME lunch kit review HERE.

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This lunch is packed in the Yumbox. You can see my Yumbox review HERE.
  • Applegate turkey slices
  • Applegate American cheese 
  • Annie's Buttery Rich crackers
  • Stonyfield strawberry YoKids Squeezers
  • four bean salad
  • strawberries and blueberries
  • green olives
  • Annie's fruit snacks
I add a few fun transportation theme picks for a bit of cuteness.

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Applegate HALF TIME Lunch Kit Review

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Here at The Lucky Lunchbox, I have a goal to provide nutritious and healthy lunches for my son that are packed with a little creative flair. I make his lunches with a variety of fruit (which he eats heartily) and veggies (which he eats not so heartily), and I prefer organic products, although that's not always possible for my budget. I try to make his lunches nutritionally balanced. I miss the mark with this quite often, I admit, but when it comes to deli meats, hotdogs, and such, I always choose products that are of a healthier variety.....meaning they are nitrate free, preservative free, with no hormones or artificial ingredients. 

So often, I think, as parents, we are in such a hurry to come up with lunches for our children that we forego nutrition for convenience. I am definitely guilty of this. But, as a busy parent, I love convenience foods. So, I was very excited to see that Applegate has just launched the first nationally available pre-packed lunch kit, HALF TIME, that features natural and organic ingredients. Let's all say it together....YAY FOR CONVENIENCE!! And, I was even more excited to have the opportunity to review the HALF TIME kit. Look for a fun Applegate HALF TIME kit giveaway soon. 

What is HALF TIME?
HALF TIME is similar in concept to the Lunchables product line. You know.....that meat, cheese, cracker product loaded with nitrates, fillers, and artificial stuff that is packaged in a box. Kids clamor for these, don't they? Well, Applegate HALF TIME combines three of the leading brands in the natural and organic circle...Applegate, Stonyfield, and Annie’s...into one convenient kit. I really like this idea. While I choose to pack my son's lunch every day so that I have control over the quality of the ingredients, there are times that I’d just like to grab a box out of the refrigerator, toss it in his lunch box, and send him on his way. We love Applegate and Annie's products! And I use both of these brands in Z's lunches all the time. Stonyfield is new to us, but, as I expected, very well received by the little guy. 

HALF TIME is designed with kids in mind. There are jokes and games for kids to play on the inside and outside of the box. All of the little plastic packages peel open easily so you do not need scissors or a knife to open them. This is great for older kids that get their lunch ready on their own. Also, the box opens in such a way that it can serve as a makeshift plate. 

The Applegate HALF TIME kit comes in three varieties: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Bologna & Cheese (see above). All three kits include: Applegate Naturals meats, which have no artificial ingredients or preservatives and are antibiotic free; Applegate American cheese made with no added hormones; Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers Strawberry Organic Lowfat Yogurt, and Annie’s Homegrown Buttery Rich Crackers. Each kit also includes either Annie’s Bunny Graham Friends or Annie's Organic Berry Patch Fruit Snacks.
Bologna is Z's favorite deli meat, so I chose the bologna kit to try first. The HALF TIME kit contained 5 slices of bologna, 5 slices of American cheese, 5 buttery crackers, a pack of fruit snacks, and a strawberry YoKids yogurt tube each in its own individual package. Yes, there is a lot of packaging with these kits. Here are all of the contents of the kit laid out (below) and ready for me to assemble Z's lunch. 

Here is the lunch that I made for Z. I included the additional carrots (with ranch dip in the small box), apples, blueberries, and olives to round out his lunch as Z has a very hearty appetite at lunchtime, and the HALF TIME kit was not quite enough food for him. I only gave him half of the Annie's fruit snacks as I limit the amount of sweet treat in his lunch. This kit could easily be tossed into a lunch box unopened though...add an apple and a veggie juice drink with it and you have a nice well-rounded lunch. Z gobbled this lunch up!!! There was one cracker and half a piece of the cheese left. While he ate all of the Stonyfield yogurt Squeezers and said it tasted good, Z told me that he thought it was a bit runny (he is used to Yoplait yogurts that are a much thicker consistency).

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We really like the Applegate HALF TIME kit. As a parent, I appreciate that I don’t have to compromise between convenience and quality because this kit combines trusted brands that are that are already in my refrigerator and pantry. While I would not send this lunch kit with my son to school every day, I think it's a great option for a field trip day, a day at the zoo, or a day when Mama isn't feeling the lunch packing thing. I think we've all been there.

Here is an overview of the things we like about the Applegate HALF TIME kit and some of the points to keep in mind before purchasing: 

Things we like:
  • The HALF TIME kit contains foods that are organic, and are hormone, nitrate, and preservative free.
  • The HALF TIME kit has no artificial colors or flavors.
  • The HALF TIME kit is fun to eat.
  • The HALF TIME box and individual packages are easily opened.
  • The HALF TIME kit is healthy and delicious.
  • The HALF TIME kit is a convenient and healthy lunch option for parents.

Things to consider before purchasing:
  • Price- The HALF TIME kit has a suggested retail price of $4.99....quite pricey for those more budget minded. I found them at my local Target for $4.39. There are many Applegate coupons available on the web, so these would make the kit more affordable.
  • Packaging waste- The HALF TIME kit has a lot of packaging waste.....the box, the individual plastic wrappers, the yogurt tube. I pack my son's lunches in reusable containers so as to eliminate packaging waste, so this was a consideration for me. I did, however, recycle the HALF TIME box and all the wrappers. 
  • Portions- The HALF TIME kit may not be enough food on its own for older kids or kids with larger appetites. More food may need to be included for lunch. I had to include veggies and fruit to round out Z's lunch.

Thank you to Applegate for providing me free samples of the products mentioned in this post. All opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by any form of compensation.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

PB&J on a Stick

Well, the new school year has been rolling along now for a couple of weeks for most of us. Have you hit a lunch packing rut yet, Mamas? You know....another day, another sandwich. Sandwiches are usually that go-to, easy to fix lunch option that moms turn to quite often. And sandwiches are a great lunch choice. But, let's face it, they can be BORING!! Sandwich cutters and stamps can really liven the 'ole sammy up a bit, but have you ever tried putting a sandwich on a stick? It’s a scientific fact, you know, that food is more fun to eat when it’s served on a stick. And a sandwich on a stick is no exception. This is really a fun school lunch idea. I think kids eat first with their eyes. Presentation is everything. If something looks fun, they are a lot more likely to try it out. This skewer is a simple plastic swizzle stick that I bought at Party City. SAFETY ALERT!!!! You might want to clip the pointy end of your skewer or swizzle stick off to make it more kid and school friendly, especially if you have a kidlet that's a fan of knights and pirates. Receiving a midday phone call from your kidlet's teacher that an accidental stabbing incident has occurred at the lunch table would definitely not increase your chances of being the room parent. Oh Boy!!

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This lunch is packed in a Easy Lunch Boxes.
*peanut butter and strawberry all-fruit spread sandwich- I used a few round cereal pieces to separate each sandwich square just for cuteness.
*Snyder's butter pretzel Snaps
*black seedless grapes
*four bean salad
*Yoplait vanilla yogurt with strawberries and blackberries

Linked to:Beneficial Bento/ Fancy Sandwich Friday

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Freeze Dried Green Beans are A-OK...

WooHoo! New veggie like for the little guy....well, sort of! Green beans are probably one of Z's favorite vegetables. I found these Brothers-all-Natural freeze dried green beans the other day and decided to give them a try. WOWZERS!! These things are delicious. Z couldn't get enough of them. They are very crunchy, and the drying process strangely makes them slightly sweet. They have no additives or preservatives and are 100% veggie. These can be rehydrated and used in regular cooking, too. We love all of the Brothers-All-Natural products. Their freeze dried fruit is one of our favorite things to snack on, and we recently tried the new fruit clusters. Yummo!!! Added bonus....the official taste tester of The Lucky Lunchbox (our standard poodle) loves them, too. So, these are a great doggie treat, as well. Win-Win all around!

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
*Natural Selects bologna rolls with frog pick
*Ritz peanut butter crackers
*white cheddar Babybel cheese
*strawberries and peaches
*Brothers-All-Natural freeze dried green beans and red cherry tomatoes

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bologna, Blueberries, and Brownie Brittle

Well, Mamas!! Today's the day!! Are you doing the happy dance yet? The kiddos are back in school. I can hear the sighs of relief now. I know most of you are like me and really do enjoy having your kids home for summer. But, there's just something about being able to go the grocery store without having to threaten your kids fifty-two times for saying, "Mom, I want this! Mom, I want that!" Am I right? So, now it's time to start on that To-Do list that you made back at the beginning of summer and promised yourself  that you were gonna do while the kids were home for summer break. All together now....Yay for back-to-school!!

My kids have been back to school now for a month. We've gotten into our school groove, and things are going pretty well. We've made it through Labor Day, so now it's time to start looking ahead to the cooler weather and fall break. I am soooooo ready for the cool!! Come on fall!!

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes
  • Natural Selects bologna rolls
  • Monterrey Jack cheese cubes
  • Ritz crackers
  • baby carrots
  • strawberries
  • Yoplait yogurt with a blueberry smiley face
  • A small piece of brownie brittle is tucked in beside the yogurt.
Linked to: What's for lunch Wednesday
                 Eats Amazing/ Fun Food Friday

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch: