C+ for Brown Bag Lunches… 5 Tips for Packing a Nutritious School Lunchbox

Parents Need to Step up Brown Bag School Lunches

Parents Need to Step up Brown Bag School Lunches

Normally on MommaJam, we don’t speak about school until September.  But, a new Study from Tufts University is making headlines this week, suggesting that school cafeteria options are now healthier than home packed lunches and snacks.

Jeanne Goldberg, Ph.D., R.D., a professor at Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University who wrote the report says, “Lunches (studied) were comprised more of packaged foods than anything else.  Almost a quarter of the lunches lacked what would be considered an entrée, such as a sandwich or leftovers, and were instead made up of a variety of packaged snack foods and desserts.”

The study found that only 27% of the lunches met at least three of the five National School Lunch Program standards.

In some ways, that is good news:  the government now has strict nutrition guidelines for school lunches.  But, parents packing lunch boxes need to step it up.

This week’s MommaJam covers school lunches with tips for how to get an A+.

 1.  Serve dinner for lunch.  If you’re making homemade pizza, chicken cutlets or chili for dinner, make extras for school lunch the next day.  This routine will make your life much easier through the week.

2.  Go for easy protein, says Denise Herrera, the top chef at Burtons Grill, Hingham.  “Try hard boiled eggs for lunch or snack.  Pack Greek yogurt-based dips and hummus for veggies like cucumbers and carrots and Baby Bell cheese.

3.  Be resourceful.  Freeze organic yogurt tubes and add them into lunch boxes as a cold pack.  By the time lunch rolls around the yogurt will be thawed enough to eat.  Avoid the high sugar types.

 4.  Pack water.  Skip the sugary juice box and send along a bottle of water instead to get your child in the habit of working toward his/her optimal fluid intake (experts recommend one consume about .5 ounces of water per pound of body weight), says Merilee Kern, the creator of the new ground-breaking “Kids Making Healthy Choices” APP for children, parents/caregivers and educators (available on iTunes) for $2.99.  The app has recipes and meal ideas and more.

5.  Pack real food, not packaged junk.  “Tuna fish is packed with oh-so-beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids.  Mix it with low-fat mayonnaise and diced apple for a wrap or sandwich,” says Kern.  “Almond Butter Banana Bites are great for snacks.”

95.9 WATDTo get more information and to hear WATD’s South Shore Morning News Co-Hosts Rob Halaka and Lisa Azizian reminisce about their home-packed lunches, click the arrow for the MommaJam replay on Aug. 12, 2014.  We talk lunch and more with tips and information about healthy eating for kids.

We’ve covered Healthy School Lunches extensively on MommaJam.  Here’s a link to more ideas and resources:

Tips for Healthy School Lunches

Interview with Burtons Grill Top Chef Denise Herrera:  Packing a Healthy School Lunch

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: Healthy School Lunches & Tomato Season

Back-to-School: Go Trash Free with Laptop Lunches

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: Green Chic Snack Bags & Retro Lunch Boxes

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM:  Fall Flavors – Interview with Burtons Grill Hingham

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: 6 Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: 6 Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Real Food, Not Junk

Thanks for listening to MommaJam.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tune into MommaJam every Thursday at 7:10 a.m. on 95.9 WATD-FM.  Listen live on the radio dial or from your desktop, phone or tablet.



August 15, 2014 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: Burtons Grill Top Chef Gives Summer Dining Tips

Originally posted on MommaJam:

95.9 WATD-FM Click Arrow to Replay MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM, July 18, 2013.

This week, we have a special guest in the studio to talk about summer dining tips.

Denise Herrera, the top chef at Burtons Grill Hingham, “dishes” about delicious summer flavors, fresh herbs, her secret ingredient in the restaurant’s signature BBQ sauce (Shhhh… it’s chocolate!), $1 Oysters from local waters, the B Choosy Children’s Menu, and much more.

Photo: The weekend is here don't forget to make your reservation at Burtons Grill of Hingham,LLC  and let us do the cooking for you. Call us anytime (781)749-1007 hope to see you here this weekend.This week’s cool, dry weather is perfect for dining outside on the Burtons Grill patio at the Derby Street Shops in Hingham.

Click the above arrow to hear Denise’s interview and learn more about fresh summer flavors for you and your family.

Tune into MommaJam every Thursday morning on 95.9 WATD-FM.  Listen live on the dial or from your computer or smart phone.  Check back for podcast replays.

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August 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Tips for Healthy School Lunches

Originally posted on MommaJam:

Fresh spinach pasta

Make Dinner for Lunch

I have this theory that moms go great guns on lunches for the first few weeks of school and then get into a rut and just make the same the meal every single day.

One tip is to serve dinner for lunch.  If you’re making homemade pizza or chili for dinner, make extras for school lunch the next day.  This routine will make your life easier through the week.

My kids often boycot cold cuts, so I make pasta for them in the morning.  Sometimes it’s whole wheat, sometimes, it’s the regular kind.  Pastene’s Organic Whole Wheat Penne looks the most like regular pasta – it’s not so brown.  Pasta will stay warm in a container.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  Pack a fork.  And it’s good to go.

Chicken wraps are also great.  Roast a chicken on Monday and use it all week just for lunch. …

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August 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: The Pinehills, Plymouth Farmer’s Market, Making Pickles!

Click the arrow to hear the replay of MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.

The Market at Pinehills

1.  The Pinehills in Plymouth Excursion

The Pinehills in Plymouth is a great place to visit this weekend or anytime for an excursion with your kids, shopping, ice cream, fine dining, and more.

On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Pinehills is hosting an ETSY Marketplace on the village green.  More than 20 Etsy shop owners – all local artisans – are featuring unique, one-of-a-kind handmade arts and crafts.

The Market at The Pinehills is the perfect spot to put together a picnic lunch for you and your kids.  The sandwiches and prepared foods are delicious and easy to mix and match for a great meal.   The Market’s bakery has fresh baked cookies, tarts or cupcakes.  Spread out on The Pinehills’ beautiful Village Green and enjoy a great picnic on the grass!

Let’s Scream 4 Ice Cream is a MUST stop this weekend or any time you’re looking for a fun ice cream outing.   The old-fashioned stand serves 18 delicious ice cream flavors, freshly made ice cream cones, sundaes, shakes and more.

Mama Mia’s is now open at The Pinehills.  Expect great pizza and pasta for the whole family. There’s live entertainment from pop/classic rock guitarist Dan Durkee this Saturday from 6:30p – 9:30p on the patio.

For a special date night, check out Rye Tavern, which has backyard-garden-to-table dishes that are simply delicious.

For a Mom’s get away, the new Mirbeau Spa is OPEN!

2.  Plymouth Farmer’s Market at Plimoth Plantation

This week is National Farmer’s Market Week!

Every Thursday until the fall, you can visit one of the South Shore’s largest farmer’s market – The Plymouth Farmer’s Market at Plimoth Plantation.

The market is open every Thursday from 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Go to Plymouth Farmers Market on Facebook for a listing of events each Thursday:  cooking demonstrations, special meals, seasonal fruits and veggies fresh from local farms.

Each week, the PFM has music and LOTS of food from Local Farmers and Food-makers who source ingredients from farms on the South Shore.

3.  Kitchen Project with the Kids:  Pickle Cucumbers! 

Making Pickles!
The MommaJam test kitchen was in full swing this week as a pickling factory!   If you’re garden is over flowing with cucumbers, try pickling!   EatingWell Magazine has a “No-Can” recipe that makes pickles in a few hours.  The pickles are good for up to a month in the refrigerator.  Make in the morning and have pickles at night!


Thanks for listening to MommaJam.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

95.9 WATDTune into MommaJam every Thursday at 7:10 a.m. on 95.9 WATD-FM.  Listen live on the radio dial or from your desktop, phone or tablet.

August 8, 2014 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: In the Studio with Burtons Grill

Local Ingredients, Trendy Flavors, Gluten-Senstive, Patio Dining ….

Get the full behind the scenes on all of the delicious dishes and drinks this summer.

 Click Arrow to Hear the Replay of Burtons Grill in the studio on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

We h95.9 WATDad the honor of having Burtons Grill’s top chef, Denise Herrera, and the legendary Stephen Slicis, the Hingham location’s general manager, come into the 95.9 WATD-FM radio studio to talk about the restaurant’s new seasonal menu items featuring local ingredients and trendy flavors.

The Bonfire Burger lights up with spicy sweet sriracha sauce.  This burger is SO amazing, even the cooks and wait staff eat the Bonfire Burger while on break!

The Bronzed Salmon with Romesco Sauce is another dish that pops.  The romesco sauce has a tangy bite that pairs perfectly with warm, tender center cut salmon.  Fennel slaw, a recent MommaJam fave, gives a slight crunch to every bite.

Another bonus to dining at Burtons Grill – if you have any food allergy or are gluten-sensitive or just a particular eater, Burtons Grill will take special care to make sure your meal is safe to eat.  Listen in to hear Denise and Stephen talk about their protocols and standards when it comes to preparing and serving anyone at any age who has certain dietary needs.B Choosy Children's Menu

While you are there, check out the B Choosy Children’s Menu.  It’s $7 and lets kids pick and choose from a selection of healthy, real food options.

Go to BurtonsGrill.com for a peek at the menu and make your reservation today.

Thanks for listening to MommaJam.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tune into MommaJam every Thursday at 7:10 a.m. on 95.9 WATD-FM.  Listen live on the radio dial or from your desktop, phone or tablet.

August 2, 2014 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Burtons Grill Hits the 95.9 WATD-FM Studios

Bonfire Burger…. Beet Salad….. Watermelon Sangia…. Patio Dining….

The Tastes of Summer Come Alive at Burtons Grill

Bonfire Burger

The new Bonfire Burger at Burtons Grill is made with certified angus beef and topped with tomato jalapeño relish, sriracha, sweet and spicy chili pepper sauce, and shredded lettuce.

This Thursday, July 31, 2014, Burtons Grill superstars are coming into the 95.9 WATD-FM studios for a special MommaJam feature during the South Shore Morning News with Rob Hakala and Lisa Azizian.

We are tasting the new summer menu which debuts Burtons Grill’s Bonfire Burger and many other delectable dishes new and old.

Hear Hingham’s general manager and South Shore legend Stephen Slicis talk about the community and how Burtons has become a great place for families to socialize, especially after a game.  Top Chef Denise Herrera talks local ingredients, summer flavors and the new menu items that will win your heart (and tastebuds).

Best of all, Burtons Grill is a place parents can dine in style and have their kids eat a healthy, hearty meal made with real food.  The Burtons Grill B Choosy Children’s Menu is only $7 and lets kids pick and choose what they want from cool menu options.

If any one in your family has food allergies or special dietary needs, don’t worry.  Burtons Grill is a pioneer in serving customers panicked about cross contamination, celiac, allergies, and picky preferences.  This stress-free factor alone is reason to hang out at Burtons Grill for lunch or dinner with your kids.  Every mom can appreciate an upscale restaurant that also caters to families.

Listen live on the radio dial at 95.9 or from your computer, tablet or mobile phone at 959WATD.com.

In the meantime, check out Burtons Grill’s Monday Oyster Night and Tuesday Night Summer Solstice Specials at the Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham.



July 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM: 5 Tips for Bringing Baby to the Beach



Get the MommaJam Replay.

Click Arrow to Hear MommaJam on 95.9 WATD-FM on Thursday, July 24, 2014 with Morning Show Hosts Rob Hakala and Lisa Azizian.

 Please pardon the reverb – this show broadcasted live from a remote location.

95.9 WATD

In 2005, when MommaJam was a rookie mom going to the beach with a baby was full of drama.  Looking back as the veteran mom:  SIMPLIFY!

You will get through the day!

Here are the top 5 things you need for a successful day at the beach this summer:

1.  Shade

The most important item for beach babies is shade.   OneStepAhead has great baby cabanas in cute colors and styles.  These portable tents are easy to open and close and are the prefect spot for an afternoon nap (for the baby… I mean mom… I mean the baby…)

2.  Beach Stroller

Any jogging stroller that can handle terrain will do.  While I did bring the car seat/baby bucket to the beach a few times, you really want a place to park your baby, but can also move around.  Jogging strollers let you take a walk, induce a nap (baby), explore, and more.  Plus, jogging strollers make  nice sherpas.

3.  Baby-Friendly Sun Screen

Interestingly, the FDA doesn’t recommend sunscreen for babies, opting for shade instead.  However, that’s not entirely realistic (and not much fun)!  The Badger brand has a gentle sunscreen lotion with camomile that the company says is appropriate for babies under 6 months.  Go to EWG.org for a full sunscreen report on what’s safe for babies, toddlers, bigger kids and adults.


Hydrate.  Nuff said.

5.  LUNCH for mom! :)

CRITICAL!  :)  Make this ahead of time – like the night before – so it’s ready to go.  Make sure lunch is easy to eat with one hand.

Most of all, have fun, take pictures and pray for nap time.


Surviving Baby’s First Summer at the Beach
Summer Excursions on the South Shore
Two Moms “Run” Oh Baby Fitness on South Shore

July 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

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