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14 healthy lunchboxes by MOMables.com filled with a fresh sandwich, veggies, fruit, some bunnies.

Fresh and Healthy School Lunches are “IN”

Making a healthy lunch that’s exciting for kids to eat every day can be a challenge. I often get emails from parents letting me know that their kids think veggies are not that fun to eat, that they are tired of making the same foods all the time, and they need a little inspiration!

healthy lunchboxes by MOMables.com filled with a fresh sandwich, veggies, fruit, some bunnies.

This back to school, I’ve teamed up with Annie’s, Applegate, Rudi’s Organic Bakery & Honest Kids bring parents new lunch packing inspiration and simple solutions for building better lunch boxes.

Now in its third year, RockTheLunchBox.com offers simple tools for sharing & grabbing lunch ideas, digital coupons for your favorite products, printable lunchbox notes to stay connected to little ones throughout the day, and fun activities to get your kids excited about real food.

Rock the Lunch Box’s mission is to inspire parents and kids to make better food choices through food education and fun. Isn’t that what we all try to teach our kids as well? What I love is that they also support FoodCorps, a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy.

As you can see, the ingredients in this lunch are all fresh. Granted, that might be a lot of food for a little one, but this definitely is a lunch our teenager will devour! All I do is adjust portions accordingly.

Packing wholesome lunches is an easy task when you have lots of ideas for inspiration and fun tools to make kids happy every time they open the lunchbox. RockTheLunchBox has really cute (free) printable notes you can insert inside the lunch bag and let your little ones know that they are special.

Back to packing the food inside the lunchbox. I typically pack everything the night before, when the kitchen is a mess. I clear an area on my counter and bring out all my ingredients. Once everything is on the counter, I make an assembly line of ingredients and lunchboxes. I make the sandwiches, add fruit, veggies, a treat(my 3 year old loves Annie’s bunnies) and a drink.

building a lunchbox on the counter is easy with fresh ingredients

This week, my daughter has swimming in the afternoons, so even though she won’t finish all her fruit or bunnies at lunch, she can save leftovers for later. Another lunchbox tip is to take the Honest Kids pouch and freeze it. I stick it in the lunchbox as an ice pack and then she enjoys it for after practice.

For more lunch tips, inspiration, coupons and ideas, head over to RockTheLunchbox.com
From time to time, I work with awesome companies to develop recipes for this website.  Today’s post was brought to you by RocktheLunchbox.com. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that encourage my creativity. 



Veggie Mac and Cheese

Are you looking for more kid-friendly veggie recipes? This Veggie Macaroni and Cheese recipe is a winner!

Veggie Macaroni and Cheese Soup Thermos Lunch Idea via MOMables.com

I love thermos lunches. In the fall, winter, and early spring, I try to have a thermos lunch once a week in our school lunch menus. A good thermos school lunch tells my kids that mom wanted them to have a homemade “meal” for lunch that day.

I’ve tried filling them with lasagna, spaghetti, and soups, and they are typically very receptive. On the other hand, should I have the bright idea of filling the thermos with leftover grilled vegetables from dinner, the thermos would come back untouched.

I don’t know what it is about the kids + veggies combination. Why does it have to be so hard to get them to eat more veggies?

Since my kids are very picky, I’m constantly trying to find ways in which I can sneak more of them into their diet (hidden, cooked differently, in their favorite recipe, baked—you name it, I’ll try it).

I love my thermos containers. I can pack a filling lunch that is easy to eat in their 20-minute lunch period.

Some of the other things I’m always keeping in mind when creating MOMables menus are ways to revamp leftovers, help my subscribers stay on a budget, and use real and convenient ingredients.

I wrote a post in this column about why I am on a mission to help others feed their kids better.

One of the reasons the use of more real ingredients in our diet plays a big role is because my daughter is allergic to disodium phosphate and chemically-derived nitrates. For this reason, I don’t buy things that have orange powdered cheese or processed cheese (those triangular chips, orange puffs, blue box mac and cheese, fake block cheese—it seems to be everywhere!) or processed meats cured with chemical nitrates.

If I’m purchasing a “boxed” anything, the product can’t have artificial flavors, synthetic preservatives, or GMO ingredients (the final one is by choice). I thoroughly scan each label before they go in my grocery cart, a quick process that can save me a trip to the emergency room.

Veggie Macaroni and Cheese Soup Thermos Lunch Idea via MOMables.com

As a full-time working mom who often travels, I also have a few items in my pantry that dad can whip up quickly, insert in their lunch, or pull out of the freezer for lunch or dinner.

This soup is a delicious and hearty dinner for the family but also perfect for a school lunch. Last month, I had 368 moms in my recipe-testers group perfect the recipe so your kids could enjoy it too. Bonus: It’s just $1.24 per thermos! Win-win.

4.4 from 5 reviews
Veggie Mac and Cheese
Your kids are going to love this cheesy veggie mac and cheese in their thermos!
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 4-6
With boxed macaroni and cheese:
  • 1 6-ounce box natural or organic macaroni and cheese
  • 1 32-ounce package reduced-sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot blend
  • ¼ cup whole milk or half and half
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
To use pasta:
  • 1½ cups dry macaroni pasta (or other)
  • 1 32-ounce package reduced-sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot blend
  • ¼ cup whole milk or half and half
  • 1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Add the cooked macaroni and cheese to the veggies and broth, add the milk and cheese. Stir well to combine until the cheese is melted, turn off the heat, and serve.

This was a sponsored post by Annie’s Homegrown. All opinions, as always are my own.