Making the Most of School Meals

We hope you’ve been enjoying your free school meals, and they’ve been helping your family stretch your food budget. We do our best to provide a variety of ready-to-eat foods for your child to eat, but realize foods can sometimes be repetitive. If your child is getting tired of some of the foods, don’t toss those extra items! Here are some creative ways to enjoy and store some of the foods you may receive:

White milk cartons: Try freezing white milk before the expiration date. Thaw the milk when ready to use. Or use them to pour over cereal, make homemade macaroni and cheese, Apple Parsnip Soup, smoothies, or Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce.

Chocolate milk cartons: Make frozen popsicles by freezing chocolate milk in small paper cups or ice cube trays with toothpicks inserted, or make Ice Cream in a Bag!
Bagged baby carrots: Serve these for snacks with ranch dressing, peanut butter, or hummus. Bagged carrots can be stored in the refrigerator and then used to make Oven Roasted Vegetables or Sunshine Carrots.

Fruit juice: Freeze fruit juice in ice cube trays and use the cubes to add flavor to plain or sparkling water. Fruit juice can also be made into fruit slushies, and as an ingredient in smoothies.

Fruit cups: Individual cups of diced peaches, pears, and applesauce can be used in ingredients in baked goods. Try Peach Muffins with Oatmeal Topping (uses ½ cup of peaches, which is roughly one individual cup), an Old Fashioned Fruit Crumble (uses 3 cups drained peaches or pears, which is roughly 6 fruit cups), or Apple Pancakes (uses 1/2 cups of applesauce, which is roughly one applesauce cup).  Fruit cups can also be used in smoothies.

Dried Cranberries: Packets of dried cranberries have a long shelf life, so you can place them aside and use at a later time. Try enjoying dried cranberries in this Apple Cranberry Salad Toss or toss some into a bowl of hot oatmeal.

Whole fruit:

Oranges: Squeeze the oranges to make fresh orange juice. Enjoy right away or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Sliced oranges can be added to water to create fruity fun and flavor.

Bananas: Banana Burritos are a fun twist to lunch that kids can make themselves. Use overripe bananas to make Banana Nut Oatmeal, or slice and freeze them for later use in a smoothie. 

Apples: Apples store well in the refrigerator. If you find yourself with lots on hand, use them to make a tangy Apple Salad, Spicy Apple Filled Squash, or Sweet Potato Apple Bake.

Join us for a live cooking demos via Facebook on Thursdays in January at 11am.
We’ll be making some of the recipes featured in this post.
Be sure to “like” the page and turn on notifications to receive alerts when we go live.
Gather the ingredients so you can cook along with us!


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This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP in cooperation with Maryland’s Department of Human Services and University of Maryland Extension. University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class.

© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall