Produce For Kids: Yummy Meal Ideas For Your Family + $100 GIVEAWAY!

I first discovered Produce For Kids Ideal Meals cards last spring when I was shopping in my local Kroger supermarket. The fun, colorful display caught my eye and before I knew it I had picked up nearly every recipe card there to take home and share with my kids. They were excited about the yummy looking snack and meal ideas and couldn’t wait to try them.

Since then I’ve become a big fan of Produce For Kids. I mean, who doesn’t need more ideas to help our children (and ourselves) eat more fruits and veggies? I know I do! Their philosophy is simple: promote healthy lifestyles for children by educating kids and parents about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables while also supporting worthy children’s causes.

This spring they kick off their annual Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign which will not only help your own family eat healthier this year, but it will also raise money for Children’s Miracle Network-affiliated hospitals.  Working with 16 supermarket grocery store chains across the United States, from May through July, participating fresh fruit and vegetable companies will make a donation to local children’s hospitals based on sales of their fresh produce items at participating grocery stores.

Starting this week and in the coming weeks, look for the Ideal Meals cards in your local grocery store. The free cards provide quick and easy healthy meal ideas to shoppers in the produce departments at participating grocery stores. The chef created and nutritionist approved cards include ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

New this year, Produce For Kids will feature cutting edge technology with new QR codes (the square bar codes) on the in-store point-of-sale display units and specially marked Ideal Meal cards. The Ideal Meal codes immediately link a shoppers’ Smartphone to cooking demos featuring PFK Chef Marshall O’Brien preparing each meal. Codes on point-of‐sale displays link shoppers to the Get Healthy, Give Hope Sweepstakes, to enter for a chance to win a full‐motion, interactive gaming systems, cookware sets and grocery store gift cards.

Since its creation in 2002 by Shuman Produce Inc., Produce For Kids has raised more than $3.1 million for local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and PBS KIDS® to educate parents on healthy eating and raises funds for public broadcasting. To learn more, visit www.produceforkids.org or www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org.

I hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled (yes, pun intended!) for the Ideal Meal Cards. Then get into the kitchen with your family and whip up some delicious new ways to get your family eating more fruits and vegetables!

THE BEST PART- A $100 GROCERY STORE GIVEAWAY!

Produce for Kids is sponsoring a giveaway here at Meal Planning Magic. You can enter to win a $100 grocery store gift card from your local participating supermarket!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

PRIMARY (MANDATORY) ENTRY

1. Click on this link to visit Ideal Meals page then come back here to leave a comment with your favorite Ideal Meal.

 ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

2. Share your own idea, tip or recipe for feeding your family more fruits and vegetables.

3. Vote for my blog at Babble’s Top 100 Food Mom Blogs (to find me, click on Alphabetical, then go to page 4 to find me and click to vote!)

Remember, leave a comment for each entry. Only one entry per person per method listed above. Good luck!

Giveaway Rules:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to #4, Heather! She is the winner of this giveaway!

Supermarket partners participating in the Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign include: AcmeMarkets; Kroger’s Texas division, King Soopers and City Market stores; PriceChopper (New England area), GIANT and Martin’s Food Stores, Giant Landover, Stop & Shop; Meijer Stores; Publix Super Markets; Homeland and other Independent Grocers of Oklahoma.

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for this promotion and all the opinions expressed here are my own honest feelings about the product.

Cake Pops & Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

A few days ago I made my first attempt to make cake pops. I had received the book by the same title by Bakerella. Let me just say, they look way easier to make than they actually are! My son helped me with the shaping but when it came to dipping, things went downhill fast. I was able to make enough to put into a bouquet for a school event but still wished they looked a little better. Oh well, they still tasted good (although next time I’m going to try making them with ‘from scratch’ ingredients).

Cake balls are rolled and ready to be shaped.
Using a cookie cutter to shape the cake balls.

Candy coatings are melted and ready for dipping.

This is where it started going downhill. Despite freezing the cake pops like the instructions say, they still crumbled and fell apart with dipping.

The successful cake pops…drying in the Styrofoam block.

All done! They look ok but certainly not like the picture in the book. The edible writer pens didn’t work either so I couldn’t write the fun saying on them. Maybe next time!

If you’re still looking for a few last-minute Valentine’s Day treat ideas, keep reading.

Our Valentine’s Day tradition is to have Chinese food. It started way before our kids were born. “Our” restaurant was a local Chinese spot so we thought it only fitting to go there on this romantic day. Later, when kids were born, take-out was more the norm. This year, because of some conflicts on Monday, we’ll have to plan our dinner for a different night altogether. But I’m planning to make some homemade Chinese fortune cookies as a special treat!

Here are some other Valentine-inspired treats I’ve come across this week that I’m thinking of trying:

–From FixMeASnack, how about this Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie?

–Download and print these fun panini sandwich toppers at PaniniHappy and add them to a sandwich to let that special someone know how much you care!

–Save your $$ and make your own chocolate dipped strawberries. Food with Kid Appeal shows you how.

–A healthy Valentine? Sure! These cute message stickers added to a piece of fruit are sure to bring a smile to any sweetie. Download and print them for free!

Do you have anything special planned for Valentine’s Day?

Last Minute Holiday Baking Ideas {Menu Idea Inspiration}

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather these last couple of days. That and the craziness that this time of year brings for us and some other commitments I’ve had means I have been remiss in posting for you all this week much at all! We’re planning our big baking day for tomorrow. Cut-out sugar cookies are tops on the list and we’ll be trying these Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies.
And if you think there’s just not enough time for baking, check out my post from last year for some simple no-bake holiday treats. Enjoy!

{Guest Post} Don’t Forget The Vegetables!

I’m not sure what has sparked my recent interest in adding fruits and veggies to our menu this week but maybe it is my subconscious voice speaking to me. You see, there have been a lot more sweets creeping into our diets and they seem to be pushing out the healthy foods. With the holidays upon us it will be even more challenging to keep offering the healthy options. So when Amy of SuperHealthyKids contacted me about doing a guest post, I happily agreed! I know I sure can use all the help I can get on this front. Amy offers some great (and easy!) tips that will hopefully help you too. And to wrap things up, she provides some terrific suggestions on how to handle the holidays and continue healthy family eating habits.

Welcome Amy!

As you know, planning our meals is the best way to save money, time, and help our family eat better. However, how often are we forgetting to plan for the most important part of the meal, the fruits and vegetables? It’s easy to forget to plan for the fruits and veggies. When meal time is eminent, we see what’s in the fruit basket, or check our vegetable crisper to see if there is anything that hasn’t turned brown yet. This last minute approach to planning for the fruits and vegetables is a dangerous habit, as sometimes it leaves us without a vegetable at all!

The best way to ensure your family is eating enough fruits and vegetables for every meal are to add it to your meal plan. This is how we do it:

Check What Is In Season. Use your store ads to find what is seasonal and what is on sale. If you see there are great prices on cabbage, add coleslaw to your meal plan. If watermelon is down to 10 cents a pound, you can be pretty sure it is in season, and you can have watermelon salsa with your chicken.

Incorporate Vegetables Into Already Planned Dishes. If spaghetti is on your meal plan, make sure you buy some carrots and mushrooms to add to the sauce. If you are having tacos, don’t forget to add tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado to your shopping list.

Prep Your Vegetables In the Morning! When you know what vegetables you are going to serve for dinner, you can get them ready in the morning. This practice alone has helped me put vegetables on the table at night more than any other tip. If we are going to be having salad, I will wash and chop the lettuce in the morning. If I know we’ll have stir fry, I get the broccoli, onions, and carrots all chopped and put in a bowl, ready to throw on the skillet.

Stock Up On Frozen Vegetable Kits. We always have bags of frozen vegetables. As we plan our meals, I consider what vegetable kits are already put together for me. The corn and peas frozen bag is great for chicken pot pie. The stir fry kits are great for exactly that–stir fry. Even the frozen bags of chopped potatoes are a great meal extender for a quiche.

Healthy Holidays. As the holidays are approaching, making sure your family gets at least five fruits and vegetables a day will be vital. With all the goodie plates, classroom parties, and holiday get-togethers, the sugar consumption goes way up the next two months. If you are getting the produce in at least 80% of the time, then it’s okay for you and the kids to indulge on special occasions. Before going to parties, have a plate of salad at home. Before you send your kids to school on party days, fill them up with a fruit and vegetable smoothie for breakfast. And make sure those goodie plates from the neighbors are reserved for after you all fill up on a healthy meal. As you are planning meals for your family, don’t forget the most important aspect of their meal. Fruits and vegetables are meant to be the star of dinner, not the forgotten side!

Web Bytes-Halloween Edition

This week’s Web Bytes update is all about Halloween! First off are some thoughts on candy and how to deal with all the candy our kids might be getting on Sunday while trick-or-treating:

The New York Times takes on candy with it’s feature on Studying Candy as a Guilty Indulgence.

Real Mom Nutrition has a unique approach to getting rid of the candy in her post Oh Candy Corn, I Hate You! (Don’t Leave Me)

And then there are these super creative ideas with some really fun and healthy Halloween snack ideas!

Snack Girl offers her Top Ten Healthy Halloween Tips

Or check out this week’s Muffin Tin Monday’s Halloween Edition snack ideas.

And lastly, one of my favorites this week! Another Lunch’s contribution to the Halloween themed Muffin Tin Monday (I love the Frankenstein–you gotta check it out!)

So hurry up, quick! Get to the store so you can make up some of these healthy Halloween snacks before the weekend is over!