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Get ready for back-to-school with minivan meal makeovers


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(BPT) – Back-to-school time can be hectic for busy, on-the-go parents. Between transporting kids to school, getting to work on time and never missing extracurricular events, the minivan can feel like a second home, making eating on the run a necessity. Whether planning breakfasts on the way to school or snacks after soccer practice, the following tips can help upgrade parents’ minivan meal game.

Start the day right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and many options are portable. Store peeled hardboiled eggs in the fridge overnight so they’re ready to take along in the morning. Bring yogurt in squeezable tubes, instant oatmeal in cups that can be microwaved right before heading out the door and easy-to-eat fresh fruits like bananas and apples.

Use drive-friendly dishware. Muffin liners make the perfect disposable dishware for snacks on the road. For an even easier solution, keep an empty muffin pan in the car and let kids use it for a lap tray to hold the snack-filled cups in place.

Make easy-to-hold foods. Instead of buying string cheese, cut back on packaging by making easy-to-hold cheese sticks. Cut off lengthwise pieces of naturally delicious Arla Dofino(R) Havarti for the perfect portable snack. Made with few ingredients, no added hormones and from local farmers’ milk, it’s a simple, nutritious and delicious take-along food that you can feel good about serving to the whole family.

Keep cool. To ensure that foods stay fresh, keep a cooler or insulated container in the car for storing foods to be eaten later in the day, and for leftovers from any unfinished meals and snacks. It’s also great for keeping cold water bottles available so everyone stays hydrated.

Be crafty with snacks. Raid the kids’ craft table to create quick on-the-go snacks. Popsicle sticks are the perfect vehicle to hold together bite-sized foods like cheese cubes, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes.

Put a fresh face on food. Animal outlines like fish, bunnies and bears can put a fun spin on fresh foods. Use cookie cutters to cut fruit, veggies, cheese and bread into cute shapes ahead of time and store in a bring-along container.

Put magic into mini meals: Creative snacking keeps kids’ tummies full and their imaginations active. Create edible magic wands by topping pretzel sticks with Havarti cheese cut into star shapes. Pair cubed Arla Dofino(R) Smoked Gouda with satisfying beef jerky for a “caveman haul” snack, or add the cheese cubes to trail mix for an extra boost of protein.

Fast, fill ‘em up sandwiches. Bigger kids also need fuel to keep them going between all their activities. Top whole wheat bread with peanut butter, pre-sliced Gouda cheese and slivers of fresh pear. Pita bread is also a portable, edible container, perfect for filling with sliced turkey, Dill Havarti, hummus and chopped bell pepper.

Ensure less mess. Stock the minivan’s glove compartment with napkins and wet wipes to avoid a mealtime mess. Zip-top bags also come in handy for storing foods that kids might not have time to finish between activities. Keep a box of garbage bags in the car to easily stash the trash and dispose of it at home.  

For more recipes and ideas, visit www.arlausa.com.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Get ready for back-to-school with minivan meal makeovers