Jenny Craig offers over 100 delicious items for your Menu Plan, but have you ever wondered what some of our favorites are? We asked 6 Jenny Craig employees, including President and CEO of Jenny Craig, Monty Sharma, what foods they love and why.
Monty Sharma President and CEO of Jenny Craig
“One of my favorites is the Philly Cheesesteak. The steak, sourdough bread, delicious cheese, topped with peppers and onions creates an awesome taste, keeps me full and always has me coming back for more."
Read More About Our Most Popular Jenny Craig Entrees You'll Adore
Doug Battista, President, North America Field Operations
“I have an Anytime Bar every day for a mid-morning snack. I switch between the Cookie Dough and Peanut Butter Crunch Bars. The bars are delicious, satisfying and provide me with good nutrition.”
Norma Chaves, Weight Loss Consultant
“Who can resist the Triple Chocolate Cheesecake? Rich, creamy, it’s a pure slice of heaven. I’ve served it to guests without them ever being the wiser. It just goes to show you never have to sacrifice taste and still be healthy, too!”
Darcie Andersen, Senior Nutritionist
“The Turkey Burger is tasty—really tasty. My favorite way to eat this plump, juicy burger is to add golden and caramelized roasted mushrooms and onions. Then, I pile on several leaves of fresh spinach and Dijon mustard to taste—so good! Also, this savory sandwich is extremely convenient—it turns out this is very important to me as I am a busy and ‘get as much as I can out of my day’ type of woman. Lastly, but not the least important, Jenny Craig’s Turkey Burger is a nutritious choice that leaves me satisfied all afternoon.”
Amber Collins, Weight Loss Consultant
“Hands down, I love the Egg, Cheese and Turkey Sausage Burrito. Not only does it taste incredible, but it’s incredibly convenient to eat on the go. I feel like having that burrito is a real treat. I could eat one every day! But I also love the Chocolate Lava Cake—it’s incredibly comforting. You heat it up and it’s so gooey and hot. Add a dab of sugar-free whip cream, and it’s as though you put a little bit of ice cream on top to melt all over the cake.”
Amy Ferrel, Social Media Engagement Expert
“The Stuffed Pizza Bites are the perfect meal to heat up and take on the go. They’re better than a lot of the other pizza pockets I’ve tried, and they feel like a delicious indulgence.”
Did we mention your favorites? You can discuss these mouth-watering options with your Jenny Craig consultant, or feel free to tell us your favorites via our Community Forum.
*Results not typical. Members following our program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week.
In October of 2016, I stepped on the scale and realized that my weight exceeded my husband’s weight and tears came to my eyes. Even though my husband never said a word about my weight gain, I felt terrible about myself and was embarrassed about my weight. A month prior, I was told by my physician that I had elevated cholesterol and blood sugar. During this time, I found myself avoiding being photographed. I didn't want to go out in public. I only went to work. I had not weighed this much during pregnancy. I didn't want to feel embarrassed any longer and I knew I needed to lose the weight.
When I came to Jenny Craig, I set a goal weight of 150 lbs. As I gained confidence in my ability to lose, I lowered my goal weight to 140 lbs. with the support of my consultant. I wanted to feel good about myself both physically and mentally.
My consultant, Michelle, explained the importance of sticking to the planned menus and my motivation helped me stay true to my menu plan. I don't think that I ever missed a weekly consultation. The encouragement, accountability and helpful information that I received from my consultant were also a huge part of my success.
After a few weeks of starting the program, I started walking. I walked 5 to 6 days per week beginning with 20 minutes. I now walk an hour most days of the week. As my weight came off, I found myself feeling good about myself and regained a confidence that I haven't had for years. I now find myself looking forward to social engagements rather than finding excuses to avoid them.
During my weight loss journey, I noticed improvements in my overall energy, mood and with my health, such as lowered blood glucose and cholesterol levels. In March of 2017, after losing 30 pounds*, my doctor was thrilled to report that my blood sugar and cholesterol were in the normal range and my blood pressure was excellent! Thank you, Jenny Craig!
We keep an eye out for the latest food trends and gadgets, and there’s one that has gotten us very excited—the air fryer. An air fryer allows you to fry food only using a tablespoon of oil—or less! Essentially, you dress the food with a dash of oil (including spray varieties) and seasonings and place it in the air fryer. The air fryer then uses super-hot air (like a convection oven) to dry out the food’s exterior, giving it that delightful texture and flavor that crisply fried food is known for.
So, where should you begin your air frying adventures? Here are 6 innovative ways to use an air fryer with veggies.
1) Start with your Favorite Veggies. Whether you’re a big fan of broccoli, zucchini or red onion, get creative when testing out your air fryer. You can even sample multiple veggies together. This will allow you to explore the varying flavors of your beloved veggies in a new light.
2) Rutabaga Fries. A cross between the cabbage and turnip, rutabagas are a root vegetable that holds up just like a potato (with less starch). Peel the rutabaga, then slice it into thin fries and air fry them at 380° for about 10-15 minutes. You may want to increase the temperature to about 425° halfway through as well to make it extra crispy.
3) Fried Radishes. On their own, radishes have a sharp bite. Fried, they’re a crunchy treat that you can add to salads. Toss the radishes with olive oil, salt and pepper, then place them in the air fryer. Set the fryer to 350°, and cook them for 30 minutes. You’ll want to toss these 2-3 times to ensure browning on all sides. Afterward, you can drizzle the radishes with a little balsamic as well.
4) Kale Chips. Kale chips made their way into the food scene a few years ago, and are quite easy to make in the oven. An air fryer cuts that time in half. Heat the air fryer to 370°. Toss your kale in oil and seasoning (we recommend dried dill, salt and pepper) and then place the mixture into your air fryer basket. Fry for about 4-5 minutes, then let them cool off around 1-2 minutes. Make sure to eat these immediately, as they’ll get a bit soft if they’re left out.
5) Buffalo Cauliflower. Dip your cauliflower florets into some hot sauce until mostly coated, then dust your cauliflower in some salt, pepper and cumin for an extra kick. There’s no need to preheat the air fryer with this recipe—just set your air fryer to 350° and cook for about 14-17 minutes. Make sure to check on their progress, as you’ll want them to be a bit brown (not burnt!). Serve alongside some carrots and celery, and you’ll feel like you’re eating wings while watching sports in no time.
6) Brussels Sprouts. While traditionally prepared in the oven, Brussels sprouts in the air fryer get crisper on the outside and tender on the inside in far less time. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half—lengthwise, then coat with a dash of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Then toss them into the air fryer at 400° for about 8-10 minutes. Shake the basket and check in on them around the 5 to 8 minute marks to make sure they don’t get too crispy or charred.
We hope you enjoy these vegetables in these new, crispy ways! If you’ve discovered a favorite air fryer recipe or want to learn more, share your thoughts with your Jenny Craig Community.
The National Institute of Mental Health suggests getting regular movement to cope with stress, even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes every day. Physical activity releases brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, which triggers happy feelings to lessen stress, ward off anxiety and can even reduce pain. Feeling extra stressed out by a deadline at work? Even stretching with some yoga poses for 10 minutes can relieve muscle tension.
Turn off the phone
We know it can be tough, but turn off your phone even for an hour. Switching from app to app can make it difficult for you to truly relax or fall asleep. A quick phone detox can allow you to enjoy other relaxing hobbies such as reading, doodling in a coloring book for adults or adding some flowers to your garden.
Spend time with your pet
With their friendly faces and lovable demeanor, pets offer a wealth of therapeutic traits that can reduce levels of stress hormones. If you’re dealing with a particularly stressful day, take your dog for a short 10-minute walk. Seeing your pup appreciate the walk and enjoying the little things will help you come back with a refreshed perspective.
Avoid unrealistic and negative expectations
Life has many unexpected twists and turns so you can’t always expect everything to go as planned. But don’t doubt yourself either! Stay positive (because you can do it), go with the flow, be flexible and lean on your family and friends for support.
Do what you like
We know your schedule is busy, but finding time for yourself and relaxing actually reduces stress. A few ‘me time’ ideas include taking up a new hobby, writing a poem, volunteering, taking up an art project, redecorating your home or enjoying a staycation at a nearby hotel.
We know that life can throw many curve balls. However, frequently checking in with yourself, finding healthy ways to take care of yourself and keeping a positive perspective during stressful times can help you stay balanced and resilient.
With temperatures cooling down and trees changing from green to warmer colors, it’s a sign that fall is in the air. Crisp, chilly weather lends itself to warm side dishes, and the vegetables listed below are in season and ready for cooking.
Butternut squash. This orange-hued squash is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin A and potassium, which are important for heart health. Use a long knife to cut the stem and bottom of one off, then cut the squash into quarters. Season with a dash of olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper and a pinch of cinnamon, then roast it in the oven for a delicious, slightly sweet side dish. You can also puree this same roasted squash to create a savory soup.
Cauliflower. Cauliflower has been gaining popularity in the food world, and fall is the perfect time to explore all of its culinary possibilities as it grows well in cooler climates. Cauliflower is full of nutrients, like vitamin C and riboflavin and thiamin, the latter two are B vitamins that help with converting food into energy. Roast cauliflower with turmeric in the oven for a spiced side dish with a beautiful yellow color, or finely dice the stems/florets and sauté to create a vegetable substitute for rice.
Brussels Sprouts. Green leaves may slowly be falling from the trees, but they can still appear on your table with this flavorful vegetable. Brussels sprouts are another great fiber-rich option that also contains vitamin K, a factor is essential for normal blood clotting, vitamin B1, which helps support metabolic functions that aid in energy levels. You can roast or sauté Brussels sprouts, or even shave them into a salad.
Cabbage. Found in both green and red versions, cabbage is a European staple that is famously delicious in salads, slaws or even pickled to become sauerkraut. Cabbage not only serves as a filling side, it’s also a strong source of vitamins A, B and C – in fact, cabbage is often called “the poor man’s vitamin C” as this vegetable is both a rich and economical source of this key nutrient.
While many vegetables are available year-round, there is something special about taking advantage of vegetables that are in season and at the peak of ripeness and vitamin availability. Our Fresh & Free Additions list offers a wide array of unlimited vegetables that are low in starches, yet high in fiber and water content, allowing you to enjoy them in multiple ways with your Jenny Craig Menu.
Whether you want to infuse it into your Chicken Fettucine or add a fresh twist on a salad, spiralizing your vegetables is a fun and easy way to pair veggies with your meals (and sneak in nutrition for your kids, too). Just pick up an inexpensive spiralizer tool and start turning to create thin vegetable noodles from zucchini, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. Fall in love with these five ways to eat zoodles and other delicious veggie noodle pairings.
Pair it as a side
Firm and fresh vegetables are perfect for spiralizing and taste great when tossed with a dash of olive oil and your favorite herb seasoning in a hot skillet. Pair your zoodles with a variety of Jenny Craig meals, such as the Ramen Noodle Bowl with Chicken & Veggies or Loaded Baked Potato.
Make a salad
If you’re tired of romaine lettuce, you can instead create a salad full of tasty textures with your spiralized medley of zucchini, carrots and yellow squash. Add more Fresh & Free Additions, including diced onions and tomatoes, and then toss with Jenny Craig’s light Balsamic Dressing for a fresh, unique twist on a garden salad.
Zoodles are a delicious and low-carb alternative to traditional spaghetti noodles. Just spiralize and microwave your serving of zoodles for three minutes and then top with 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, garlic, chopped onions and Italian seasoning. Buon appetito!
Top your sandwich
Amp up your veggies on Jenny Craig sandwiches, like the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and the Classic Cheeseburger, by making a zoodle slaw. Swap out cabbage by spiralizing zucchini and carrots and mix it with 1 tablespoon of fat-free mayonnaise and a dash of fresh or dried herbs. This slaw is also a great topping for the Tuna Dill or Chicken Cranberry Salad Kits.
Bulk up soup
Turn a bowl of soup into a nutritious, hearty meal with your zoodles. Bulk up Jenny Craig’s Creamy Tomato Vegetable Soup or the Chunky Vegetable Medley Soup with spiralized zoodles and carrots for a rich, homestyle soup perfect for those first chilly autumn days.
You could say we’re cauliflower fanatics. We’ve mentioned our adoration for cauliflower several times over the course of this year and it’s always our great pleasure to show you why. Cauliflower is a ‘blank canvas’ vegetable and can be transformed with various flavor enhancers and cooking methods. Let’s take a deeper dive into 4 ways you can use cauliflower to create your new favorite Fresh & Free Addition side.
A tried and true method for many vegetables, cauliflower holds up very well in the oven. It becomes lightly crispy, which adds a bit of texture to an otherwise soft, yet sturdy vegetable. Cut cauliflower into florets, mix with turmeric and olive oil, spread it onto a baking sheet and roast it in a 450-degree oven for about 25 minutes. Feel free to experiment with other flavor enhancers, such as garlic, red pepper and thyme for an Italian twist.
Jenny Craig Entrée Pairings:
Roasted cauliflower adds to the delicious vegetable medley in our Beef Merlot. You can also roast cauliflower in some hot sauce and then top off your Macaroni & Cheese with some vegetable heat!
Part of cauliflower’s appeal is its ability to act as an amazing substitute for entrees that are traditionally served with potatoes. You can enjoy mashed cauliflower by tossing florets into water and cooking it for about 15 minutes or until the stalks are soft. In either a food processor or blender, process the florets with 1 tablespoon fat-free cream cheese and garlic. Place the blend into a casserole dish, top with paprika and bake in a 350-degree oven until bubbly for about 20 minutes.
Jenny Craig Entrée Pairings:
Mashed cauliflower adds a shepherd’s pie feel to our Chicken Pot Pie, and would mix in very easily with the mashed potatoes in our Cheesy Potatoes & Chicken.
You can create cauliflower tots by grating cauliflower and mix it with egg whites, diced onion and 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese. Once you form your tots, bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, then flip and bake it for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Jenny Craig Entrée Pairings:
Tater tots are a classic French fry alternate, so incorporate the cauliflowers to create tots to go with a Classic Cheeseburger, Turkey Burger or Grilled Chicken Sandwich.
Rice can absorb flavorful stews/soups, curries and saucy dishes. After cutting the cauliflower into florets, pulse the florets in a food processor until it is finely coarse, like couscous. Heat up a large skillet with some cooking oil, and toss the cauliflower in, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes. You can then garnish with some parsley and lemon juice, or add any sort of flavor enhancer—cumin for a Mexican twist, or a touch of soy sauce to create a bit of a stir-fry with other vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions and bok choy.
Jenny Craig Entrée Pairings
Since cauliflower rice can absorb sauce and liquid extremely well, add some to our White Bean Chicken Chili or Chicken Tortilla Soup for some additional hearty vegetable nutrition. Cauliflower rice can mix in with the sautéed vegetables that come with our Cheesy Chicken Enchilada, too.
Continue to explore where you can add Fresh & Free Additions to your entrees to help you stay motivated on your weight loss journey.
The benefits of getting moving are undeniable. Increasing your activity level can aid your heart-health and overall well-being. However, you don’t necessarily have to go for a rigorous walk or break a sweat at a fitness class. In fact, you may be surprised at all the simple opportunities there are in everyday life to get moving. It can be something unassuming, such as dancing in the kitchen or even working in your garden. Check out these six activities that don’t even feel like work.
Sitting all day at work can be detrimental to your health, raising your risk for heart disease and weight gain, so take the time to stand up, shake out your legs and renew your focus with your work. Ask your employer to provide a sit-stand desk, or schedule walking meetings with colleagues to get moving and some fresh air. Ask a colleague to take a walk around the building with you if your meeting together doesn’t require anything more high-tech than a conversation.
Play in the water
Splashing in the waves at the beach or swimming a few laps at the pool is always a nice leisurely way to have some fun in the sun. However, swimming is a low-impact exercise and the perfect activity for all physical levels because of its gentle resistance and overall benefit in improving endurance. Even if you are not the strongest swimmer, grab a kickboard and get in some laps trying out different kicks.
Go to the park with your kids
If your kids have been logging too many hours on smartphones and tablets, you can feel good knowing that getting them moving outside is good for their health, too. Head over to the park and play fun games, such as ‘pirates’ on the play equipment, ‘Simon Says’ or kick around a soccer ball. All these activities can be a positive bonding experience and get in some serious movement.
Be a dancing machine
Crank up the tunes and get your groove on–it’s time to dance! Whether you’re at a special event that calls for getting on the dance floor or doing the two-step around your kitchen, dancing is one activity that certainly does not feel like work. It’s a cardio exercise that works your core while strengthening and toning muscles.
Go to a theme park
Going to your nearest fair or theme park is an easy way to rack up your daily steps and have fun with your family and friends. By walking around all day, you’ll boost your calorie burn, work those leg muscles and even get to enjoy your favorite attractions.
Grow your food
From tomatoes to zucchini, the vegetables and fruit you’ll reap from a garden you tend will provide healthy, nutritious food to positively supplement your meal plan. Plus, did you know gardening is also an activity that can burn additional calories? Just getting your hands dirty with a little weeding or shrub trimming can help burn around 180 calories in 30 minutes.
Long weekends are a real treat, especially when you can get together with friends and families. Some weekends, like Labor Day, are typically celebrated with barbecued and grilled items paired with cool salads. Here are a few strategies for how you can stay on track for the long 3-day weekend:
Eat your greens/bring a veggie tray.
Since you have plenty of Fresh & Free Additions to choose from, have at them! Bring a crudité platter of carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, celery, peppers or other vegetables that provide a crunchy bite. If you’re looking to enjoy something from the grill, create a kabob of zucchini, onions and pepper, or bring some Portobello mushrooms to create a juicy “veggie burger” that you can wrap in lettuce. Watch out for sauces and marinades often used on the grill which can be high in sugar.
Remember that fiber equals fuller.
Eating fibrous meals and snacks allows you to feel fuller longer. Eat a fibrous breakfast before you go out for the day— you can add a dollop of salsa to your Breakfast Omelet or heat up a bowl of Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. When you’re at a barbeque, vegetables, such as broccoli and snap pea, and fruits, like blackberries and raspberries, are high sources of fiber. However, all fruit and vegetables contain fiber, so you can’t go wrong.
Let fruit guide your sweet tooth.
When it’s time for dessert, delight in some strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew or pineapple—just make sure to watch your portion size. Check out your Getting Started Guide for helpful tips.
Get enough sleep.
It’s important to make sure that you also allow your body to recover and recharge so that you can actually enjoy all the activities you planned over the long weekend, so aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Not only will you feel well rested, but you’ll be clearer headed, too, which is important to continue making rational versus impulse decisions.
Get some extra movement into your day.
Whether you’re getting dressed, tidying up, or preparing a side dish to bring to a barbeque, you can get some extra steps into your day by taking 10 minutes to crank up the music and have a dance party in your home!
Use the PRP technique.
This stands for Polite, Reason, Polite, and allows you to remain in charge of your choices. You can politely acknowledge the food (“Thanks, that looks great!”) then state your reason for refusing it (“I’m already full from these delicious vegetables!”) then politely get out of the offer (“Maybe next time!”).
Let your friends and family know about your goals.
That way, they can be supportive of your ongoing efforts and choices, too.
Talk to your weight loss expert.
Image by Rachel Teodoro
Your Jenny Craig weight loss expert can help you create countless strategies for your weekend activities. The best way to success is to rehearse your anticipated scenario to make a plan (and maybe even a back-up plan!) to stay focused on your weight loss goals while still enjoying your time surrounded by family and friends. Feel free to schedule an appointment at any of our local neighborhood Jenny Craig centers to meet face-to-face or feel free to reach out to a weight loss expert via Jenny Craig Anywhere.
Being prepared for your day allows you to fall into the rest and relaxation long holiday weekends provide. Enjoy your time with friends and family, and we wish you happy, healthy eating!
Here are some quick tips for reading food labels:
1. Watch Portion Size
Found at the top, this will help identify your size of a serving and total number of servings per container. If the portion size on the Panel doesn’t match the serving size you're used to, divide it into the “right size” portion to fit your needs.
2. Know Your % Daily Values (DVs)
Scan the Panel for the % DV. This is the recommended amount for a nutrient, based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your personal DV may be lower depending on your menu calorie level. A food that has 5% or less of the DV is considered to be low in that nutrient. A food that has 20% or more of the DV is considered to be high in that nutrient.
3. Choose Foods with Key Nutrients
Look for foods that have at least 20% of the DV for vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Pick foods that are rich in dietary fiber: A good source has 3 grams and an excellent source has 5 grams per serving.
4. Look for Added Fat/Saturated Fat, Sugars and Sodium
Refer to the Panel to see if a food contains added fat or sugar. That’s important because these can be “hidden” calories. Choose foods that are low in added fat, especially saturated fat. Look at the grams of total fat in 1 serving. Choose foods that are <20% of the DV for saturated fat and have zero trans-fat as these both raise blood cholesterol. Choose foods that include unsaturated fat as these support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
5. Select foods that are low in added sugar.
Added sugars include these ingredients: brown, confectioner’s, powdered, turbinado, cane, date, invert, sucrose, polydextrose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, syrup (corn, maple and agave), honey, molasses and agave nectar.
Choose Your Foods: Food Lists for Weight Management, American Diabetes Association and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Diabetes Association, Inc®.
What does the present have to do with stress? Often, stress centers on events that happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. It may be regret over what we said or did in the past or fear over a possible future outcome. It is rarely about what is happening today.
Just by tuning into the rhythm of your breath, you can get help to reduce the tension in a stressful situation. When you’re relaxed, your breathing is slow and deep. When you’re anxious or excited, your breathing tends to be more rapid and shallow. By simply slowing down the rate or your breathing and focusing on its rhythm, you can begin to restore calm and clarity. You might even consider counting out 10 full breaths: Breathing in, say “one,” then slowly breath out. Then breathe in again, saying “two,” then slowly breathing out again – and so on, up to ten. Notice how your energy changes.
Here is a short technique for building mind-body balance:
1. You can sit comfortably with your back straight, lie down with your hands by your sides or even lie in a downward dog position. Close your eyes; allow your body to become still and calm.
2. Begin to focus on your breathing, and take several full, deep breaths. Let your breath find its own natural rhythm. Don’t try to control it; just observe it.
3. Bring your attention to the feeling of your breath as it comes into your nose, down your throat, into your belly, then back out again. Feel your belly rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. Feel the cool air entering your nostrils and the warm air flowing out. With each exhale settle in a little more.
4. You may find that your attention drifts away from your breathing, and you think of other things. Watch these thoughts float by, like bubbles. Then, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
5. Continue paying attention to your breath. If your attention drifts to an emotion, observe and accept it. See yourself riding it, like a surfer on a wave, and then gently bring your attention back to your breathing. This is practice for learning how to observe your emotions without reacting to them.
6. Try not to judge the thoughts and emotions as they pass through your mind. Gently return to the rise and fall of your breathing for several minutes. Imagine each inhale brings peace and each exhale releases tension.
7. As you finish, congratulate yourself for bringing yourself back into mind-body balance.
Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of mindfulness as beneficial to the management of pain, anxiety and stress. For weight management, the practice of being mindful creates a mental gap or “choice point,” that gives us the clarity to make lifestyle decisions in a more conscious way.
Wrap and Roll It
Deconstruct the typical turkey and Swiss sandwich by cutting turkey and cheese into squares than can be paired up with a zip bag of whole grain crackers. On another day, make it a wrap: Spread a whole grain tortilla with mustard or mayonnaise, layer on turkey, ham or tuna salad, fold over each side and roll up like a burrito.
Give Pasta Salad a Punch
If you have macaroni and cheese lovers in your house, surprise them with a cold, healthy version by mixing up a batch of pasta salad that includes a spoon or two of peas, broccolini or other veggies. Add in a little protein with cubed cheese, diced turkey or chopped hard boiled eggs. This easy, make-ahead lunch is best packed in an insulated thermos to keep it fresh and cold.
Make it colorful
If everything in your child’s lunchbox is one color (white and bland), it probably doesn’t look very appetizing. Build in some bright fruits such as green apples, purple grapes, red cherries or mandarin oranges. You can also pack vibrant vegetables, such as sliced green cucumbers/celery, orange pepper slices, spiralized yellow squash and purple baby carrots to provide an array of healthy vitamins and minerals. Which brings us to our next tip…
If your kid is picky about eating vegetables, give them something healthy to dip it in, such as hummus, guacamole or a savory Greek yogurt. You can even pack some peanut butter or raisins to complement celery sticks or apple slices. You’ll find small containers in the food storage aisle at the supermarket that are just right for holding the perfect amount of dip. Just be sure to include a cold pack to make sure everything stays nice and cool.
Let the kids make their own lunch the night below – dole out individual whole wheat pizza crust along with healthy toppings like marinara sauce, low fat shredded mozzarella, olives, grape tomatoes, mushrooms. After a quick run under the broiler, wrap in foil and refrigerate.
Break Out Some New Bread
Nothing wrong with PB and J – but the combo gets a new life when nestled in a pita, spread onto naan, or schmeared onto a bagel. And don’t be afraid to experiment with a mix of almond or cashew butter, fruit spread, mashed banana or diced peaches. Or, for a different sandwich, try a filling of smashed avocado, sprouts, sunflower seeds and a squeeze of lemon.
Bonus: Use some fun cookie cutter shapes on the sandwich to give your kids a smile when they open their lunchbox.
Bag the Snacks
Trade the usual fried potato/tortilla chips for baked potato or vegetable chips, rice crackers or even fresh popcorn.
Add Something Sweet
Fresh whole fruit, or juice-packed single serve fruit cups make for healthy, portable desserts. For a boost of calcium, freeze individual yogurt/pudding cups overnight and your kids can enjoy a spoon-able smoothie by lunch. Trail mix, fig bars and oatmeal raisin cookies are another way to sneak in a little more fruit and fiber.