*This is a partnership with Del Monte Fresh Produce. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.
Has your child gone back to school yet? I’m fairly certain that all kids are back in school these days, whether it’s in-person, remote or a hybrid model.
I work in the school district. Our schools are doing a hybrid model, with some student opting to do 100% remote learning.
Both of my kids are in college, and they are both doing online classes this semester. They didn’t want to take any chances with COVID-19.
This entire year has been full of challenges, and this school year is no different. It’s important to keep your student energized and focused whether they are learning in person, online or both.
Our school district is providing breakfast and lunch to all students. While I do appreciate that gesture, especially for food insecure students, as a parent, I would prefer to feed my kids a breakfast and/or lunch that I make. Not that I am knocking the school’s food program, but let’s face it, it’s not always the best or healthiest options. I don’t consider fried ravioli or cheese sticks to be a healthy lunch, or a apple pie for breakfast (no kidding).
My kids are in college, so I don’t need to cook for them anymore. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to offer them healthy options when it comes to breakfast, lunch or even an afterschool snack.
I always make sure that our kitchen is stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. I am grateful that my kids have always eaten their fruits and veggies. They even liked spinach, broccoli and chick peas at an early age.
One of my best tips for parents would be to keep healthy snacks readily available for your kids. I used to put bowls of fruit and/or veggies on the lower shelves in the fridge so my kids could reach them when they were younger.
If your child attends school, I would recommend putting snack options in plastic baggies or containers so your child can simply “grab and go” whether it’s for a snack to take to school with them, or a snack they can enjoy when they get home from school. Having heathy snacks ready to go makes it easier for your child to grab for healthier snack options instead of reaching into the cookie jar or grabbing a bag of chips.
Sometimes kids enjoy picking out their own lunch and/or snacks for school. It gives them a sense of responsibility and a feeling that they have choices. That is why I recommend keeping ready to go snacks on hand at all times.
As a mom, another thing I would do is always make sure your child has a fruit and veggie with their lunch (school or at home). Whenever I packed for my kids I made sure they had a protein, vegetable, fruit, water and a snack treat. For example, a typical lunch for my kids would be a ham and cheese sandwich, baby carrots, an apple, a bottle of water and 2-3 cookies. My kids also knew they had to eat their lunch in that order. Once they finished their protein, vegetable and fruit they could enjoy their treat.
Believe it or not, my kids followed that schedule when they were at school. The lunch monitors confirmed that.
I once received a phone call from the school nurse about my kid’s lunches. She told me that I pack healthier lunches than she did – and she was a nurse.
All my hard work making sure my kids had healthy lunches and snacks paid off. Today my kids still eat healthy – healthier than me I’m afraid.
Del Monte Fresh Produce was kind enough to send a box of some fruits for me and my family to enjoy. I received some plantains, avocados and pineapples.
If you are not familiar with plantains, they look like bananas, but they are usually eaten cooked, as if they were a vegetable.
I never had a plantain before until my son’s girlfriend taught him to make a Dominican dish called Mangu.
Mangú is a Dominican traditional dish served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mangú is made up of boiled plantains or green bananas. The plantains are then mashed with butter, margarine or oil in the water in which they were boiled. The dish is topped with sautéed red onions that have been cooked with vinegar.
My son made it so many times with his girlfriend that he enjoys making it. He makes it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He typically makes it with cheese, a fried egg and sausage.
I would share the recipe with you, but honestly, it’s one of those things you have to try it for yourself to see what recipe works best for you. My son uses apple cider vinegar to taste, but many recipes I have seen do not use vinegar at all. My son also prefers the plantains to be less ripe, whereas his girlfriend likes them more rip (I prefer them more rip).
My son also doesn’t like onions, so he omits that option.
It’s seriously very good. The sausage and cheese is just one option (this was a meal). My son normally makes it with a fried egg on top (smaller, personalized portion). He tends to make a lot and keep the left over plantains in the fridge so he can have the left overs for a few days for breakfast and/or lunch.
My daughter is a huge fan of avocados. She loves guacamole, but her favorite is avocado on toast. Sometimes she uses slices, other times she mashes it on toast. This is a meal she enjoys for breakfast, lunch and as a snack. She sometimes also tops it with a friend egg.
My daughter considers avocado on toast as “brain food.” She’s in college and swears that avocados make her feel more energetic and make her “think better” (to quote her).
Here is a bagel with fried eggs and mashed avocados my daughter made for lunch one day.
She doesn’t do much to it. She simply removes the “meat” from inside the avocado, mashes it up with a fork (if she’s lazy) or with the little grinder that we own (it mashes everything!), with a touch of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt and some black pepper. It’s almost like making guacamole, but with less seasonings.
She also mashes it up to an apple sauce like consistency so it’s easier to spread on toast, an English muffin or a bagel.
These are meals and snacks my kids make on their own with Del Monte Fresh Produce. These might not be something younger kids might like. For that reason I also made for you popsicles out of pineapples.
Del Monte Fresh Produce sent me some pineapples to make something yummy with. That is easy for me since we love fresh pineapple.
I would recommend purchasing a pineapple corer. It’s a metal tube-like device that is hollow in the middle. To use it you simple cut off the top of the pineapple and insert it into the fruit. Then twist the handle around. As you twist it goes in deeper and deeper in the pineapple. Once you reach the bottom, carefully pull it out. What it gives you is a spiral cut of the inside of the pineapple that you can easily cut into slices or chunks. BEST INVENTION EVER!
Safe the pineapple juice. You’ll need it for my popsicle recipe.
To make my pineapple popsicles, take some fresh Del Monte Fresh Produce pineapple and put it in a blender (or a small grinder like the kind my daughter uses for the avocados). Blend the pineapple up as much as you can until you have “crushed” pineapple pieces.
To make the pineapple popsicles, simply fill popsicle molds with the crushed up pineapple “meat.” Add some of the pineapple’s juice to the popsicle mold as well. If you don’t have enough juice you can substitute another kind of juice, like orange juice (I have made them with orange juice and it’s just as yummy!). Then simply freeze and enjoy once frozen.
You can even just chop up pineapple pieces and freeze them. Frozen fruits are not only yummy, but fun to eat. Best of all, it’s real, wholesome fruit with no added sugars, or ingredients. You can do this with just about any fresh Del Monte fruit your child enjoys.
I’m a firm believer in starting your child off at an early age to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, so that way they continue to love them when they get older.
Del Monte Fresh Produce is found at grocery and retail stores across the country. For more information visit FreshDelMonte.com. You can also find the brand on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What is your favorite way to enjoy plantains, avocados and/or pineapple?
What is your child’s favorite healthy breakfast, lunch or after school snack?
If you have any additional tips you’d like to share, feel free to comment and share your thoughts.
*Del Monte Fresh Produce was kind enough to send me some fresh fruits. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.