The end of summer brings the start of another school year. Parents can keep kids excited about school instead of sad about the end of summer by making their bagged lunches anything but boring. While packed school lunches need to be healthy and satisfying, a little creativity can ensure kids will not only eat them but that they will actually look forward to them every day! Here are some of our favorite tips and ideas for healthy, kid-friendly lunches that will never get traded.
Think outside the bread. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional PB&J, but sandwiches every single day can quickly become boring. Mix it up a bit with some healthy alternatives like veggie-loaded pita pizzas and thermoses full of hearty, homemade soups once the weather turns cooler. If your child enjoys a sandwich but you want to keep it interesting, use cookie cutters to press out fun shapes. You can also do this with fruits and cheeses.
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Remember that kids love dips, so pack a small container of ranch dressing for the veggies or a yummy sauce for the chicken cubes and slices of summer sausage. Apple slices taste even better dipped in caramel. You can also make a lunch kabob out of sandwich fixings like pickle chips, cherry tomatoes, meats and cheeses.
Get their input. Build lunches around your child’s favorite foods, as long as you can still achieve a healthy balance. Give them the opportunity to help you pack their lunch so they can choose tasty foods they’ll look forward to eating. Surprise them with an occasional treat like a couple of homemade chocolate chip cookies tucked behind celery sticks and carrots. You can even include a little note with something that will make them giggle or with a few words of encouragement if it’s test day. Just make sure it’s not too embarrassing, of course.
Just like you, Hickory Farms is committed to providing families with healthy and delicious foods for the table and the lunchbox. Order from our selection of meats, cheese, fruits and nuts online year-round. And for those really hectic mornings, you can always pack your kids a Hickory Farms GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meal. Kids love them, and parents love knowing they are getting a well-balanced meal.
An organized kitchen and a well-stocked pantry are essential for a smooth start to the school year. There will be lunches to fix, quick breakfasts to eat before school and then easy dinners to whip up before after school programs and sports. Here’s how you can prepare you kitchen and pantry to start the busy school year off right.
First, clear out your fridge and pantry. Go through your refrigerator and freezer and purge them of all questionable items and give the appliances a thorough cleaning. Make sure that you are using space efficiently. Try to keep items in designated areas in your refrigerator and pantry. If necessary, arrange movable shelves to ensure taller and bulkier items like bottles of wine and gallons of milk are in an ideal spot. Separate large packages of meat into individual units and wrap them in foil so they don’t get freezer burn. Date and label all packages so you can easily find what you need and know when it’s time to cook or toss.
Once you have a clean slate, you can focus on how to maximize your storage so you can stock up on all you need to cook up quick, delicious and nutritious meals. Store like items and like containers together — cans on one shelf, boxed items like pasta and crackers on another. Beans, rice, and other dried goods can go in glass canisters.
Create extra storage space for potatoes, onions and garlic by hanging up a three-tiered wire basket in or near the pantry. These baskets can also store smaller items like spices, boxes of plastic sandwich bags, cupcake wrappers, cookie cutters and other kitchen supplies.
If you still need more storage, use shelves in basements or utility rooms or even plastic bins stacked in closets. Remember to always rotate your stock with newer items in the front to make sure everything gets used before its expiration date.
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Keeping your kitchen organized saves you stress during the hectic school week as well as time that can be better spent with your family. Let Hickory Farms help you by stocking up on these pantry essentials.
It’s hard to believe we will soon be wrapping up another summer. Fortunately, Labor Day gives us a three-day weekend to celebrate the warm weather season with family and friends one more time. Below are some fun ways to enjoy summer’s last hurrah.
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- Catch a summer sporting event. Whether for a major or minor league team or a local tournament, get together and root for the home team.
- Take a road trip. No matter where you live, there are many points of interest worth checking out within a day’s drive.
- Have a rockin’ Labor Day at an outdoor music festival. Many artists and groups will still be on their summer tours around the US.
- Host a Labor Day picnic or family reunion and gather the generations together for some good times. Organize an impromptu talent show where each family member gets to display his or her unique gifts. Preserve the memories by having a budding Spielberg capture the action on camera.
- Go camping at a state park near you. Don’t want to go too far from home? The kids will love the idea of a backyard family campout.
- Sendoff summer with an exciting day of roller coasters or water slides at a theme park.
- Spend the day doing nothing! Sleep in, catch some rays, or rent movies for an at-home film fest. A little R&R can really recharge your batteries.
Whatever you do this Labor Day, we at Hickory Farms wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday. Order some wines and cheeses or some of our Signature Summer Sausage to make your weekend memorable.
Also, don’t forget how Labor Day came about. Originally begun by the Labor movement in the 19th century, Labor Day was officially designated as a federal holiday in 1894 as a day to honor the American worker and his contributions to our great country. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show employees and staff members your appreciation with a gift basket from Hickory Farms.