Back-to-School Roundup: Trendy Meal & Snack Ideas from Brands that Understand Busy Parents ~ Trendy Mom Reviews
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Friday, September 1, 2017

Back-to-School Roundup: Trendy Meal & Snack Ideas from Brands that Understand Busy Parents

The new school year is here! One of our family traditions is to stock our kitchen with special meals and snacks that work with our busy schedules.  My boys seem to have endless appetites, so stocking our kitchen with healthy meals and snacks at the beginning of the semester makes my life easier and keeps everyone happy. In today's post, I'll invite you into my kitchen to learn about several trendy meal and snack ideas from some of our favorite brands.

Trendy Meals
Pizzeria Uno Deep Dish Pizza is a First Day of School tradition at our house. These pizzas are unique because they have a tall and buttery crust with authentic Italian spices, quality tomatoes, and generous portions of cheese. It's really amazing that these pizzas bake in just an hour.  One of these generously sized pizzas is enough for our family of four and leftovers for lunch the next day.  You no longer have to visit a restaurant to enjoy theses delicious pizzas since they offer frozen pizzas through their online store. 

We recommend the 4-pack so that you are able to try one of each flavor. My personal favorite is the Cheese Pizza, but my boys will argue that the Pepperoni or Sausage is their favorite. My husband's favorite is the Numero Uno.  They are all amazing.  Click here to order your own.

Another First Week of School tradition at our house is to cook family-friendly meals from Martha Stewart's Marley Spoon.  This trendy meal delivery kit has never disappointed us. My family is always excited for dinner when I tell them that I am preparing a Marley Spoon meal. The culinary team at Marley Spoon pays close attention to detail when they create the recipes so that it is easy for you to prepare dinner. For instance, the trendy recipes that we tried this week include Macaroni and Cheese with Garlic Crumbs & Lemony Salad and Spiced Steak Tacos with Corn Salsa & Cilantro Yogurt.  Here is a photo of our Macaroni and Cheese with Garlic Crumbs.

We served it with the Lemony Salad that included fresh baby bibb lettuce, radishes, and a delicious homemade dressing.

Here is a photo of the delicious steak tacos. The cilantro yogurt made this recipe special.

Both of these meals were rated "easy" and took approximately 20 to 30 minutes to prepare.  Whether you are a beginner or advanced cook, I am sure that you'll learn something new from Marley Spoon.  Personally, I like that they help me to solve the never ending question of "What's for dinner?"   Click here to visit Marley Spoon.

Of course, there are evenings when you are too busy to cook.  Let me share a couple of my favorite restaurants for busy families.  

McAlister's Deli is a family-friendly restaurant that caters to busy parents.  You are probably already familiar with their trendy menu for adult entrees and their famous teas.  Another reason to love McAlister's Deli is that their Kids Meals are only $2.49 each if you get them to-go. Even better, if you want to sit down and spend quality time together, the Kids Meals are only 99¢ when you dine-in at any of the 72 Saxton Group McAlister's Deli locations. All of the kids menu items come with a treat - sandwiches are served with chips or applesauce. Drinks may be added to a Kids Meal for 99¢. They offer the famous McAlister's Unsweet and Sweet Tea and standard fountain drinks. They also offer organic beverages for kids, including: Horizon Organic Milk, Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk and Honest Kids Organic Juice!

My son's favorite is the pizza!

The macaroni and cheese is another favorite.

The nachos are really good because they have a great recipe for the nacho cheese sauce.

Of course, the sandwiches are also delicious!

Click here to browse McAlister's full menu. Click here to find a Saxton Group McAlister's Deli location near you. 

Another great option for on-the-go lunches or busy evenings is Snap Kitchen. They offer healthy handmade meals for busy people. The way that it generally works is that you select your meals and then simply heat them at home, school, or work.  (They also have salads and snacks that do not require heating.) Each meal has a detailed label with the ingredients, nutritional content, and heating instructions.  Most people purchase several meals at once and then heat them up over the following few days.

For instance, we select several meals at a time for our family and then simply microwave them when we are ready to eat. Here is a closeup photo of my favorite meal - the Crispy Chicken meal that contains trendy almond-crusted chicken (for a better-for-you crispy crunch) and roasted carrots that are tossed in a kale and walnut pesto.

Here is a photo of the Bison Quinoa Hash.  This is my husband's favorite meal since it is delicious and packed with protein.

Here is a photo of the Slow Roasted Brisket Tacos. This is my son's favorite meal. As Texans, we are picky about brisket and tacos, so it means a lot that this is one of our favorite meals!

Snap Kitchen also offers breakfast, healthy snacks, and juice.  They make it easy and convenient to provide your family with healthy meals and snacks!  Visit their store locator here.

Our Special First Day of School Lunch uses Pretzilla pretzel rolls. One of my children loves a Pretzilla Sausage Roll filled with pepperoni and cheese. (Are you noticing a trend? One of my children loves pizza!)  

My husband and I also enjoy taking special lunches to work during the first week of school.  We create sandwiches using Pretzilla Rolls, fresh mozzarella, sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and Balsamic glaze.

In addition, to our trendy sandwiches, we also love the Pretzilla snack pretzels that come in small packs with cheese or family-sized packs that you may keep in the freezer or on the kitchen counter. Pretzilla is available locally at Whole Foods and other grocery stores. Click here for a store finder.

Trendy Lunch Boxes
The meals above are great for lunches. Before moving on to our favorite snacks, let me pause to share our favorite lunch bags.  I have energetic boys that "play hard."  That's my not-so-subtle way of saying that they stress test everything.  We use Lands' End insulated lunch bags for them because they are nice quality, hold a good amount of food, and we love the stylish designs.  One of my son's has the Lands' End Classmate Printed Soft Sided Lunch Box. My other son has the trendy Lands' End Classmate Printed EZ Wipe Lunch Box.  These lunch boxes are fun to customize.  They have several logos such as the tiger or earth images below. They also let you add their initials or names.  I never have to worry about my children mixing up their lunch boxes with anyone else!  I also love that I am able to buy a lunch box that survives the school year without tearing. Visit Lands' End for school supplies here.

Trendy Snacks

As a mom of two boys and an athletic husband, snacks disappear quickly in our home. Our kitchen is stocked with snacks so that I don't have to  hear, "Mom, I'm hungry!"  Here are some of our favorite snacks.

Beanito's offers unique and trendy chips that are made from beans. They offer several trendy varieties that include black bean or white bean ingredients.  I love these much more than traditional tortilla chips because the flavor is unique and I feel like they are not as heavy.  Plus, you can't beat that they are high in fiber and have 4 to 5 grams of protein per serving for the different varieties.

My personal favorite is "The Original" Black Bean Chips. 

My husband loves the white bean varieties, including the "Hint of Lime" shown below.

My son's favorite is also a white bean version. He loves the "Nacho Cheese."

I'm a really big fan of Beanito's because they make it fun to snack while also packing extra protein and fiber into snacks. Click here to learn more about Beanito's. We purchase them at our local Kroger and Whole Foods stores. Click here to find a retailer near you.

The next brand on our list is Garden Lites.  I first found out about this brand in one of my mom groups on Facebook. Someone raved about their veggie muffins and how it rocked their son's world. I was particularly interested because one of my children is on a dairy-free and gluten-free diet. I found these products in the organic section of our local Kroger. It turns out that my children love them! I really like this trendy brand that include veggies in their recipes!  Click here to find a store near you that carries their trendy garden inspired treats.

The next collection of snacks on our list comes from G.H. Cretors. This brand offers a variety of classic and unique popcorn flavors. The first three bags here are the Dill Pickle, Salted Butter, and Honey Butter Kettlecorn flavors.

Here is a closeup of the Dill Pickle popcorn.  This unique flavor was delicious.  The zesty flavor surprised me! Everyone in our family loved it.

The next three bags are classic flavors - White Cheddar, The Mix, and Just the Cheese Corn.

My son's favorite was The Mix variety that contains buttery caramel corn and real cheddar cheese corn. 

Learn more about G. H. Cretors here. Find a retailer here.

Our snack list would not be complete without rich and decadent treats from Funky Chunky. This brand offers so much more than chocolate covered popcorn and chocolate covered pretzels because they use top quality ingredients and many chunky "extras." For instance, the latest product line is called the Funky Chunky Café.  We tried three of the trendy new flavors and fell in love with the decadent treats: Caramel Latte, Vanilla Sweet Crème and Dark Chocolate Mocha. The recipes and quality ingredients make their products stand out. The Funky Chunky treats come in two sizes with a 2 ounce coming this fall. The pricing is in the range of $6.50(5 oz)  to $23.50 (19 oz).  Visit the Funky Chunky website here and use their store locator here.

Finally, we love simple drinks such as water or AquaBall drinks.  My children are excited about the popular AquaBall drinks. They are the only zero-calorie, sugar-free and preservative-free children's beverage currently on the market. The naturally flavored water is available in four flavors – Berry Frost, Fruit Punch, Grape and Strawberry Lemonade. The bottles also appeal to kids because they feature fan favorite characters from Disney's "Frozen", Disney Princesses, Marvel's "Avengers," and Disney Classic Characters. 

My son loves the Avengers!

The Disney Princess drinks are always popular with the girls when I bring snacks to an activity.

We hope that you enjoyed a peek into our kitchen and gathered ideas for trendy meals and snacks to serve your family!  The trendy items above are sure to keep your family happy.

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