Back to School Lunch Box Ideas

The Best Back to School Lunch Box Ideas

The kids going back to school means you will need plenty of creative lunch box ideas. Kids often love the same foods, but you can prepare them in different ways so things stay interesting and they don’t get bored. Additionally, it is a great way to get them to try new foods and ingredients because you can incorporate the new items into their favorite lunch meals.

When packing a lunch for your kids, it is great to add as many fruits and veggies as possible, give them protein and provide them with a treat. The great news is, their treats can be disguised as healthy…and they will never know! Let’s take a look at some of the best back to school lunch box ideas for kids.

Healthy Banana & Oatmeal Sponge Cookies

If you are looking for a perfect secretly healthy cookie, look no further than these. Your kids will never know these are good for them and they are sure to devour them. The cookies are only made with 6 ingredients, like oats, applesauce, and banana so you are likely to already have the ingredients on hand.

Snag the recipe here.

Lunch Box Fun-Due

If you are looking for a creative lunch idea, this fun-due is perfect. All you have to do is cute meats like ham and turkey into cubes, add some veggie sticks like carrots and celery, and include a treat like small cubes of angel food cake. Then, add the dipping sauces. You can use sauces like salsa, homemade cheese sauce, and pureed strawberries! This is defintely one of the coolest back to school lunch box ideas.

Recipe.

Hummus Pizza

For one of the healthiest back o school lunch box ideas, this is the way to go. This is an awesome extremely healthy and nutritious recipe that is great for older and more adventurous eaters. All you need is to take your kids favorite veggies, some simple hummus (plain or flavored), and even though the recipe does not call for it, you can add plenty of cheese.

Find this recipe here.

Mexican Style Lunch Box

If your kid has an inkling for Mexican food, this lunch box is perfect for them. Fill this box with a simple cheese quesadilla, salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips. Add some fruit to the mix and pack a separate container of berries, apples, etc.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta Bowl

Get your kids to eat their greens! This pasta lunch box is filled with perfectly cooked pasta, healthy pesto, and super nutritious broccoli. Serve with oranges and other fruits or veggies and your kid will love you.

Check it out here.

Cheesy Chicken Meatball Sliders

Who doesn’t love a good slider? These mini meatball sandwiches are the perfect kid size. There is not anything for them not to love with melted mozzarella cheese, savory chicken, and tangy flavorful tomato sauce. They will please even the pickiest of eaters. They also travel quite well and do not need to be heated up as they are great at room temp.

Get the recipe here for one of the best back to school lunch box ideas.

Turkey and Bean Chili

The Best Back to School Lunch Box Ideas

Sometimes one of the best back to school lunch box ideas is a hot soup or stew, and this chili definitely makes the cut. It is filled with tons of protein from the ground turkey and healthy fiber from all of the beans.

Check out this hot recipe here.

Catch of the Day

The Best Back to School Lunch Box Ideas

This creative lunch box meal is perfect for the kids that love anything fish and water related. Make their favorite kind of sandwich and use a fish shaped cookie cutter to cut out the sandwich. Load the rest of their lunch box with goldfish crackers, fruit, and veggies with dipping sauce.

Muffin Meal

The Best Back to School Lunch Box Ideas

Something breakfast for lunch is a fun way to switch up your kids back to school lunch box ideas. Pack some homemade muffins, dry cereal, and their favorite fruits. Like with this idea, you can add some calcium to their meal and throw in a cheese stick or any cheese of choice.

Recipe idea is from here!

Tortilla Rolls

The Best Back to School Lunch Box Ideas

If your kid gets bored with traditional sandwiches, try these super fun tortilla rolls. All you need is a soft flour tortilla, lunch meats, cheese, and dressing to roll into a tortilla. Cut the roll, place in their lunch box, and then add some of their favorite snacks. Fruit, veggies, crackers, and cheese are always good choices.

Get the idea here. 

Family Events in Jersey City This Summer

Summertime Fun in Jersey City

Summertime is the perfect time for the entire family to attend tons of cool events together. The kids are out of school, parents often get some time off, and the days are longer. You and the family can fit in tons of awesome activities into one single day or spread them out over the entire summer. However you decide to spend your time, there is no shortage of family activities to partake in in Jersey City this summer.

Let’s check out some of the best family events in Jersey City this summer. Whether you are looking for indoor activities, outdoor activities, educational activities, or something else, there is a little something for everyone this summer.

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Paella Fever

August 4th -August 18th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten different kinds of Paella at Surf City from August 4th to the 20th!

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Event Details : http://bit.ly/2tt5ZEl

https://www.facebook.com/lafestaitalianajc/

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Movie Monday : The Jungle Book 

August 14th – 8:30 to 10:30PM

 

 

 

 

Free popcorn, cold beer and a great movie on the big screen!

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4th Annual Cultural Diversity Festival

On August 26, 10 am to 2 pm, come and stop by at the 4th annual cultural diversity festival.

“Jersey City has one of the most diverse populations in the United States. Here you can find 75 languages spoken in the public schools. The city is engulfed in a blanket of diversity and is truly a melting pot. The festival is a day of celebrating the diversity in our community. There will be an array of fun and culture-related activities planned for the whole family, arts & crafts, musical acts, dancers, an art show and — of course — lots of delicious food representing the diversity in Jersey City.
This unique and special event would be a great opportunity for children and families to experience the vibrant and diverse cultures of Jersey City! Please join us at Hamilton Park, JC.”
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Annual “Summer City” Block Party

Shuster Group & Hamilton House are hosting a FREE end-of-summer kid-centric block party with a petting zoo, music, food & lots of activities!

Join us as we host our 2nd annual end of summer block party! Treat your kids to a day of fun under the sun. We have transformed two blocks near Jones park into a unique, kid friendly celebration! We welcome you to explore the wonders of Summer City.

Activities:
• Crafts & Activities
• Bounce House
• Petting Zoo & Face Painting
• Live Entertainment
• Local Food Vendors
• Basketball Competition

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The 2017 Chili Cook-Off and Mac & Cheese Showdown Extravaganza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The return of the 4th Street Arts Chili Cook-Off and Mac & Cheese Showdown together for the first time ever.

We will also be hosting The Thirsty Quaker who will be creating a curated Beer Tasting – more info to come soon.

 

 

Celebrate Downtown Jersey City on Saturday, September 16th with the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District’s Sixth Annual All About Downtown Street Festival from Noon-8pm!

We are hosting over 250+ unique vendors from The Grove Path Plaza all the way to Coles Street!

This year we’ve teamed up with DayTrippers NJ to provide a shuttle bus service to and from the fair.

Our kid’s area will be packed with rides, face painting, games and shops for the little ones. (First Street)

Summer Film Series: Hamilton Park, Jersey City

Hamilton Park has been offering movies in the parks in Jersey City since 2013, and they will be offering them again this year on the following dates: June 23, July 28, August 25, September 23, and October 14. Movies begin at sundown. Keep checking the Summer Film Series page on the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association website for more information!

Hamilton Park has been offering movies in the parks in Jersey City since 2013, and they will be offering them again this year on the following dates:

August 25th- Star Wars – The Force Awakens

September 23rd – The Jungle Book

October 14th – The Nightmare Before Christmas

Movies begin at sundown. Bring something to sit on.

Shakespeare at the Park – Hamilton Park

July 20 – Romeo & Juliet

Performed by Hudson Shakespeare Company – Rain or Shine at the Gazebo

“Magicians’ Face-off” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Magic shows in Jersey City

Enjoy a “Magicians‘ Faceoff” at this year’s JC Families Education Fair!

We are inviting a group of talented magicians to show off their magical skills to our young audiences!
Get ready to be tricked, inspired and entertained!

JC Education Fair 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only fair in Jersey City where you can get information about & speak to the representatives of major Schools,Day Cares  & Activity Centers,Classes in & around Jersey City & Hoboken

JERSEY CITY! Take a look at the list of schools, daycare and activity Centers that will be attending #JCEducationFair  Saturday 23rd from 10am to 2pm in Hamilton Park.
Jersey City Recreation Department
The Early Childhood Department of the Jersey City Public Schools

Jack Horner’s Dino Dig

Family Events in Jersey City This Summer

If your kids love digging, discovering, and dinosaurs – boy have we found the best event for you! At Liberty Science Center, this dino dig is educational and heaps of fun. According to the website:

“Guests will have the unique opportunity to experience a paleontological expedition during the exhibition, working alongside LSC’s Dino Dig Guide Team to discover replica fossils of prehistoric creatures from the late Cretaceous period buried in the 35 tons of sand that will cover the specially designed space.” So, let your kids explore the rich history of the past and have fun while doing it! It is definitely one of the best family events in Jersey City this summer.


Yoga at Hamilton Park

August 1st, 15th, 22nd and 29th

By Butterfly and Bird Yoga

10 dollars requested

Please bring a mat, water and towel

Healthy Snacks for kids

Snack Time!  Healthy Snacks for kids 

Is it just me, or do your kiddos ask for snacks on average at least once per hour? Often this is out of boredom, so gentle distraction or change of focus is all it takes to divert attention to something else. When genuine hunger strikes, don’t just reach for the animal crackers or cheerios. Fostering healthy eating habits starts from day 1, if you are offering up fresh vegetables, fruits and real food, kids will take notice and develop a taste for it. If there is always an alternative, in the form of allegedly “healthy” snacks like sugary yogurt or animal crackers, kids to will gravitate towards those.

Here’s an eye opening statistic according to the American Heart Association (AHA), by the age of 4, children on average, consume more than double the amount of recommended added sugar for their age. The next time you want to grab that vanilla or chocolate milk, or fruit yogurt cup, think twice, they have on average 18-24 grams of sugar, that’s as much as ice cream.

The AHA suggests that preschoolers should consume less than 3 teaspoons (or 12 grams) daily. Children ages 4-8 should consume no more than about 4 teaspoons a day (or 16 grams). As your child grows into pre-teen and teen years, and caloric range increases, the maximum amount of added sugar included in a daily diet should be approximately 5 teaspoons of added sugar (20 grams).

It’s no secret that most convenience snacks that allege to be healthy, are in fact NOT. Often they are loaded with sodium, sugar and other additives. Here are some alternatives for healthy and nutritious snacks to stack your cupboards with:

Healthy Snacks for kids Granola Bars – most bars have 16 grams of sugar or more, seek out bars will 5 grams of sugar or less – Health Warrior Chia Bars, Trader Joe’s Nut Bars, Kind Bars, Mini Perfect Bars

 

 

Cereal – most have 10-16 grams of sugar per serving – seek out options with less than 5 grams per serving – Kashi original, Bear Naked Granola and Ezekiel are all great options

Healthy Snacks for kids Yogurt, milk and dairy drinks – most have 16 grams of sugar or more, seek out unsweetened, NATURAL, sodium free and full fat probiotic dairy products, lactose found in dairy, is already a naturally occurring sugar

 

Healthy Snacks for kids

Chips & Vegetable Chips – these tend to be full of sodium and hydrogenated oil with little to no nutritional value whatsoever – opt for air popped popcorn, or baked crackers with bean, other grains (barley, quinoa, spelt etc) nuts and seed eg. Luke’s Organic Been and Seed Crackers

Cookies & Sweets – instead, offer up dried or freeze dried fruit – figs, apricots and dates are all loaded with natural sugar and satisfy a sweet tooth, freeze dried berries are also super crunchy, sweet and tart, all great options with zero added sugar, fat and butter, found in most cookies


Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts
– now that the weather is warming up, the daily sounds of the ice cream truck and strategic placement of Italian ice stands EVERYWHERE can prove very difficult to distract attention from. Try to opt for natural cooling unsweetened lemonade with fresh fruit (often found in our local Farmer’s Markets), caffeine free iced teas (berry, citrus and passion fruit iced teas are all naturally sweet), or DIY popsicles made from crushed fruit

When kids do indulge in sweet sugary treats, which they SHOULD, just be conscious of it and balance the rest of the food for the day with healthier options offering up loads of vegetables and lean proteins. Moderation is key!

About the Author

ErinRose Baldry is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, fitness instructor and food and nutrition specialist. She is passionate about exercise, cooking and sharing her knowledge to help and inspire others. If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback about nutrition, recipes, or getting your fitness on, please reach out!

[email protected]  Facebook/Instagram @ZellyBFitness

Best Swimming Classes/Lessons in Jersey City for kids & Adults

Best Swimming Classes/Lessons in Jersey City for kids & Adults

British Swim School USA (Multiple Locations in Hudson County)

British Swim School is the premier provider of water-survival and learn-to-swim lessons in the U.S., now also offering classes in NJ for everyone from 3-months old to adults. With a history of over 35 years, British Swim School currently teaches over 13,000 students per week nationwide, using their signature and award-winning methodology. Developed and refined by a former national swimmer for England, their goal-oriented program focusses on individualized learning in small groups of 4:1. Their highly-trained professional instructors give individual attention to each child, to make sure they progress as fast as possible. Lessons are always fun, but playtime is limited to 5 minutes per lesson in favor of skill development. British Swim School has been featured on national television and is aligned with the Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation, whose mission is to protect every life from drowning through education and heightened water safety awareness. To find a location near your, and to find out which one of their 9 skill levels is the right for your child, visit http://britishswimschool.com/hudsonwaterfront/

Sky Club Fitness and Spa : Learn to Swim at Sky Club

Our Aquatic Kids programs are designed for all ages and abilities. We have small group classes with experienced instructors who are passionate about teaching kids to be comfortable and confident in the water. To register for classes, click on the Registration Form button at the bottom of the page.

125 Marshall Street,7th Floor, Hoboken, NJ 07030 Tel: 201-222-2582

Swim Stars Jersey City

At Swim Stars our mission is to provide quality swim lessons to all of our Swim Star clients. Our vision is to create a learning environment where all of our customers feel safe and comfortable in the water. Providing both learn-to-swim and competitive swim lessons to all ages, we believe that swimming is a lifelong skill that should be enjoyed by everyone. At Swim Stars each student will receive personalized attention and be serviced by our experiences and skills as we look forward to helping them reach their aquatic goals.”

Swim Stars www.swimstars.biz
99 Highland Avenue Jersey City NJ 7306

Swim Stars Swim School : Pool Address: Saint Peter’s University,870 Montgomery Street, Jersey City, NJ 07306:     Email:[email protected]

Miss Yvonne’s Swim School 

Registration is now open for 2014. Swim school takes place over 10 consecutive weeks beginning June 30 for the summer in Hoboken. Five levels of classes are available to choose from, based on your child’s current swim level. All levels have the opportunity to swim twice per week and practice an additional two times per week. You may sign up for as many weeks as you wish, with no minimum.

Private lessons are also offered and can be arranged by contacting via email. Also, there are 30 minute drop-in classes offered for both infants (5 months – 2 years) and toddlers (3 – 4 years), in which you can get in the water with your child to try it out. You must pre-reserve a spot by calling or emailing in advance.

Hamilton Health and Fitness

This convenient Hamilton Park location is a big hit with local families! They offer Children’s and Adult Swim programs. Classes are for ages 6 months and up and they have. The classes run. Classes are $170 (members) or $220 (non-members) for 8-weeks and are 30 minute long. Pre-registration is required.

Newport Swim and Fitness

Located at 33 River Drive South offers a large indoor pool and swimming lessons to both members and non-members of the facility.

Classes are either 8-weeks with one class per week or 4-weeks with two classes per week. Registration is rolling, as there are new classes beginning every few weeks.

Pershing Field Pool 

Located at 201 Central Avenue in Jersey City Heights.

The pool is open year round, currently opens Monday – Friday from 7am – 8:30 pm and on weekends from 12noon – 6pm. Entry fees for this pool are: residents $3 for adults and $2 for children on weekdays and $4 for adults and $3 for children on weekends. For non-residents, the fees are $6 for adults and $4 for children on weekdays and $8 for adults and $6 for kids on weekends.

Saint Peter’s Swimming Pool

Located at Saint Peters University campus. They have two available programs: kids group lessons (Ages 4 -16) and adult lessons. Lessons are 40 minutes long and they offer siblings discount. For more information, call (718) 795 -5298 or e-mail them

Best Swimming Classes/Lessons in Jersey City for kids & Adults

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bayonne

179 W 16th St, Bayonne, NJ 07002

Phone(201) 858-6159

 Related Article:

Summer Fun: Pools and swimming lessons in Jersey City ( swimming Pools in Jersey City)

 

HEALTHY YUMMY BUFFINS :Lunch Ideas for kids

Lunch Ideas for kids:

HEALTHY YUMMY BUFFINS

Buffins because they are enriched with protein sources like flax and hemp seeds – not only do these babies taste amazing but they are filling, nutritious and full of complex nutrients and hunger curbing ingredients to keep you going for a while. When making baked goodies, I am constantly on the hunt for fun, inventive recipes that not only deliver on flavor, but nutrition as well. This recipe really delivers on both fronts. Baking is also a great way to get the kids in the kitchen engaged in cooking and learning/counting. Don’t worry about the mess, embrace it as a fun activity and have them help clean up also as a bargaining tool to have their BUFFIN and eat it too!

There is something so fun and satisfying about pealing the muffin wrapper away to reveal a scrumptious warm baked treat. Don’t be deceived however, many so-called “healthy” muffins are a vehicle disguising several unwanted and unhealthy ingredients. Generally, as a rule of thumb, if you cannot pronounce the ingredient or don’t have a clue what it is, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

This recipe is extremely versatile, simple and HEALTHY, containing REAL ingredients only. It works incredibly well in loaves, mini muffins and regular muffins alike – depending on what you are in the mood for. Mini buffins are so fun and cute, perfect for a lunch-box treat, while regular sized muffins work really great as a breakfast. Added bonus, when stored properly they can easily freeze for 2-3 months so you can defrost one the night before, pop in in the toaster the morning of, and have a fresh, warm buffin for breakfast in mere minutes. You have loads of flexibility to adapt the recipe depending on your mood – lemon & poppy, apple cinnamon, banana nut… the base recipe works with a myriad of Buffin types.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • ¼ tsp each chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup coconut nectar
  • 1/3 cup sugar free almond milk
  • 4 eggs whisked
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or extract

Makes about 12-14 regular sized muffins, or 24-28 mini muffins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in separate bowl
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl, and stir to combine with spatula
  5. Let batter set for a few minutes, then stir it again
  6. Use muffin liners and fill each cup ¾ the way up with batter
  7. Bake for approx 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted is dry and clean
  8. Let cool on cooling rack for approx. min. 10 minutes
  9. Serve and devour ☺

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Lunch Ideas for kids

Fun With Fruit & Vegetables : Kids Lunch Ideas

 Kids Lunch Ideas
Fun With Fruit & Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables can sometimes be a tricky topic with children. It’s vital to keep it fun and interesting in order to engage them. Also, repetition is key. If you keep giving them vegetables in their lunch box (eg. instead of chips, pretzels etc), they will eventually nibble and try it. They may not initially accept the flavors, but hang in there, scientifically it takes taste buds at least 10 tries of eating something to ‘acquire’ a taste for it. This is not going to guarantee a raw vegetable LOVER, but I assure you they will learn to tolerate it in small quantities, which is an astounding success when compared to eating chips, pretzels, crackers etc.
Also, presentation and shape make a big difference.
Tiny mason jars mixed with something they like (eg. natural Greek yogurt or hummus) works very well. A large dollop of hummus or yogurt can nicely tuck away vegetables and thus becomes fun & interesting. The smaller the veggie pieces, the more likely they will eat them, not least of which because it gets all mixed up and there is no choice but to spoon it all up in one go, MOM HACK, KID approved!
Lightly steaming green vegetables and drizzling with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper makes a huge difference with taste and texture, as it is sweeter, more familiar and softer.
Have fun, experimenting with cutting vegetables and fruits in different shapes using cookie cutters and use fun cocktail sticks!
Here is a list of some easy, fun go-to fruit and vegetable snack ideas that your kids can make with mild adult supervision. The more that your child in engaged with making healthy foods, the more awareness and interest they will have! Also, children learn best by example, if they see that your plate is always filled with at least 50% vegetables (which a healthy plate should be), they will be more inclined to do the same.
Cucumber sandwiches
Cut 2cm thick slices and shape with fun cookie cutter, fill with cream cheese, sliced cheese, sliced turkey etc
Sliced apple or pear sandwiches
Cut 2cm thick slices and shape with fun cookie cutter, fill with nut butter, raisins, seeds, or with sliced cheese and turkey
Tomato and cheese sticks
Cut tiny wedges of cheese, steam tiny flowerets of broccoli and have a bunch of colorful cherry tomatoes, pierce carefully with toothpick (with adult supervision)
Ants on a log
Celery cut into 3-4 inch pieces, fill with:

 

hummus and pine nuts
hummus and vegetables
cream cheese or natural Greek yogurt and vegetables
nut butter and raisins

 

NB. Variation – add slice of apple into wedge of celery to create a little insect create!
 
Fruit cocktail sticks
Slice fruit into 2cm thick small pieces and pierce carefully with toothpick (with adult supervision)
Vegetable Mason Jars
1/4 cup hummus or natural Greek yogurt and raw or lightly steamed vegetables as described above
Mason Jar Smoothies
Smoothies are an excellent way to transform all sorts of VEGETABLES into a drinkable treat. Have your kid help you place ingredients in a food processor and press the mix button, there is something so satisfying about watching a smoothie in the making. Some of my top pics for smoothie ingredients include: spinach, avocado, banana, berries, hemp seeds (for protein), medjool dates, unsweetened almond milk, coconut water, dash of vanilla powder.
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Healthy Buffalo Chicken Finger Tenders & Peas

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Finger Tenders & Peas  NO Fast / Frozen Food Necessary 
This recipe uses homemade breadcrumbs made from flax bread. No fake and unnecessary fillers, added hormones, water or sodium will be found in these tenders. They turn out perfectly golden brown when baked (no frying necessary) and are super light and crunchy, the ideal dipping vehicle for sauces, dips and relishes. Also, as they are mainly lean meat, you know your kiddo will be getting enough protein dense nutrients and vitamins for the day. The pea salad is equally inviting, colorful and jam packed full of flavor so your kiddos will get their veggies too!
6 Servings
Chicken Tenders
1.5lb lean chicken or turkey breast pounded about ½ thick and cut into 1inch tenders
3 slices whole grain flax bread (I like the one by Alvarado Bakery), toasted, dried and blitzed into breadcrumbs in food processor
1/2tsp each salt & black pepper
1/8tsp smoked paprika
1/4tsp each garlic onion powders, paprika
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg whisked
2tbs hot sauce
 Healthy Buffalo Chicken Finger Tenders & Pees: Side Green Pee Salad :
4 cups frozen steamed peas (defrosted ready to use)
2 cups lightly steamed spinach leaves, chopped
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
Handful chopped fresh mint
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
Lime juice, EVOO, S&P to taste
 Healthy Buffalo Chicken Finger Tenders & Pees Lunch Ideas for kids
Method
Mix whisked egg with hot sauce, spices and oil. Dip each piece of chicken in egg mixture, then dip lightly in bowl of breadcrumbs, place on parchment lined baking sheet, repeat for all pieces. Place in pre-heated oven (350*F) for about 15 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the tenders. If they are not sufficiently crunchy and golden brown after about 15 minutes, crank up heat to broil for about 3 minutes, watching it closely as you don’t want the breadcrumbs to burn, just turn a nice crunchy golden brown. Remove immediately and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, when chicken is cooking, assemble the pea salad. Combine all of the ingredients, add S&P to taste, drizzle with EVOO and lemon juice and zest. Serve room temperature with chicken.
We like to serve up the tenders with a variety of dipping sauces  sour cream, buffalo sauce, ketchup… go wild. Try a bite with each different sauce to find your favorite!
Healthy Buffalo Chicken Finger Tenders & Pees
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Cheese Shelled Tacos: Lunch ideas for kids

TACO LOCO with CHEESE SHELLS
#TacoTuesday has taken over social media, Instagram alone has close to 1.5million talking about it! This is truly a crowd pleaser and it couldn’t be easier to make. There is no need for using pre-made taco seasoning mixes or store bought shells. Flavor packets and premade shells contain all sorts of things we should avoid at all costs:  High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (partially or fully hydrogenated) full of saturated fat, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Aspartame, Sucralose, Sorbitol (artificial sweeteners) and Artificial Dyes and Colorings. To make your own taco seasoning, all you need is a few spices to mix up your cupboard selection. Plus, the shells are made from one ingredient, CHEESE, so they are grain free, gluten free and satisfyingly crunchy. The leftover taco mixture works very well for the kids’ lunchbox the next day!
Ingredients
Serves 4
Taco filling
1lb lean ground turkey
1 medium onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup low sodium beef broth
Taco Seasoning
2tbsp chili powder
1tbsp ground cumin
2tsp kosher salt
1 1/2tsp hot smoked paprika
1tsp ground coriander
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
Taco Shell
2 cups shredded cheddar or mixed cheese
Toppings
Diced tomatoes
Chopped avocado
Shredded lettuce
Jarred pickled sliced jalapeno peppers
Sour cream
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime sliced into wedges
Method
Cheese Taco Shells:
**TIP** First, prep taco shell ingredients and pre-heat oven. Meanwhile, make the taco filling and while the taco meat filling is cooking, bake the cheese taco shells.
Preheat the oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap a long kitchen spoon handle with aluminum foil and suspend it between two glasses. 
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded Cheddar on the baking sheet to form a circle approx. 5inches in diameter. Repeat ½ cups of cheese to form remaining circles. Bake until the cheese melts and turns light brown, 6 to 8 minutes. 
Using a spatula, transfer the cheese circles to the suspended spoon handle and drape them over to form taco shells. Let them hang until firm, then carefully remove. 
For the filling:
Sauté ground meat until light brown, add onions, pan fry until just soft, add garlic and stir over medium heat for additional 4 minutes. Add spices to meat mixture, stir over heat for 2-3 additional minutes, add stock, cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes over medium low heat. 
Construction:
Set out toppings, shells and taco filling on the table, dig in!
Lunch ideas for kids

Choosing A Camp for your child ? Camp Riverbend

Summer Camp In Jersey City NJ Camp Riverbend
Summer Camp In Jersey City NJ
Building Self-Esteem at Camp : Camp Riverbend

One of the most important gifts a child can be given is a sense of confidence in himself or herself; the knowledge that he or she will be able to meet a new challenge.  Camp is a key place for children to succeed and acquire this fundamental skill!

While we don’t provide academic instruction at Camp Riverbend, our campers are learning and growing every day.  Of course children learn a lot at school, but in school children are constantly graded and evaluated in many ways.  At camp, however, children can try a host of new things, without having to worry if they “make the grade.”  This freedom, to experiment in a safe environment, is a major building block of confidence.

Summer Camp In Jersey City NJ Camp RiverbendWith a range of activities available at camp, kids have many opportunities to explore.  Campers are taught the skills to meet physical challenges, like climbing to the top of the high ropes tower or being able to pass our Deep Water Test.  They are given opportunities to explore their creativity while decorating a clay pot or playing rhythm games in performance.  Campers can cook an unfamiliar dish and learn to appreciate new tastes and flavors.  And even when changing for swim, campers are learning how to take care of their possessions and clean up after themselves–surely a very useful skill, parents will agree!

Summer Camp In Jersey City NJ Camp RiverbendOne of the most important ways to build confidence is by meeting new peers and making new friends. Camp is a great place for children to expand their social circles in a relaxed way, as they spend days together swimming, playing and having fun.

Our counselors are great mentors and a crucial force in helping campers succeed.  Counselors can directly teach campers new skills (like how to make a bounce pass in basketball) but there are other important skills that they are teaching indirectly through their encouragement and support.  As counselors encourage campers to keep trying, children learn persistence.  As counselors cheer on a camper’s achievements, children learn to trust themselves.  What an amazing gift!

Summer Camp In Jersey City NJ Camp Riverbend


CHECK OUT CAMP RIVERBEND AT THESE UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS:

  • “Alien Invasion” Open House (for children ages 3-14) with out of this world games, cooking, crafts and more!   Saturday, February 25 from 10 am – 12 noon
  • “Seuss-ical” Open House (for children ages 3-14). Celebrate the wacky world of Dr. Seuss. Games, crafts, cooking and more.  Sunday, March 19 from 10 am – 12 noon
 

JCF Lunch Box of the week: Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggidy dog

Healthy, Kid Friendly, Fussy Eater Approved Lunchbox & Snack Ideas

So it’s the New Year and you have all these goals and intentions set out for the year ahead. Take a step back and think about attainable change to progress your health, and treat it more as a lifestyle change rather than a chore or work.

To that end, I try to make a conscious effort to prepare and eat healthy, nourishing meals most days of the week so as not to feel so badly or guilty when I choose to indulge on that occasional cookie, muffin, whatever. In the spirit of preparing healthy, yummy foods, I am starting a new regular instalment on healthy, colourful, kid tested and approved lunch box and snack ideas.

I don’t know about you, but in my house, I am always trying to invent fun creative ways to get my daughter to eat her vegetables without a fight. More often than not it’s an uphill battle typically involving some sort of reward or bribe in the end. This series brings to you fun, healthy kid friendly ideas that even the fussiest of eaters will enjoy, no bribes necessary!

Why kids love hot dogs is seriously beyond me. I find most of them to be rubbery, salty and unappetizing and several brands contain little to no meat and virtually no nutritional value WHATSOEVER. I prepare my daughter’s lunchbox every day and it usually contains things like avocado, quinoa, fresh fruit, vegetables etc, but equally I understand that she wants to have ‘what other kids are having’. I have explained to her the value in fuelling your body with healthy, nutrient rich and delicious foods, equating the body a car, and if you try a run a car on, say soda instead of gas it would not function properly. While she understands this comparison, sometimes she just wants the typical ‘kid food’. My solution, compromise, try and incorporate it, in MODERATION, just like anything else. This week Isla said she wanted pretzels and hotdogs, so I made up this lunch box:

Hot dog and cheese pretzel skewers, cauliflower (lightly steamed and salted), avocado

Mixed nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, raisins and a few super mini pretzels

Strawberries

Pretzels used: I discovered ultra mini Synder’s snacking pretzels, they are TINY, about half the size found in the fun size variety bags. So you can satisfy that salty crunchy cravings, having loads, and it really only works out to a fraction of even the convention kid snack size pretzels.

Hot Dogs: I used hot dogs from the Brooklyn Hot Dog Company. I like this particular brand because the list of ingredients is short and identifiable/natural, so you know exactly what you are putting in your kid’s tummy (beef, water, spices, garlic, salt, citrus powder, in natural casing), no fillers, additives, preservatives, nitrates…. They taste yummy when cooked on grill pan and served with spicy relish or mustard (I tried it to verify, purely for test purposes only 😛 ).

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