Lunch Box Essentials: Best Snacks for Kids at Aldi

Since I just got back from grocery shopping at Aldi, I have snacks for kids and lunch box essentials on the brain. As we round the bases to the end of the year, lunchbox duties, at least in our house, start to get a bit routine. Always looking to jazz up the lunch box and snacks, I thought I’d round up some of our favorite snacks from our favorite grocery store.

BestSnacksforKidsfromAldi

If you’re not familiar with Aldi, they’re a thriving grocer that’s has been a long standing favorite in Europe. We love Aldi for their small footprint—typically 5 aisles—making grocery shopping a quick in-and-out errand. They’ve committed to refreshing their overall look and selection:

which includes an expanded selection of fresh and organic produce, rolling out Healthier Checklanes that offer smarter options at checkout, and continuing to grow its product lines to offer better-for-you options for families to enjoy, including more gluten-free options and a range of products free of additives, antibiotics and added hormones. 

Here are just a few of the many snacks from Aldi that are currently on our lunch box and after school snack rotation:

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White Cheddar Puffs

Aldi’s White Cheddar Puffs are a great cheesy snack that isn’t too filling. The fun flavor of the Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs won the Product of the Year Awards, solidifying them as a favorite pick for lunch boxes. If you’re familiar with that ubiquitous “pirate snack,” then you’re familiar with this style of puff. No dyes or other artificial ingredients, you seriously can’t go wrong with Simply Nature’s White Cheddar Puffs.

 

Fresh Fruit

I love the inexpensive fresh fruit options at Aldi. From the $2 bananas to the $2 blueberries to the $3 organic apples, there’s always a colorful selection of fresh fruit that are perfect for snacks. Fresh fruit are the original snacks on the go, so you can’t go wrong when grabbing a bag of ripe tangerines!

ALDI Organic Produce

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Mini Bear Grahams

Some of our absolute favorite items from Aldi are the great selection of pre-packaged snacks for lunch boxes. The Mini Bear Graham Snack Packs in honey are a great size for 2 kids’ lunch boxes for the week, with a few to spare for me to pop in my bag for when we’re on the go. The flavor is sweet, but not too sugary sweet. These mini crackers are perfectly sized for littles and bigs’ lunch boxes! 

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Happy Farms Cheese Snacks

We’re huge cheese eaters in our house, so I love knowing that our cheese from Aldi is free of unnecessary additives and hormones. The prepackaged cheese snacks are super easy to pop into lunch boxes for a quick bite. I love that there are several flavors beyond the usual mozzarella string cheese. 

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Vegetable Chips

Vegetable Chips is another staple in my weekly grocery trip. This blend of chips includes sweet potato, taro, batata and parsnips. A healthier alternative to regular potato chips, vegetable chips satisfy the crunchy salty cravings. As part of the Simply Nature brand, the vegetable chips are free from artificial ingredients and preservatives.

There are so many other awesome snacks and treats that are suitable for kids, so these are just a few from our favorites list. If you shop at Aldi, what are your favorites? 


Full disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. We love sharing the things we love. Thanks for supporting NKT!

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Comfi-Neck Bibs

Like so many of you, I’m very brand-loyal, especially when it comes to products for my kids and gifts for friends and family’s kids. Tommee Tippee for years has been a mainstay in our home. From bottles to feeding supplies, we’ve always used tommee tippee products because they’ve worked for us. I even searched the archives for a baby Josh wearing a Comfi Neck Bib.

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Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature Comfi Neck Bibs are just some of the many feeding products that I’ve always used for my babies, and they’re staples for baby shower gifts. I love the soft texture of these bibs which are 80% cotton and 20% polyester. They’re soft and suitable for sensitive skin, which is something I always appreciated.

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The newer line of Comfi Neck Bibs are reversible, which gives the bibs a little splash of color and style and added functionality. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to flip over bibs to extend the wear because it’s all I had in my diaper bag.

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Speaking of functionality, the cushioned neck—hence the Comfi part—are such a smart feature for bibs. Both of my babies were major dribblers, so whether they were being bottle-fed or breast-fed, their dribbles were absorbed before dripping to their neck. The easy velcro fasteners are soft and subtle; it works quietly when it counts.

There are several colors and styles to choose from in the Comfi-Neck Bib line. The Comfi-Neck Bibs can be found at major retailers where Tommee Tippee products are sold.

Full disclosure: I was provided a sample and compensation to provide this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

KidzVuz Back to School Bash

Heat wave aside, school lists and back to school bargains are starting to roll out! Thank goodness for our friends at KidzVuz, we had the chance to check out more back to school trends at their recent Back to School event.

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At KidzVuz’ events I love bringing along my bigger guy to help scope out all the cool stuff. This time around though, my guy was busy with summer sports, so I attended solo. Nevertheless, I met with so many great brands, two new brands had young spokespeople and entrepreneurs at the helm. 

 

LuckyBar

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LuckyBar protein bars was a product of a mom’s ingenuity. When one of her sons wasn’t eating much, she was elated when he ate a protein bar. Because of this, she wanted to share these bars with other families so that kids could enjoy a great tasting protein bar while placating a finicky palate. I absolutely enjoyed the Chocolate Campfire and it was no surprise that my own finicky eater devoured the LuckyBar sample I brought home. I had the chance to chat with the founder’s son, which I’ll share in another post.

Classroom Direct

 

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Back to school also means shopping for new supplies, not only for students, but for teachers, too! Classroom Direct is a one-stop online shop for teachers’ supplies, school supplies and other educational supplies. I loved learning that Classroom Direct has all kinds of learning resource supplies for teachers such as Common Core Curriculum kits and posters; classroom management tools such as, really cool timers, certificates and charts; and even gear and supplies for special needs students. I loved checking out the sensory animals stuffed with a beady-like material. They were a bit weighted, so toys like these double as tools for students with sensory issues. 

 

 

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Juicy Juice

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Never one to miss out on delicious snacks and treats, I loved that Juicy Juice was at the Kidz Vuz Back to School event. I loved having a chance to taste the Juicy Juice Splashers, which is a mix of filtered water and juice. Juicy Juice Splashers has 50% less sugar, no added sweeteners and definitely no high fructose corn syrup or unnecessary colors. Flavors in the Juicy Juice Splashers line up include: Berry Lemonade, Peach Mango and Tropical Twist. I had the Tropical Twist and couldn’t get enough.

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Zandra

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I have to say, meeting Zandra and testing out this young entrepreneur’s line of natural beauty products was probably the highlight of the KidzVuz Back to School event. I loved learning that she started her business after constantly asking her dad for new lip balm, and frustrated with buying her so many lip balms, he told her to research and make her own. And she did.

IMG 4383The fact that Zandra researched the benefits of natural ingredients and fragrances makes her products even better. Her big balms, sugar scrubs, soaps and lotions boast delicious scents such as: Almond Alfresco, Japanese Kumquat, Lavender Vanilla Chai, Lemon Tea Tree and For the Love of Mint. These products are currently available Be on the look out for Zandra’s Beauty Products at select retail locations and online because they are absolutely divine!

 

Philips 

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The Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush for kids is one of my all time favorite toothbrushes for my guys. The brush allows for personalization, as well as a powered, more efficient toothbrushing experience,  with upwards to 500 strokes per second. The built in timer is helpful, especially for those brushers who finish after 3 seconds of brushing. Need even more help to get the kids brushing their teeth with more care? There’s an app for that!

 

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Philips has an interactive app for kids to brush along with, to help them keep the task at hand while coaching and motivating them along the way. What’s even cooler? The Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush for kids has a super cool Ice Age themed brush to go hand in hand with the latest release of Collision Course. 

Mabel’s Labels

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As always, KidzVuz has such a fun swag bag filled with gear and gadgets to try out on our own to share on our sites. I love that Mabel’s Labels Write Away Labels found their way into the bags. These handy labels are durable labels that can be customized by you. These writeable, self-laminating labels are perfect for when you don’t necessarily need a singular name to label your belongings. I often use these for containers that my boys use interchangeably. 

Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am being compensated to share my experience at the KidzVuz BTS Event, however all opinions on NKT are my own. 

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wontons

Happy Chinese New Year, friends. And for those who celebrate, Gun Hay Fat Choy!

The Chinese New Year, as many of you know, is a time for reflection and celebration for a year of hard work. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, and according to China Highlights, 

Characteristics of those born in the year of the “fire monkey” include being “ambitious and adventurous, but irritable.”

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Since we’re all about cooking with the kids, I developed a recipe that’s friendly for bigger kids. With the Super Bowl this past weekend, I combined wontons and an American favorite, Buffalo Chicken. By combining these flavors with cheese, we came up with an appetizer that’s great for parties and gatherings. Wonton is a flour product made by stuffing and then steaming, boiling or frying. 

  

According to Kaleidoscope.China: 

Wonton has a long history. There existed numerous wonton restaurants in cities in the Tang and Song Dynasties. Wonton was featured by clear soup and delicate stuffing at that time. Its fineness was ever appraised by poets and was hard to achieve by common people. In ancient times, it was a custom in some regions to eat wonton on the midwinter day


Buffalo Chicken Wontons

 

Ingredients
2-3 chicken breasts
half of a bottle of hot sauce such as Frank’s or your favorite wing sauce 
half of a packet of powdered ranch dressing mix
1 cup of fresh mozzarella, diced
2 egg whites
1 pack of wonton wrappers

 

First, cook 2-3 chicken breasts in your favorite buffalo sauce. I threw 3 chicken breasts in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. 

  

I added half a bottle of hot sauce and half a packet of ranch dressing mix.

Once it’s done cooking, dice the chicken. It will most likely shred easily, but you’ll need shorter pieces for wrapping into the wonton. Add any excess buffalo sauce to the chicken mix.

Next, dice fresh mozzerella into smaller squares. Again, you’ll need them small enough to stuff them into the wonton. Scramble 2 eggwhites to use as your wonton seal. Place a teaspoon of buffalo chicken mix into the center of a wonton wrapper. Place several pieces of cheese into the mix.

  

Brush egg white onto the perimeter of the wrapper.

Fold the wrapper over to make a triangle. Seal the wonton by firmly pressing sides. These are pretty easy to form—so easy that the kids can get in on the fun!

I folded the points over into the center to create a smaller pillow shape. Secure points with a dab of egg whites.

Fry prepared wontons in high oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Wontons will bubble and float to the top when they’re ready to be flipped. Fry until golden brown.

  

Serve hot with ranch or Bleu Cheese!

The taste of the buffalo sauce is pretty subtle and not too spicy, so they were pretty enjoyable for my spice-afraid kids. If your family loves Buffalo Chicken like we do, this twist on wontons is a must-try!

Check out our video to see how easy Buffalo Chicken Wontons are to make:

Healthy Snack: Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

One of our absolute favorite snacks around here are smoothies. Smoothies for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, an after school snack—it doesn’t matter the time of day, we love our smoothies. We’ve been known to listen to the blender demo people at Costco, watching them blend entire carrots at a time. I’ve been swooning over high power blending technology for quite some time, so imagine the thrill it was to get a first hand demo of Panasonic’s MX-ZX1800 high power blender. 

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This blender has the capacity to chop, cream, blend, heat, grind, churn—pretty simplify things in the kitchen. 

For our first foray with this amazing appliance, we gave a tried and true smoothie recipe a whirl with a bit of a seasonal twist. The mango pomegranate smoothie is a tart but sweet snack and makes a great complement for breakfast. 

 

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The citrus and Vitamin C provided by the mango and orange juice is ideal for prime cold and flu season. The pomegranate, which is in season, is such an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber and more Vitamin C. The seeds not only add a little color, but also a sweet juicy flavor. The kids love digging into this smoothie and crunching the seeds.

A few pointers for opening the pomegranate: slice one end, score the fruit from top to bottom 3-4 times around and then wiggle a knife on the end where it was sliced to pop open the fruit. Place the opened fruit in a bowl and scoop out seeds with a spoon.

 

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If I do say so, this tastes even better than my local smoothie shop! My favorite part of this recipe is the ease and minimal effort for such a creamy treat.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen mango cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 

Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. I like putting the mango at the bottom to ensure it gets chopped just so.

 

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MangoPomegranateSmoothieYogurt

 

When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture.

 

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Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Serve with a handful of pomegranate seeds and enjoy!

 

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Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

 

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1 cup frozen mango cubes

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 

 

Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture. Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Tommee Tippee Tableware Streamlines Travel for Families on the go

Like many families, we spend a lot of time on the road in the summer. Whether it’s visiting grandparents out of town or heading to the beach, we’re always on the go, and rely on gear that helps us get to where we’re going. 

 

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I can’t tell you how many meals we have when we’re on the road: granola bars before rugby practice, Go Go Squeeze before swim meets and, yes, even cereal with milk on the road down to Va. Like most toddlers, my 3 year old is still perfecting his eating skills, so he needs tools that help him accomplish those tasks. Tommee Tippee has a great range of feeding tools that work so well for families on the go.

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Tommee Tippee’s Easi-Roll bib is my all-time favorite bib for my kid, and as gifts for baby showers. This super-practical bib is softer, yet durable and easy-to-clean after the messiest meals. I love that you can put the bib into the dishwasher after eating. The best thing about this best is that you can roll and tuck it right into your diaper bag or carry-on to have it accessible for road trips or any time you’re eating on the go.

 

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TT’s Section Plates remain a mainstay for all meals at our home. These plates are sectioned off into three compartments, making it easy to portion food for toddlers and keep them from not touching! Unlike other toddler plates, this plate has an ergonomic shape that makes it ideal for little hands to grasp (when they’re not snoozing, that is!)

 

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Pop Up Storage Cups always come in handy for road trips. In addition to Goldfish or Cheerios, we love throwing my toddler’s little collectible toys in the Pop Up Storage Cups. Whether it’s little bouncy balls or crayons for his coloring books, the Storage Cups are great to contain items to keep within reach in the car. Added extra: they fit perfectly in the car and booster seats’ cupholders.

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Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls are another fave for summer excursions. Some mornings in the summer, we start our days early to get prime spots at the beach. This often means we’re eating breakfast in the car, which is where the Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls with Lid and Spoon come in handy. C’mon, whomever thought of stashing the spoon in the lid is a genius!  When we don’t misplace the lids, these bowls are ideal for easy eating at the beach.

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Do you have any favorite gear that helps you when you’re on the road? Whatever you’re up to this summer, I hope you streamline your travels with easy-to-use gear when you’re on the go.

 

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am being offered compensation for my time and effort. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Highlights from The New York Baby Show

Eight years ago when I started this site, I was inundated with baby gear research. Like many other parents, I spent hours researching the best products for my own baby. That research ultimately led to the creation of The Next Kid Thing.

All these years later, one of my most favorite things is attending shows, especially ones that showcase cool new gear and goodies. Last weekend, the kids and I made our way to Pier 92 for the New York Baby Show.

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photo credit: Momtrends

Quickly becoming one of my favorite baby shows, this year’s New York Baby Show didn’t disappoint. This year’s show featured more than 140 exhibitors for expectant and new parents to meet and learn all about. Alongside of the expansive list of exhibitors, the New York Baby Show rounded out their weekend-long show with sessions conducted by parenting experts and other informative sessions. Twiniversity and NYC Dads Group, two organizations that I proudly call my friends, were among the experts who led sessions. 

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photo credit: Momtrends

And speaking of friends, new this year to New York Baby Show was the Blogger Lounge hosted by our friends at Momtrends. As always, Momtrends knows how to host a fun soiree; it was a treat that manis and blowouts were offered by the Glam Squad.

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photo credit: Momtrends

Before hitting the floor at the show, bloggers were treated to lunch, some glam and had the chance to meet several brands before the show. The Blogger Lounge also provided childcare courtesy of the Nanny League, which was basically a two hour playdate for Littles.

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 photo credit: Momtrends

So, while Littles was hanging out at the childcare area, Biggie and I walked the showroom floor to meet and great with the exhibitors. Biggie was my photographer for the evening, and he was able to capture photos as I networked.

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I loved the way many of the companies interacted with him as he took pictures, but my favorite was when we approached Canon’s booth. Canon, the presenting sponsor of the New York Baby Show, was on hand to showcase several of their latest cameras, including the beautiful and wifi-enabled 70d and T6i models.

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photo credit: Jack Bertram

As I spoke to one of the Canon reps to share my longtime love for their products, another gentleman was so nice to engage with Bigs. He asked to see his photos and made him giggle while I ogled.

Back to the babies: there were so many favorite brands at this show, so it was almost impossible to visit every booth. But here are just a few of the many brands that we loved visiting at the New York Baby Show:

My friends at Regal Lager had a spectrum of beautiful Cybex gear, but the innovative Cloud carseat was my absolute favorite. IMG 9597

photo credit: Jack Bertram

This thing grows with baby; it’s incredible. Love to Dream swaddles promote the arms up sleeping position that many babies naturally love. The textiles for these swaddles are so soft and pure. I love recommending these super practical swaddles and sacks to all of my new mom friends.

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I loved stopping by the Babyganics booth to check out their growing product line. Their sunscreens and hand sanitizers are staples in my beach bag.

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Shea Moisture is another personal favorite that I loved meeting. The Mommy scrub is so perfect for expectant moms and even ones who, like me, just love the smell and feel of this delicious scrub.

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photo credit: Jack Bertram


I was excited to see Nordic Naturals exhibiting at this show because I JUST bought their Children’s DHA liquid which comes highly recommended for kids with speech delays. I add a few drops into Little’s smoothies and voila! I’ve noticed a difference since he started the drops, and I’m thrilled that this liquid seems to be gentler on his sensitive stomach. Nordic Naturals offers a range of supplements applicable for all members of the family.

 

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photo credit: Jack Bertram

I met lots of newcomers at this show, which is always exciting. I can’t wait to learn more about this crib mattress, these snacks and this cool new family camp in Vermont. 

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One newcomer that I wasn’t able to meet was the stroller company, gb. I wanted to get a closer look at the Qbit, which appears to be a smaller stroller that would work well for city families. 

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 If I had an unlimited amount of time, I would have loved to walk the show for another day to meet the other exhibitors that were too busy to chat. The New York Baby Show is a fabulous forum for expectant and new families to learn, shop and engage with family-centric exhibitors. What I truly appreciate about this show is that the whole family can enjoy the day together. 

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The two-day format on the west side allows for show-goers to truly take in all that this show has to offer, from information sessions to visiting all the booths to taking a stroll on the test track. If you’re pregnant or have a new baby and want to check out the latest and greatest, be sure to put the New York Baby Show on the must-do list.

A big thank you to Momtrends and New York Family for having us this year. As always, I enjoyed covering this show and look forward to sharing more.
 
Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am being compensated for sharing my experience. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

8 Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Ideas

Now that Spring is in full swing, I’ve already started to hear the collective sigh of students, parents and teachers in regards to the end of the school year. It’s been a long year, and many of us are ready for the carefree days of summer. But, not so fast! If you’re like us, we still have a good two months to go until we bid adieu to the school days.

So, what to do when you’re all exhausted with the school routine—well, besides go on a vacation. Aside from re-engaging in homework and getting outdoors, renewing the excitement of the school day can be as simple as refreshing the lunchbox. School lunches shouldn’t complicate life, but instead, make it a little lighter.

With that, I thought I’d round up a few delicious goodies that we’re currently craving and coveting for our lunchbox. 

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1. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars

These delicious fig bars have been around for quite sometime, but they’ve become even more accessible as of late. As an avid Costco shopper, I first picked up a multi-pack of these fig bars and we all fell in love with the taste. These bars are made with stone wheat, are free of GMOs and come in several tasty flavors like apple-cinnamon, raspberry and blueberry.

2. Grapefruits

Grapefruits are rich in Vitamin C and a great source of lycopene, which makes this citrus fruit a delicious treat for kids. An alternative to oranges, grapefruits provide a tart, but refreshing taste to a Spring lunchbox.

3. Sistema containers

Since I picked up my first container for back to school last year, Sistema has been popping up more places. In fact, I’ve been eyeing the different sizes and colors at my local HomeGoods. These compact BPA-free plastic containers are ideal for packing small portions and eliminating all the excess wrappers and Ziploc bags.

4. Contigo Stainless Steel Autospout Flip Chill Kids’ Water Bottle

We have the plastic Flip Chill Kids’ Water Bottle, which is a great refillable water bottle for my preschooler. Instead of juice boxes, we’ve been trying to drink more water every day. We need to be hydrated to keep us going through the day! This Stainless Steel version of the Autospout Flip Chill Kids’ Water Bottle is sleek, practical and spill-free.

5. Fruttata Tropical Freeze Dried Fruits

Nothing will ever beat the taste of fresh fruits, but Fruttata Freeze Dried Fruits comes close. These freeze dried fruits are virtually mess-free and ideal for lunch boxes and kids on the go. Once again, I love that there’s a Costco sized bag available because once you have one, these crisps go quick!

6. The Best Homemade Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes

I’ll admit, I’ve been slacking on lunches now that the school year is winding down. So, when I’m feeling uninspired, I love checking out this practical recipe book for homemade lunches. Written by Laura Fuentes, known for Momables, presents a lot of easy, but delicious lunches that anyone can do.

7. Crustache Mustache Shape Crust Cutter

Even boring sandwiches taste a little better when they look fun. We can’t get enough of the Crustache Mustache Shape Crust Cutter because, well, mustaches.

My only complaint about this cool sandwich cutter is that it’s small, so when I’m cutting a larger sandwich almost half of the bread is cut off. Other than that, who can resist a mustache sandwich?

 

8. Peanut Butter & Co.

These delicious gourmet peanut butters from Peanut Butter & Co. are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. I recently received a jar of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter in a gift bag from the Home press junket since they partnered in a promotion for the film. We had this peanut butter on toasted raisin bread and we couldn’t have enough. If your kid’s school isn’t peanut free, this would be a great option for a sweet treat for lunch. Who am I kidding? This delicious peanut butter is perfect for any time of the day.

 

Ruby Rocket’s Shares Healthy Snacking Options with Philip’s Academy in Newark, NJ

It may be frigid and gray outside, but things at Philip’s Academy are quite vibrant and full of energy.  Last week, I had the unique opportunity to visit Philip’s Academy, a charter school in Newark, to cover an assembly on nutrition and healthy snacking presented by Ruby Rockets.

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Ruby Rockets, a frozen snack brand known for its naturally sweet, non-GMO veggie and fruit pops, presented an informational presentation to eager students. The brand, who aligns with making nutritional choices, suggested to the grade schoolers that making healthier snack options has many benefits.  The brand, which boasts snacks that don’t contain any extras such as added sweeteners, artificial coloring or chemicals, presented a slideshow with healthy snacking guidelines. 

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For healthier options, Ruby Rockets suggests that snacks should:
  • be low in sugar, contain sugar from fruit and veggies only
  • have a 2:1 ratio between carbs and protein
  • high in dietary fiber
  • have around 200 calories
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After the informational presentation, the children at Philip’s Academy were treated to Ruby Rockets as a dessert following their lunch. Many of the children were excited about tasting Ruby Rockets for the first time. Representatives from Ruby Rockets presented the kids with the naturally colorful frozen treats and were greeted with elation from all corners of the cafeteria.

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The students at Philip’s Academy are no stranger to making healthy choices. The school has a curriculum-based initiative that follows many environmental and sustainable concepts with its innovative EcoSpaces program. As part of EcoSpaces, the school has its own rooftop garden and maintains an AeroFarm, which is a hydroponic garden that doesn’t require sun or soil.

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As part of the program, the students’ lessons about sustainability, urban farming and their healthy lunch program is reinforced with hands-on exposure in their teaching kitchen. The students’ salad bar is a unique feature of the cafeteria. It was quite inspiring to see so many children enjoy a spectrum of vegetables and fruits.

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Ruby Rockets wanted to partner with Philip’s Academy because they felt that they were a good fit since their EcoSpaces program reinforced what they were doing.  

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When Frank Mentesana, EcoSpaces Director at Philip’s Academy, saw Ruby Rockets’ ingredients and understood their mission, he agreed that they were in line with what they were trying to do.  In fact, “we make smoothies all the time—almost all the time.  I looked at their ingredients and they sound like our ingredients,” Mentesana said. “I saw they had beets in one of their pops. We do a beet and berry smoothie. We do a spinach and kale smoothie. This was a great opportunity for the kids to see snacks alternatively. We also do tastings and those ingredients are on our menu and appear in different forms. For example, they’ll try beets six different ways. So, they may not like beets one way, but they may like it another way.”

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And because the dining room is also used as a classroom for the students at Phillip’s Academy, the conversation that started at the assembly with Ruby Rockets was a topic of discussion during and after lunch.

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As an outsider looking in, I admired the way things were run at the school. Not only was the EcoSpaces program mind-blowing, but I thought the interaction between students and educators was inspiring. Overall, the school exuded such positivity and seemed like a model for a cohesive learning and teaching environment. I think I came away learning more about urban farming and the EcoSpaces curriculum, considering how the students were so well-versed with healthy eating. 

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When asked what their favorite part about Ruby Rocket’s frozen snacks one intuitive student told me: “I love that these pops have natural colors and sugars from the fruits and vegetables.”

 

What grade schooler says that?  Super smart ones who are a reflection of their learning environment.

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Well, there you have it: this, my friends, was a prime example of students schooling adults. After spending a day with these students, I feel the need to boost my beet intake! 

 

A big thank you to Philip’s Academy for welcoming me to cover this assembly and event, and to Ruby Rockets for letting me be a part of this conversation on healthy snacking.

 

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Ruby Rockets come in Rock-it Red, Orbit Orange and Galaxy Green. The frozen snacks can be found at retailers such as Wegmans and Stop and Shop.

 

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my time and efforts. Opinions on NKT are my own, just as healthy snacking is always encouraged.

Valentine’s Day Goodies: Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates

If I’m going to review something, then it might as well be delicious! Lucky us, we were sent a selection of very delicious chocolates and candies from Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates

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These were some of the most delicious gourmet chocolates I’ve ever had. They’re rich and smooth, with beautiful packaging to boot. And because we know so many friends with nut allergies, it’s great to know that a company such as Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates provides allergy friendly confections.

 

My favorites are a toss up between the Crispy Rice Chocolates and the Valentines Drops. The beautiful chocolates and candy that we were sent to review for Valentine’s Day are reasonably priced. I appreciate that they’re affordable, yet gourmet quality chocolates suitable for your Valentine or your little sweeties!

We had fun doing a little video in honor of these delicious chocolates. Check it out!

 

 

Beyond Valentine’s Day, Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates has an expansive selection of chocolates and other treats, perfect for those on the hunt for nut-free confections.