New Foods and Products for a Healthy School Lunch Box

Naturipe Washed and Ready to Eat Blueberry Packs

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Most of you are at least one week—four for us!—into the new school year. With all of the excitement comes even more fun for some, and for the rest–the dread of packing school lunch. My husband says he doesn’t mind packing lunches. Sometimes I enjoy packing Scarlet’s lunch. And sometimes I wish she would eat the hot school lunch offered. Every year I search high and low for the newest (and nutritious) lunch products that help make life easier, while serving up a lunch that kids will actually want to eat!

New Grab-and-Go Foods for the Lunch Box

Applegate HALF TIME lunch kit--healthier Lunchables

Applegate HALF TIME lunch kits: Pre-packaged lunches get a makeover in these HALF TIME lunch kits. I’ve even bought a few to have on hand for the days I’m playing single mom when my husband is traveling. (Can you say, ‘pass out on the couch from sheer exhaustion by the end of the night’?) Varieties include Turkey & Cheese and Ham &
 Cheese, made with Applegate Naturals meats, American
 cheese, Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers, and Annie’s Homegrown crackers. They also contain either Annie’s Organic Bunny Graham Friends or Annie’s 
Organic Berry Patch Fruit Snacks. Toss in your kid’s favorite fruit or vegetable and they’ll be good to go. Available nationwide at fine food retailers such as Target and Safeway. ($4.99)

Naturipe Washed and Ready to Eat Blueberry Snacks

Naturipe Washed and Ready-to-Eat Snacks: Fresh, washed and ready-to-eat juicy blueberries? Sign me up! My Naturipe friends sent me these life-saving, first-of-its-kind blueberry packs to try out on my family. They are so easy and so convenient. Just grab a pack from the fridge, tear it open and dig in. Pop them into lunch boxes in a second or serve them up for ravenous little mouths after school. Each pack delivers vitamin C, fiber, and beneficial antioxidants called anthocyanins, which contribute to the berry’s blue color. And all for just 20 calories per pack. These packs for pint-size learners are available nationally at Walmart and Safeway, among other food retailers ($2.99 for the 3-pack, $.99-1.29 for the single pack). This post was sponsored by Naturipe.

Harvest Snapeas Lightly Salted

Harvest Snaps: These better-for-you baked snacks offer 5 grams protein, 4 grams fiber and are low in sodium and fat. They are also gluten-free. The Snapea Crisps are comprised of 70% peas and Lentil Snaps are comprised of 65% 
lentils. These are a crunchy, baked alternative to chips.

New Gear to Make Lunch Box Packing Easier

To ensure that everything fits, it’s all about all-in-one lunchbox sets.

Rubbermaid LunchBlox Salad Kit for school lunch boxes

Rubbermaid LunchBlox: I love how these containers stack compactly to stay organized. These sets come in a variety of configurations with secure lid seals. The salad set keeps lettuce light and hydrated, nuts crunchy, and salad dressing tightly sealed, all in their own compartments. They are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe—yes! And BPA-free.
 The Blue Ice pack keeps lunches cool for hours. ($9.99-$16.99)

Pack-It Cooler lunch bags for healthy school lunch boxes

Pack-It: Our family has been enthusiastically using the Pack-It for three years. Just when I thought this cooler bag that keeps food cold for up to 10 hours couldn’t get any better, now it has a zipper closure to keep cold air in. I love how the gel ice packs are built right into the walls of the cooler, and with no gel leakage. You just wipe it to clean, fold it and freeze the entire bag. How cool is that? ($19.99)

What’s New with Tried-and-True Lunch Box Staples

SuperButter Vanilla Bean sunflower butter peanut-free

SuperButters: Sunflower seed butter is a staple in our house, since school snacks must be nut-free. Plus, it just plain tastes good. These SuperButters offer a new spin on sunflower seed spread, made with flaxseed and chia seed. Find them on Amazon ($5.99-6.99).

Dick and Jane Educational Snack cookies

Dick and Jane Educational Snacks: These all-natural, nut-free cookies are wholesome treats, made with whole-grain flour as the first ingredient and good ole’ sugar. One of the coolest parts is that they are imprinted with educational tidbits like numbers, Spanish-English and state capitols. They are also great for classroom treats and parties. Available through Amazon.

Images courtesy of respective food companies.

Disclosure: Naturipe compensated me for my time to write and include them in this post. I received all of the other products as free media samples to test out on my family.

 

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California Avocado Breakfast Casserole with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes, and Giveaway!

California Avocado Breakfast Casserole with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes

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This casserole showcases the versatility of avocados–baked for breakfast. Whip up this vibrant casserole the next time you’re serving brunch, or bake it the night before to have at the ready for early risers. Each serving provides an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, a good source of calcium and iron, and contains 10 grams of protein, providing a satisfying way to start your day.

Avocado Giveaway!

Updated 9/16/14: Congratulations to Melanie Jewell for winning the gift basket! Thank you everyone, for your entry.

The California Avocado Commission kindly provided me with a … More...

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How to Lower the Sodium in Your Recipes While Kicking Up the Flavor

Sunkist Lemon-Spiced Tilapia Tacos, by culinary spokesperson Michelle Dudash

Hi all! I can’t believe how long it has been since my last blog post. My apologies. I’ve been so busy creating recipes for clients and enjoying my summer that I forgot to share my latest and greatest with you. And today I brought my daughter to her first day of kindergarten–a bittersweet day in many ways. It is exciting for her and our family that she is growing up, yet sad that school starting means that summer has ended. Well, at least for me anyway. If you are wondering about my other summer adventures and musings, I invite you … More...

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Food Styling Secrets from Clean Eating Author Featured in Edible Phoenix

Chef Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian spokesperson and mom

I was delighted to be featured in the Summer 2014 edition of Edible Phoenix in the article “Looks Good Enough to Eat”, by my friend and registered dietitian Sharon Salomon, MS, RD. She delves into the minds of food stylists, as they spill their secrets, tips and tricks for creating mouthwatering food images. I share the history behind one of the trickiest photographs in my book.

Read the full article here.

 

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Finalist on The Chew Hosts Cooking Demo and Book Signing in Surprise, AZ

Michelle Dudash on The Chew

Michelle Dudash with Michael Symon and Clinton Kelly on The Chew

The Chew‘s “Search for the Weight Watchers Chef” finalist, Chef Michelle Dudash will be co-hosting a cooking demo and book signing! Clean eating expert Michelle Dudash will be talking healthy recipes and quick waist-slimming tips that fit your current Weight Watchers plan. Open to the public, bring your non-perishable food items, some friends, and cooking questions to this fun cooking demo and buy your copy of Clean Eating for Busy Families.

When: Monday, April 28, 2014 6:30 PM-8:00 PM

Where: Weight Watchers at Grand Village, 14537 W. Grand

More...
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Clean Eating Twitter Chat This Wednesday! And my Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Mint & Oregano

Clean Eating Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Feta, Olives, Mint & Oregano

Hi, all. I hope you’ve been enjoying reading my book these past few weeks. And hopefully you have it permanently sitting on your kitchen counter like I do, cooking from it and getting it dirty!

Have you had a chance to cook any of the recipes? This week I’m sharing one of my favorite salads for making a big batch of and enjoying for lunch for the week: Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Feta Cheese, Olives, Mint & Oregano. You can take it with you on days you work outside the home, or just grab a bowl in a snap while … More...

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Virtual Book Club Part 1: Clean Eating for Busy Families

Clean Eating Pinto and Kidney Bean Tamale Pie

Hi all! Hopefully by now you’ve all dived into reading my book Clean Eating for Busy Families. If not, it’s pretty easy to at least peruse the introductory chapter on clean eating.

What are your thoughts so far about Clean Eating for Busy Families?

The number one question I hear is, “What is clean eating?” Clean eating is enjoying whole foods in their least processed state, as well as opting for in-season food produced as close to home as possible, whether that means in your country, region, state, nearby farmers market or even your back yard.

What does … More...

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Cake for Breakfast? New Social Media Report Reveals What America Eats for Breakfast

Cake image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/bplanet

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Image: Freedigitalphotos.net/bplanet

I admit that I’ve eaten cake for breakfast (like an appetizer before my first meal) on the day after my birthday. Come to find out, I’m not alone. The national Got Milk? campaign and social media experts Crimson Hexagon recently released a social media report spanning two years and 20 million breakfast tweets that uncovered the good, the bad and ugly of what Americans are eating and tweeting about for breakfast.

Here are stats from the report that I found most interesting:

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net/Pong

The top four beverages consumed are coffee, tea, milk and juice – … More...

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Finalist on The Chew Hosts Cooking Demo and Book Signing in Scottsdale

Michelle Dudash on The Chew

Michelle Dudash with Michael Symon and Clinton Kelly on The Chew

The Chew‘s “Search for the Weight Watchers Chef” finalist, Chef Michelle Dudash will be co-hosting a cooking demo and book signing! Clean eating expert Michelle Dudash will be talking healthy recipes and quick waist-slimming tips that fit your current Weight Watchers plan. Open to the public, bring your non-perishable food items, some friends, and cooking questions to this fun cooking demo and buy your copy of Clean Eating for Busy Families.

When: Monday, March 31, 2014 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

Where: Weight Watchers at Agua Caliente 6990 E.

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Announcing Virtual Clean Eating Book Club Event on Michelledudash.com!

Michelle Dudash, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families

Virtual Clean Eating Book Club

I am delighted to announce that I have partnered with Better World Books to host my first ever virtual book club! Naturally, we will be discussing my cookbook Clean Eating for Busy Families. In addition to sharing and learning about clean eating, every participant will get the chance to win one of five fabulous prizes:

One grand prize:

  • Copy of Clean Eating for Busy Families
  • $50 gift card to Whole Foods Market (one of my favorite grocery stores)
  • Wusthoff Grand Prix Santoku knife, which is my favorite knife in my kitchen

Four runner-up prizes:… More...

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