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.
Thank you for letting me know about these healthy meal options. I will looks for these Whole Foods 365 and stock up on them so I can bring tastier, healthier lunches for myself at work.
Yes, I hope you find some great ingredients for lunches for yourself at Whole Foods. It is so much healthier to pack a lunch than to go out for fast food.
These 365 Organic brand products sound amazing and are indeed healthier for everyone. This Back To Basics Beef and Noodle dinner sounds great. I would love to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing the foods and the recipe.
Thank you so much! I hope your family enjoys this easy recipe. Make sure you check out the Whole Foods recipe finder link, there are tons of great recipes there!
I like this Lunch box ideas It’s important to have a kids a perfect meal on school. This is helpful for me when my son is in the big school.
It is so important to have a healthy lunch at school. Kids do not concentrate in school if they are not eating healthy foods.
I like your lunchbox ideas. My girls love to have Turkey roll-ups and fruit. It’s so important to encourage our kids to eat healthy for lunch during school.
So true! It is hard when your kids see other kids at lunch eating fast food or sugar laden items. If all parents switched to healthier foods the kids would really benefit.
I need you to come pack lunches at my house. You have given me some great ideas and that beef and noodles is always a hit at my house.
I would love to pack lunches at your house! Believe it or not, making healthy lunches makes me quite happy!
Oh my I love the lunchbag! Good on you for giving your kids some organic snacks too!
Isn’t the bumble bee lunch bag adorable?
What a great line of products!! It really is crazy to think that back to school is already here.
How does time go by so fast? I really wish we had more time for summer too.
Oh wow, you really make me want to do better with the kids lunch. Mine never look this good. I do love that insulated lunch bag.
You can always do better with your lunches 🙂 I hope I inspired you with a few new healthier options.
Such a fun post. I love that cute lunch bag. I don’t have kids but I just might want to use this idea for my own lunches at work 🙂
These lunch ideas are awesome for adults too! It is not fair for only kids to get all the healthy choices.
These are pretty interesting products. Nice find. These innovation of store foods can help mom easily prepare a lunchbox for the kids. For me, as long as the health will not be compromised, I am ok with the product.
Whole Foods 365 Brand is a really great reasonably priced mostly organic option. I hope you can find some of these at your local store.
Great ideas! I have been LOVINg popcorn so much lately!
The popcorn is delicious, not too salty at all. What a perfect lunchbox snack it makes!
I love 365 organic brands! WholeFoods is one of my favorite natural grocery stores, too bad it’s pretty far away
It is worth a trip to stock up on some great back to school sales! Thanks for visiting.
Love all those healthy meal options. I know that kids get tired of the same ole things.
Kids do get tired of the same things!! I hope some of these ideas are appealing.
Those lunch ideas look delicious! I’ve never been in a Whole Foods before, but there isn’t one close to my house.
Maybe you can visit a Whole Foods next time you go on vacation. It is such a wonderful store.
I’m always looking for new, healthy foods to add to my daughters’ lunchbox. These all look like great options!
I feel like every year we need to find new healthy foods for lunchboxes. I am glad you enjoyed this post. Have a great year!
Looks so good!
Thanks so much!
We dont have this brand in aus but I love organic stuff! So much better for you! x
Yes, we try to buy organic as often as possible! Thanks for visiting.
Great article! Love your ideas.
Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed it.
Yes! I love that brand. It’s often times cheaper to shop at Whole Food than regular grocery store. It’s crazy!
It is crazy to think that you can buy many of the items in the 365 Brand and have a lower price tag that brand names at your regular grocery store!