Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healthy Lunches (not just for kids) And A Contest, Too!

Processed meats and preservatives don't make the best choices when it comes to a healthy lifestyle--but that's what's in many school lunches. When it comes to preparing and dishing out hundreds of meals a day, most schools have to opt in favor of long shelf life items bought in bulk, and sometimes good nutrition takes a back seat to budget concerns.

So how can you, with budget concerns of your own, make healthy choices for your kids? And while you're at it, what are you eating these days?

Brown-bagging your own lunch can actually save you money--an average of packed lunch runs around $3.25 as opposed to the $8-10 you'd spend eating out--and with Earthbound Farm organic foods, you don't have to substitute quality for cost.

Earthbound Farm sent me some of their certified organic snack items, conveniently packaged in snack-size servings, to try out.

And they. were. Awesome.

The Apple Slices were crisp and juicy and not too tart. They come in 5 2 oz bags for $3.99, so that's a week's worth of apple's for school lunches! They also make a great snack.
When the kids want a 'big' lunch, we'll pair them up with some peanut butter for dipping or a sharp cheddar cheese and crackers, but they're fine on their own.

I also tried out the mini carrots Earthbound Farm offers.

We've always called them 'baby' carrots, and I think they are my favorite vegetable (don't raw vegetables just taste better?). Earthbound Farm's Mini-Peeled Carrots snack pack comes with 10 2 oz bags for $2.99, and these were as fresh and firm as could be, as well as having that natural sweetness that makes me such a fan. Since the Owl has braces, he can't eat these right now, but these would last the Rhino and I a school week as well in our lunches.

In addition to the tasty, healthy organic snacks I sampled, Earthbound Farm also offers these favorites, all certified organic:
  • Organic Carrot Dippers with Ranch Dressing. Another great way to get more veggies! (3 packs for $2.89)
  • Grab & Go Salads: Caesar Salad, Mixed Baby Greens or Baby Spinach Kits. These salads are a convenient choice for Moms on the go, as the box ($3.69) includes everything you need: salad, dressing, topping, even the fork and the clamshell package (which can be used as a bowl). Smart!
  • Organic Raisin snack packs. Why don't I eat more raisins? I don't know, because they're sweet and juicy and I grew up with them (my Mom likes healthy snacks too!). (6 1.5oz boxes for $2.99)
Earthbound Farm also has a contest going on right now for your kids! I'm including all the information just as I received it so I don't mess anything up ; ) :

Earthbound Farm has some news for your readers. The company has just launched a web-based contest seeking quotes from children for the inside of its clamshell salad labels. Kids will be encouraged to submit quotes thanking those who purchase organic for helping protect the future. If you’re interested in posting this contest on your site for your readers participation please let me know.

For each child’s quote that is chosen, they have the opportunity to win:

1. A $500 US Savings Bond for your child’s future education

2. A $500 donation in your child’s name to their choice of one of these dedicated nonprofit environmental organizations:
American Forests
Beyond Pesticides
Environmental Working Group
Healthy Child Healthy World
Natural Resources Defense Council
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Pesticide Action Network North America
Union of Concerned Scientists

3. Winning quotes will appear on the back of our new salad labels and on the Earthbound Farm website!

We’ve switched to post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic for our salad containers, and we’re designing new labels that carry the PCR symbol. Winning quotes will appear on the back of those labels, and on our website, too. We’ll add a new winner every month through the end of 2009!

To enter the contest, visit http://www.ebfarm.com/Products/KidsQuoteContest.aspx

This contest is open to legal US residents who submit their entry with the permission of their parent or guardian, and who are 17 years of age or under at that time. Winning quotes will be identified by first name, age, and city/state on the Earthbound Farm website and on package labels. Parents or guardians must provide their name, e-mail address and daytime phone number in case their child’s entry is a winner. Either adult or child must provide their Social Security Number to receive their prize and register their bond. Earthbound Farm respects your privacy; we won’t share your personal information with anyone else.

Viv notes: This contest is SUPER easy to enter! Just click on the link, and have your kid(s) finish this quote, in 35 words or less: Thank you for choosing organic. It matters to me because ______________________.

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