I'll admit that I'm probably the first one to grumble about how expensive school lunches are getting. During the school year I feel like I'm constantly feeding money into my kids' lunch accounts to keep those annoying low balance reminders at bay. But on the flip side, I find it just as hard to keep the cupboards stocked with healthy and nutritious snacks and meals during the summer. What can I say -- my kids can EAT!
I have to say that I'm really grateful that my kids have never known true hunger, though. We've been through some pretty lean times, but we've always managed to put food on our table -- something I know so many struggle with each day. Many of the millions of children who rely on free or reduced cost school meals simply go without over the summer. I can only imagine how their parents must feel...
Thankfully there are organizations that offer assistance to these families in need, and now they have more of the resources to help even more families thanks to the Walmart Foundation's new summer-long initiative that includes $15 million in grants that will benefit the following six nonprofit organizations:
- Children’s Health Fund
- Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
- League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
- National 4-H Council
- National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
- YMCA of the USA (The Y)
These organizations will use the funding to provide everything from nutrition education to meals and snacks for 1.4 million children and families in more than 1,500 communities.
Also part of the initiative is the Walmart Eat Healthy Together Challenge, a program designed to encourage ALL families to prepare and eat healthy meals together throughout the summer.
You can join in by simply committing to eat three nutritious meals together as a family at least three times a week this summer from June 30 – August 4, 2014. Track and share your progress on Twitter with the following steps for a chance to win a $25 Walmart gift card!
- Follow @WalmartHealthy on Twitter.
- Post photos or updates on Twitter of your family eating healthy meals together, and include hashtags #EatHealthyTogether #Contest.
- Check out @WalmartHealthy each Monday for the announcement of the winning Challenge Tweet of the week; each winner will be awarded a $25 Walmart gift card.
The challenge will run from Monday, June 30, 2014 through Monday, August 4, 2014. Entries need to be received by 10:00 a.m. ET on Mondays to be considered for the contest each week. Click here for more details and rules.
Whether we're penny-pinching at the moment or not, I think we can all appreciate good recipes for budget-friendly meals and snacks. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites from the archives:
This honey lime chicken uses a marinade with just five simple ingredients to take ordinary chicken breasts from blah to wow! Pair it with this coconut milk rice (with or without cilantro and lime) for a delicious meal that won't break the bank.
These yummy no bake peanut butter bars can be endlessly customized, so you can have a different variety every time you no bake them! Start with pantry staples like peanut butter, oatmeal and honey, and mix in dried fruits, nuts, etc. -- whatever you have on hand.
What are your favorite budget-friendly meals and snacks?