Quick, Kid-Friendly Lunches on a Budget

Kid Lunches

Make lunches your kids will love!

How to Win the Battle

Now that school is in full swing, mornings are filled with getting ready, making lunches and heading out the door in a timely fashion.

When it comes to busy mornings, healthy lunches are one of the first things that get removed from the radar! Have you thought much about the food you toss in your child’s lunch box each morning? Is the meal balanced with a variety of nutrient dense foods your child loves?

Right now you are probably saying “My kids won’t eat healthy foods! And I don’t have time or money to make healthier lunches!” Well, we have some tips to make this mealtime a bit healthier and less stressful without breaking the bank.

Here are a few tips for making healthy lunches for children on a limited food budget!

1. Plan lunches before the week starts to make sure you have all the ingredients you need to make healthy lunches. This prevents unplanned visits to the grocery store, which saves time and money. Also consider what you will be eating for dinner that week so you can use leftovers!

2. Involve your kids by inviting them to help you make a list of grains, proteins, dairy products, and fruits/veggies they would enjoy eating at lunchtime. To save some money, have children look through the grocery ads and circle the items from each food group they would like in their lunches that week. They will enjoy getting to help create their own lunches and it helps make sure your not spending money on food that will go to waste later.

3. Make preparing lunches a family activity. Preparing daily lunches for your kids doesn’t just have to be a task you do by yourself. Spend a few minutes each night together gathering items they picked out from each food group to create a unique lunch for them to have the next day. Try giving your children options. Cheese stick or yogurt. Carrot sticks or cucumber slices. This way, they get a say in what they will eat which increases the likelihood they will actually eat it and less food will be wasted. This allows you to prepare a healthier meal for your child without having to sacrifice time during your busy morning.

4. Make healthy lunches fun for kids by cutting foods like fruit, veggies, cheese, and bread into fun shapes like stars or hearts. Use cookie cutters to save time. Try making an open face sandwich with different veggies as the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can also let your child pick out a lunch box at the beginning of the year so they are excited about bringing lunch each day! Making food look fun is one large step towards helping your children eat healthy foods at lunchtime.

5. Make it tasty! Still having a hard time getting your kids to eat fruits and vegetables? Try adding a special dipping sauce like a salad dressing, hummus, or fruit dip to increase acceptance. Having something to dunk fruits and veggies into makes them fun and tasty!

Here is one idea of a quick and simple lunch to put together for you kiddos.

Sandwich Kabobs

This kid friendly recipe takes simple foods and puts them together in a unique way. All you need is meat, cheese, lettuce, bread and tomato (or any other veggie your child likes). Cut the foods into 1 in sections and slide them onto a skewer for a kid friendly kabob! Add a side of grapes, pretzels, carrots and celery to make a meal. Within minutes you have yourself a fun and healthy meal for your child’s lunch.

To get your children involved in this recipe, have them pick out and wash the produce. They can also help put the food on the skewer in whatever order they want!

This article was written by Mateja Savoie Roskos MPH, RD, CD, CNP and Sheri Winn

Mateja Lady2

Sheri Winn2

Easy Eats // Putting the “Fast” in Breakfast!

Fast Breakfast

Start the day with healthy, filling and FAST nutrition!

The Breakfast Quest

If everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why do so many people skip it? The number one reason people don’t eat breakfast is because they are too busy or don’t have enough time.

While it’s true that mornings can be crazy and hectic, there are also ways to sneak breakfast in without having to sacrifice your snooze button.

These breakfast ideas from Eat Well Utah are wonderful for everyone, but they are especially great for kids in grade school and high school. Helping kids start their day off right will help them stay energized and happy throughout the day. They will even perform better in school!

To learn more about the benefits of breakfast and how you can make a nutritious morning meal in SECONDS, click here!

To help you start your breakfast quest, here is a delicious recipe that is fast, easy and sure to get you off on the right foot.

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Click here for 4 more delicious and easy breakfast recipes!

Ask an Expert // Top 5 Drought-Tolerant Plants

Susie Jones 2

Enjoy beautiful blooms all the way from early spring through frost!

Gardening in a Desert

Gardening in a desert has its challenges. While many plants don’t hold up to scorching heat, cold nights or dry soil, there are quite a few plants that thrive in a desert environment; you just have to find them!

Fortunately, gardening expert Susie Jones from the Ogden Botanical Gardens in Ogden, Utah, has recommended 5 of her favorite drought-tolerant plants. These beautiful plants will keep your garden looking beautiful and fresh without needing a frequent drink from your hose.

1. Pasque Flower
“I love this one because it’s one of the first flowers in my garden and it blooms for 6 weeks!”
Pasque Flower Blog

2. Plumbago
“Its true beauty doesn’t really show until late August, when it puts on a wonderful show with its beautiful blue flowers.”
Plumbago Blog

3. Stemless Four-Nerve Daisy
“This is the little engine that could… it just keeps on going ALL season long.”
Stemless Daisy Blog

4. California Fuchsia
“This plant is very drought-tolerant, has fantastic color and the hummingbirds love it!”
California Fuchsia Blog

5. Broadleaf Penstemon
“This penstemon is a great companion plant with cool-season grasses and bearded iris.”
Broadleaf Penstemon Blog

*Utah hardiness zones range from 4a to 9a. Most cities along the Wasatch Front fall between 6a and 7a. If you don’t know your hardiness zone, check out this map from the USDA.
Utah Hardiness Zones

Getting Rid of Scary Pests Without Scary Chemicals

Natural Pest Control

There’s no need to put your family at risk to get rid of pesky pests!

Going Back to Basics

Have you noticed a few more guests showing up to your parties recently? Some people may say, “The more the merrier,” but guests that walk with more than two legs should not be invited into your house!

If you want to get rid of unwanted houseguests without hurting the ones that are already welcome, check out this video on natural pest control featuring Teresa Hunsaker. Now it’s easy to get rid of scary critters without using scary chemicals!

Teresa Screen Shot

Getting Back Into the School Routine!

School Routine

Take away the stress of going back to school by establishing fun and orderly routines!

Children may not exactly beg parents to establish routines for school-day mornings, family meals or weekend chores, but every family needs a certain amount of structure to function well.

Morning routines at home can help family members feel prepared for the day and reduce the stress they might otherwise feel if they were to rush out the front door in the morning with barely enough time to shower, get dressed and grab their backpack.

Here are some tips to help get your routines established!

Weekday morning routine. The website, www.healthychildren.org, established by the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests that in order to make the household function well in the morning, family members should know what needs to be done in advance. The organization suggests the following:
∗ Put as many things in order as possible the night before.
∗ Keep wake-up routines cheerful and positive.
∗ Be sure your child eats breakfast, even if he or she is not hungry in the morning. It’s important to have food in the system to start the day. That goes for grownups, too.
∗ Pause long enough to say goodbye to your child. A hug goes a long way to make your child’s day go better; receiving a hug in return is great, as well.

After-school routine. When parents can’t be home to welcome children when school is out, it’s important to choose a place they can be where they are safe and cared for until mom, dad or another guardian can be with them. The majority of risk-taking, participation in pranks or juvenile delinquent behaviors from children and youth commonly take place after school when children are unsupervised.

Whether the after-school routine includes staying to participate in activities at the school, going to a grandparent’s home, or elsewhere, children who know they have a safe and caring place to go after school will remain more focused throughout the day. Parents should make every effort to see that a caring adult or responsible teen is available. Even having a close neighbor who is at home and available to call, if needed, helps children feel secure.

Dinner routine. It doesn’t really matter if the meal is dinner. Families should eat several meals together every week providing all members time to be together. In a back-to-school article posted on life.familyeduation.com it states sitting down to a family meal can be a wonderful time in the day. It should be a time to hear about everyone’s day and reinforce that family members do care. This time can be made very positive by allowing each member of the family to briefly tell about their favorite part of the day. It may also serve as a time to discuss family plans or how to best support a family member in an upcoming activity.

Bedtime routine. Children, teens and adults all benefit from having an established routine when they can wind down before crawling into bed. Younger children will benefit the most emotionally and physically from repetition each night. If parents will allow 30-45 minutes of preparation, the children will be calmer and able to fall asleep more easily. Bedtime should include story time and/or a chance for children and youth to talk about their day with mom or dad. Try to avoid rowdy activities just before bedtime. As they get older, children will be able to establish their own routine. However, parents should still have older youth stick to an established time to be in bed.

It is a challenge for families to establish comfortable, effective routines. It requires planning, creating a structure that is realistic, and getting all family members to commit to the plan. However, such efforts will pay great dividends in cutting down on disorder and confusion. It may also strengthen the family unit overall and increase children’s devotion to their family.

This article was written by Kathleen Riggs, Utah State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Professor for Iron County. Questions or comments may be sent to kathleen.riggs@usu.edu or call 435-586-8132.

Top 10 // Tips for Gardening with Your Kiddos

Gardening With Kids

Make your garden kid friendly with these simple tips!

It’s Time to Play Dirty!

What child doesn’t love to have fun in the mud? Now instead of scolding them for it, you can encourage it! How is this possible you might ask? The answer is gardening.

Gardening is a great way to have fun and bond with your kids while teaching them important lessons too. The curiosity that children have and their love of playing in the dirt make them natural gardeners.

To help get your garden kid-ready and kid-friendly, the Organic Forecast has compiled 10 top tips!

Tip 2: Incorporate kids crafts in the garden. Have your kids paint ‘marker’ stones or color garden stakes to mark plants. For a fun and easy DIY stepping-stone project, click here.

For 9 other fun and helpful tips, check out the article “Top 10 Tips for Gardening with Kids.

Remember, it’s never too early to introduce your kids to the wonders of the garden. There’s nothing quite like fresh garden vegetables, colorful flowers and of course, surprise visits from eight-legged friends!

Study Up! // Back to School Shopping the Smart Way

Back to School

Head back to school in style without breaking the bank.

Here’s the Deal

It’s hard to believe that it is “back to school” time again!! Just look in the malls and “super” stores and you will see kids and families getting ready. As you prepare to “bust your budget” for these extra expenses this month, consider the following tips to help you weather the budget surge, as well as the shopping wars.

1. Prepare a list. Use the supply list that the schools may provide but also consider each child’s needs. Not everything on the school’s classroom list has to be purchased, and not everything the kids want should be purchased. Take inventory of what is already on hand at home. Have a discussion with each child about the items being placed on the list. Allow them to have some say, and some decision making power in the process.

2. Do your ‘homework’. Shop the ads and online. Know prices, know features in electronics, know what’s in fashion, etc. Children can even shop the ads for the best buys and see how they can make their money go further.

3. Set a budget. Kids need to know there is a limit and there will need to be choices. Have the children involved in pricing and deciding. Would they rather have 5 outfits at a less expensive price, or one pair of expensive jeans? Besides giving children a voice, making decisions also teaches them how to prioritize, how to manage money and how to learn the difference between needs and wants.

4. Consider options. Are there some things that can be picked up ‘second hand’, like clothes? Tees, sweaters, and jeans are usually great bargains at second hand stores. Are there some items that can wait until part way through the school year, like clothes going on sale later in the fall? Buy in bulk—usually there are “3 for ____”, etc. type sales that can help extend your budget.

5. Set boundaries before shopping. Having a talk with the kids about behavior, ground rules, etc. makes a big difference. Review the list they have helped create, and remind them this is not going to be a battle of wills, that we want this to be a fun time together. If you have a chance to go individually with the kids, that is even better, but either way, be rested and fed before going.

How to be a Good Consumer

a) Save the receipt. This should be a matter of practice for most of our purchases anyway—but especially when we may very well need to return an item, or at least the potential for returning is there.

b) Know the return policy. Sometimes in our frenzy to get the kids outfitted we don’t take the time in advance to really check sizes or needs, and end up making purchases just to get done with the shopping. We figure we will just get it now, check it out when we get home, and then return it if we need to. Be careful of falling into that thinking. Sometimes you don’t make it back to the store in time to meet their return policies to get cash back—or any refund at all.

c) Make sure the advertised offer is legit. That means watching out for bogus “sales” by knowing the standard price of common back to school items. It also means not being sucked in by the old “bait and switch” tactic some stores use. On items where you know quality counts—such as in back packs, insulated lunch boxes, or school electronics—know why you want the “higher” price.

d) Understand any warranty options and “extended warranty” on school electronics. Study this carefully, know why you want the warranty, or if you even do. Often, it is not worth the added cost.

e) Be careful if shopping for back to school items online. Clothing size, fit, quality, servicing, or any other problems, are often more difficult and time consuming to take care of when items have been purchased online.

This article was written by Teresa Hunsaker

Do You Know the Facts? // Single-Use Laundry Pacs

Single Use Laundry Pacs Real

Single-use laundry pacs are convenient, but there are a few things you should know about them.

The Convenient Pac That Packs a Deadly Punch

Single load liquid laundry packets are a new laundry innovation that contain highly concentrated detergent. Their convenience appeals to adults responsible for the family’s laundry, but their bright colors and small size make them attractive to children. If not handled properly, the laundry packets can lead to injury if the contents are swallowed or the detergent comes in contact with the eyes.

Since coming on the market in 2011, the National Poison Data System has received more than 35,000 calls from January 1, 2012 to July 31, 2015 involving children exposed to the chemicals in the packets. Of those, 769 children required hospitalization, and two children died.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 1.06.06 PM

To keep children safe, follow these guidelines.

1. Keep the laundry packets out of the reach and sight of children.

2. Read the product label before use.

3. Do not cut, tear or puncture the packets. They are designed to dissolve in water.

4. If the packets stick together, throw them away.

5. Always handle the liquid laundry packets with dry hands. The film that encases them is designed
to dissolve quickly, even in small amounts of water.

6. Do not use single load liquid laundry packets when washing laundry by hand or pre-treating stains.

7. Add the packets to the bottom of the washing machine (in both front loading and top loading machines) before adding the clothes. Do not put the packets in the washer’s dispenser drawer.

8. Ensure that the recloseable bag or container in which packets are stored is tightly sealed after use and during storage.

9. Store laundry packet containers away from food, so children don’t confuse them with something they can eat.

10. Keep the laundry packets in the original container with the labels intact.

*If you think your child has been exposed to the contents of a single-load, liquid-laundry packet, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.*


American Cleaning Institute

The Hill

American Association of Poison Control Centers

Top 10 // How to Fill an Empty Stomach on a Full Schedule

Healthy Hurry

When your life is constantly on the go, don’t let nutrition go!

Eating Healthy in a Hurry

It’s a fact: life is crazy. Unfortunately, one of the first things to go when life gets hectic is a healthy diet. It’s hard to find time to cook a delicious meal or prepare a variety of dishes when you barely have time to save your sanity!

When your life is in a whirlwind and you still want to watch what you eat, follow these top 10 tips from Eat Well Utah!

Here are a couple of tips:

#2. Keep a well-stocked pantry. A well stocked pantry with staple items like rice, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, and herbs and spices can be thrown together for a quick, yet healthy meal when your day didn’t quite go as planned. For a list of good foods to have on hand, click here.

#6. Use a slow cooker. Many slow cooker recipes call for little prep time and long, slow cooking times. Take a minute to throw the ingredients in the slow cooker, leave it, and you will have a great meal later.

For eight other great tips, click here!

Also, try one of these tasty, hasty dishes. They are perfect to make when your schedule is full but your stomach isn’t.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Potatoes

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken and RICE

Green Chile Enchiladas

Resource Roundup // Local Farmers Markets

Local Farmers Markets

It’s not too late to enjoy fresh farm food and artisan goodies! To help you find a market near you, we have compiled a list of farmers markets around the whole state of Utah.

Farm Fresh Finds

Did you know it’s National Farmers Market Week??

This national week calls for some local celebration. To join the party, find the market nearest you and stop by and visit the next time it’s up and running. It’s never too late to enjoy fresh and delicious finds since most markets run through late fall!

9th West Farmers Market
Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm
Runs through October, International Peace Gardens, 1060 S. 900 West, Salt Lake City http://9thwestfarmersmarket.org.

Bountiful Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3 pm – dusk (or 8 pm)
Runs through October 29, 100 S. 100 East, Bountiful

Cache Valley Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm
Runs through October 17, Logan Historic Courthouse, 199 N. Main, Logan

Downtown Farmers Market
Sundays, 8 am – 2 pm
Runs through October 24, Pioneer Park, 350 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City www.slcfarmersmarket.org.

Downtown Harvest Market
Tuesday evenings, 4 pm – 9 pm
August 4 through October 20, Pioneer Park, 350 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City www.slcfarmersmarket.org.

Downtown Ogden Farmers Market
Saturdays 8 am – 1 pm
Runs through September 26, Ogden Historic 25th Street, Ogden

Gardner Village Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm
Runs through October 31, 1100 W. 7800 South, West Jordan

Heber Valley Farmers Market
Thursdays, 4 pm – 9 pm
Runs through August 27, Main Street Park, 250 S. Main St., Heber City. Additional parking at the Heber City Police Station, 301 S. Main St. www.ci.heber.ut.us/community/events/farmersmarket.

Kaysville — USU Botanical Center Farmers Market
Thursdays, 5 pm – 8 pm
Runs through September 24, Utah State University Botanical Center, 920 S. 50 West, Kaysville www.usubotanicalcenter.org/htm/farmers-market.

LaVell Edwards Stadium Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3 pm – 7 pm
Runs through October 29, LaVell Edwards Stadium, Brigham Young University campus, Provo

Long Valley Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 am – Noon
Runs through October 31, Kane County North Event Center, 475 N. State St., Orderville www.facebook.com/pages/Long-Valley-Farmers-Market/1397811127154513.

Mapleton Farmers Market
Saturdays 8 am – 11 am
Runs through September 26, Mapleton City Center, 125 E. 400 North, Mapleton www.mapletonmarket.org.

Murray Farmers Market
Fridays and Saturdays, 9 am – 2 pm
Runs through October 31, Murray City Park, 200 E. 5200 South, Murray

Park City Farmers Market
Wednesdays, Noon – 6 pm
Runs through October 28, The Canyons, 4000 The Canyons Resort Drive, Park City

Park Silly Sunday Market
Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm
Runs through September 20, 900 to 200 Main St., Park City

Provo Farmers Market
Saturdays 9 am – 2 pm
Runs through October 31, Pioneer Park, 500 W. Center St., Provo

Rockhill Creamery Farmers Market
Saturdays, 10 am – 1 pm
Runs through October 17, Rockhill Farm, 563 S. State St., Richmond

St. George Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 am – 12 pm
Runs through Oct. 31, Courtyard at Ancestor Square, Main Street and St. George Blvd., St. George

South Jordan Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 am – 2 pm
August 1 through October 31, South Jordan City Hall, 1600 W. Towne Center Drive, South Jordan

Sugar House Farmers Market
Fridays, 4 pm – 8 pm
July 10 through October 16, 2232 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City

Thanksgiving Point Farmers Market
Saturdays, 10 am – 2 p.m.
Runs through September 19, 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi

Wasatch Front Farmers Market
Sundays, 9 am – 2 pm
June 7 through October 26, 6351 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City

Wayne County Farmers Market
Saturdays, 4 pm
Runs through October, Center and Main streets, Torrey www.facebook.com/WayneCountyFarmersMarket.

Zion Canyon Farmers Market
Saturdays 9 am – 12 pm
Runs through Oct. 17, Bit & Spur Restaurant, 1212 Zion Park Blvd., Zion Canyon www.zionharvest.org/_includes/ZFM.htm.