Two weeks left of our summer vacation. It’s time to get back to basics and start planning simple dinners and easy lunchbox ideas again. Planning ahead with some easy dinner ideas is the key to tackling the busy school nights. Organizing your kitchen for successful and healthy lunches will help you stay organized all year long. Surprise your child with a new lunchbox this year like this adorable bumble bee from SkipHop.
Whole Foods 365 Brand saves you money and makes meal planning easier
I will be honest with you, I have never been a big fan of store brands. I used to think that store brands were an inferior product. Looking through my shopping basket, you would not see any store brands at all. Whole Foods store brand is different. Their 365 Organics line, and excellent everyday value, is well priced, has healthy ingredients, and is the perfect way to help you get ready for back to school shopping. I know that Whole Foods cares about the ingredients they are using and that means a lot to me. Buying the 365 Brand gives me confidence that I am serving my family healthy choices at great prices.
I received a recipe to test, the Dutch Oven Beef and Noodle Casserole. This casserole needed to bake for an hour. We updated the recipe with the same ingredients and created our own Back to Basics Noodle and Beef Dinner. This is a simple weeknight dinner that your whole family will enjoy. You can even make the pasta in advance and then have dinner ready in less than 15 minutes! This meal is customizable as well. Picky eaters can eat the plain noodles with cheese while the more adventurous eaters can eat the vegetables and meat on top of the noodles. Vegetarians can either use a fake meat substitute or just leave the meat out completely. I love meals that have many options so everyone can be happy at dinnertime.
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms (one box)
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 small green pepper chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10oz package of egg noodles
- 1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- Cook your noodles in salted water, then drain and set aside to stay warm.
- Heat your saute pan, then brown your ground beef. Drain off any excess oil.
- Set your cooked ground beef aside to stay warm.
- In same pan, saute your mushrooms, onions, peppers, and corn.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the can of tomatoes and the juice.
- Add in the cooked ground beef to the pan with the vegetables.
- Stir and heat everything together for 3-5 minutes until it is all well mixed.
- Serve a portion of noodles, with some of the beef and vegetable mixture on top.
- Add a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on top if you want to.
Dinner is covered, so now we can talk about lunches. What can you send with your child for lunch that is simple, delicious and healthy? I have two lunchbox ideas for you. First, choose one snack from the 365 Organic brand line. Some of the items pictured above include:
- Quack N Bites Cheese Crackers
- Fruit Cups
- Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
- 100% Apple Juice
Second, choose one fruit and veggie as well:
- Carrots or Celery and Ranch Dressing
- Clementine or Orange
- Yellow or Red Watermelon
- Apple Slices
- Small salad
Third, put your lunches together! Both of these lunches are made using the 365 Organic Brand products. Get adventurous, make a sandwich on a tortilla. The one below has mayo, mustard, turkey, cheddar, and lettuce and tomato on top. Tortilla sandwiches are easy to put together for Mom or Dad and fun for your child to eat. We paired this sandwich with some tortilla chips, an applesauce, a clementine and some grapes.
The second lunch is an almond butter and jelly sandwich paired with a Colby Jack cheese stick, a fruit cup, apple juice, and a granola bar. Maybe your kids sick of the same PBJ sandwich each day? Here are a few different ideas that might make their lunches a little more interesting:
- Deconstructed nachos: chips, cheese, salsa, guac and sour cream
- Tuna salad with potato chips to dip into them
- Hummus and chips and veggies
- Peanut butter and banana with honey drizzle
- Sunflower butter with marshmallow fluff and jelly (this is Dad’s favorite)
- Pasta Salad
- Fruit salsa with cinnamon pita chips
- Cheese and crackers
There are 3 more ways to save money at Whole Foods NOVA. First, you can download the Whole Foods Market App here and use the digital coupons at the end of your shopping trip. Second, there is a coupon book that is updated every few months that you can find at the end of each register or at customer service. The third way to save money is to check the weekly sale flyer. You can combine all three of these savings on one order.
To go along with these lunch ideas, visit this page for free printable stickers to brighten your lunch!
For more recipes and lunchbox ideas, visit the Whole Foods Market recipe finder. Follow along on Twitter with the #WholeFoodsBTS or follow on Twitter here. Or, follow along on Instagram with the #WholeFoodsBTS . Follow Whole Foods Market NOVA here, to keep up to date on all the local stores and contests.
There are 9 Whole Foods locations in Northern Virginia. See which one is closest to your home or office.
Ashburn: 19800 Belmont Chase Drive Ashburn, VA 20147 phone: 571.223.4440
Arlington: 2700 Wilson Blvd. Arlington VA 22201 phone: 703.527.6596
Fair Lakes: 4501 Market Commons Dr. Fairfax VA 22033 phone: 703.222.2058
Old Town: 1700 Duke St. Alexandria, VA 22314 phone: 703.706.0891
Pentagon City: 520 12th St. South, Suite 100 Arlington, VA 22202 phone: 571.777.3948
Reston: 11660 Plaza America Dr. Reston, VA 20190 phone: 703.736.0600
Springfield: 8402 Old Keene Mill Rd. Springfield, VA 22152 phone: 703.644.2500
Tysons: 7511 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22043 phone: 703.448.1600
Vienna: 143 Maple Ave East Vienna, VA 22180 phone: 703.319.2000
I received a complimentary gift bag of foods from the 365 Brand from Northern Virginia Whole Foods Market. All views and opinions expressed here are 100%my own. I also bought many other 365 products for this post and for my family to enjoy.