Tag Archives for " healthy school lunches "

Lunchbox Wars: Sub Sandwich

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This is a MOMables™ version of a packaged convenience lunch that kids get to “assemble” themselves. 

homemade and healthier version of lunchables with sub sandwich

Our version: fresh whole wheat roll, nitrate free turkey, real cheddar cheese, fresh apple slices, a juicy plum and a pickle.  What’s a fresh sandwich without a pickle?

We know making a sandwich is not rocket science, so why anyone would purchase the packaged version below… we are not sure.  If you’ve wondered what exactly comes in a packaged lunch… check out this post.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested


Boxed Sub Sandwich Lunch ContentsRound 1: Contents

The boxed sub sandwich lunch contains a small loaf of “made with whole grain” bread, pressed turkey luncheon meat, and processed cheese slices, all individually wrapped in plastic, plus a squeeze packet of mayonnaise and a marshmallow crispy rice dessert treat. That’s all.

All I see is processed foods wrapped in plastic = more garbage.

Winner: The MOMables lunch, for being a complete lunch!

I could have included a crispy rice square if I’d made some ahead of time – MOMables™ has a recipe for a healthier version!

Round 2: Nutrition

The boxed lunch, which lacks a vegetable or fruit serving, is not at all what I’d call a good example of a healthy lunch. However, it’s packaging (not shown), boldly advertising it as “made with whole grain”, is an excellent example of misleading terminology. “Made with whole grain” just means there is some whole grain in it. The box claims 8g per serving – which works out to only about 15%. In fact, the first ingredient listed is “enriched bleached wheat flour”, which is just another way of saying white flour.

My MOMables™ remake contains more food groups. The turkey is 100% turkey breast and the cheese is 100% cheddar, not just made with those things. The bread is 100% whole wheat.  And of course, the fruit is 100% fruit. I didn’t measure and weigh this lunch, and the bread came from the bakery, so I’d have to guess about the nutritional content of everything, but to be honest, I’m not as concerned about the numbers with fresh whole foods. If what I pack in my family’s lunches is all good stuff their bodies need, and not fillers, artificial ingredients and preservatives, I feel good that they’ll feel good.
Winner:  The MOMables™ lunch, 100%.

Round 3: Presentation

In the case of food, looks do matter! We eat with our eyes first. The boxed lunch is visually disappointing. It doesn’t look like much – because it isn’t! The MOMables™ lunch on the other hand, full of colorful, fresh, real food, looks much more appetizing.
The MOMables meal looks like a winner!

Bonus Round:  Waste Not

Each ingredient in the store-bought lunch is individually wrapped in plastic. All that trash for one little sandwich, and what a waste of time as well! Kids don’t get a lot of time for lunch these days, they don’t need to waste any of it struggling with excess plastic packaging.

The trash-free homemade lunch is packed in a reusable Laptop Lunches bento box, ready to eat. Winner: the no-waste lunch, no contest.


MOMables for the Win!


Lunchbox Wars: Nachos

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Kids love chips and they love dips.
What parents like are fresh and real ingredients -the MOMables®way. 

I reviewed a store bought boxed nacho lunch and made my own MOMables version. Which do you think can be called nutritious? Get the MOMveeta (cheese dip) recipe here.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested 

Round 1: Contents
The boxed lunch comes with tortilla chips, salsa, and “cheese” dip. I put cheese in quotations because cheese is not even one of the first 3 ingredients listed. It also includes a sugary fruit-flavored drink and a candy (which was prominently advertised on the front of the box, but thankfully, actually quite small – you can just see it peeking out from the chips).

My MOMables nacho lunch, packed in a Laptop Lunches bento lunch box,  contains Newman’s Own salsa, all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO Better Chip tortilla chips, low fat natural refried beans (no lard), real & homemade sharp cheddar cheese dip, and fresh juicy strawberries. Winner: the MOMables lunch made with real food.

Round 2 : Nutrition
The boxed nacho lunch lacks protein, fiber and fruit. The first 3 ingredient of the “cheese” are water, oil, & starch. The salsa, made from tomato paste and seasonings, does count as a vegetable serving, but it has a lot of additives such as high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. The artificially flavored and colored drink contains less than 2% fruit juice – let’s call it sugar+water+color+2% juice.

The MOMables lunch includes a whole fruit portion, and beans for fiber and protein. The cheese dip is made from real cheddar cheese. The all-natural salsa in the MOMables lunch is full of vegetables. Winner: the MOMables™ lunch. 

Boxed Nacho LunchRound 3 : Appeal
The only appeal the boxed lunch had was the colorful box. It also lost points for being difficult to open. The plastic seal was difficult for even me to peel off without sending the contents flying, I doubt a child could have managed it.

My kidlet didn’t want to try the packaged nachos – well, except for the candy – but she ate the MOMables nacho lunch. She loved the sharp cheddar cheese dip, and I loved that I knew it was made with real cheese. When you make it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it!  Winner: The MOMables lunch!

With MOMables lunch menus, putting together a healthy lunch is easy, and you get to choose your own ingredients.

Fresh vs Packaged – Which nacho chip lunch would you rather your child dip into?

The MOMables lunch is a winner!


Lunch Packing for 2, 4, or 28. Here’s How!

Would you get overwhelmed if you had to pack lunches for 28? Don’t worry, I don’t pack this many every day, but I’m going to show you how easy it is to pack lunches for 2, 6, or 20!

I recently volunteered to make lunches for a school that is in the poorest, most-diverse neighborhood in the entire county.

The thought of making 28 lunches could seem daunting, but I’m here to tell you, with a little preparation and helpful ideas from the MOMables menu plan, it went very smoothly!

My daughter and I always bake together on the weekends.  This allows me to be prepared and have ready-made snacks and breakfast items that will suit her gluten-free diet.

We baked up a batch of chocolate chip mini zucchini muffins. They were perfect for a treat in the lunches for the school!

A small amount of time baking = easy, healthy treats for desserts, whether for just your family for the week or to share! Not to mention the bonding time in the kitchen, as well as it being educational teaching fractions and how to read recipes.

We also made MOMables-style Pinwheels for the lunches. A flour tortilla, cream cheese, oven roasted deli turkey, and roll! Little Miss and I prepared these the night before because they are simple to make.

Tip #1:  Set up an assembly line for each step.  Instead of making each individual pinwheel, make all of them at the same time. 

By spreading all the lunch boxes out on our dining table, we were able to quickly fill the EasyLunchBoxes containers with Veggie Straws, fruits, and carrots with dip.

Tip #2:  Sandwiches, wraps, pinwheels, and many other items are easier to slice cleanly after chilling for at least an hour—or until the next morning.

Thanks to my MOMables subscription, making lunches every day for my daughter takes minutes! If I can do it for 28 people, anyone can do it for their family! Having a plan, a shopping list, and a make-ahead tips section saves a lot of time!

Tip #3: Make lunches ahead of time.  Most menu items give tips on keeping the items fresh and reheating suggestions. If you’re able to prepare your menu items, say Sunday afternoon, it can save you time and energy during your busy workweek!

Tip #4: Incorporate leftovers. Another reason MOMables saves me time and money is because they tell me in the menu if I will need chicken, rice, or pasta for a menu item. I can easily cook it at the same time I’m making dinner for my family!

Healthy lunches for 1 or 28, it all comes down to planning! Let MOMables help you get the most out of your time and energy so your family can have the lunches they deserve.

Tip #5: Plan year-round.  Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean your kids aren’t eating lunch!  Even with hectic summer schedules, fresh is still best.  Between June 25th and August 10th, MOMables will share three fresh dinner ideas and two lunch options your family will love.

Planning during the summer helps avoid costly convenience foods and unhealthy drive-thru meals. As always, your weekly download will be filled with prep-ahead tips, five meals and a convenient shopping list.

15 fresh fruit water

How to make aguas frescas: fresh fruit water

With the recent buzz on the hazards of too much sugar in our diets, I’ve found myself looking for ways to trim sugar wherever I can while maintaining a bit of fun.  My boys drink a lot of water, but every now and again they want something different, something sweeter.

fresh fruit water

That’s when I turn to making a pitcher of fresh fruit water.  In the latin community, this is often referred to as “aguas frescas.”  A few slices of lemon, lime and orange makes a glass of cold water even more refreshing. One of our favorite combinations include a few lemon slices along with some sweet, ruby-red strawberries.  Instant strawberry lemonade without all the added sugar!

Try adding some fruit to your child’s lunch box water bottle as a change from the usual juice, milk or (hopefully) water.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

fresh fruit water

A few flavor combination suggestions…

  • Strawberries and lemons
  • Lemon, orange and lime slices
  • Strawberries and blueberries

Make sure your water is chilled and give the lemons, limes or oranges a little squeeze to release the juices as you add them to the water.  Enjoy!

fresh fruit water


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