School Lunch Suggestions from the Farmers Market

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School is back in session which means many families are packing lunches.  This invites the age-old question of what to pack for lunch?

Come to the Metuchen Farmers Market for some inspiration!  Luckily, for Farmers Market shoppers there are plenty of options - many of which are ready-to-eat. This time of year, farmers are transitioning from summer crops into fall harvest.  Apples and pears can go straight into the lunch box.  Sweet ground cherries are fun to peel and even better to eat. Slice up cucumbers and bell peppers for a crunchy snack to be dipped into humus, guacamole, or salad dressing. Farm-fresh eggs can be hard-boiled and enjoyed with a fresh baked bread.  Cheese and nuts are easy treats packed with protein.

More and more, research shows that children who exercise and eat healthy foods throughout the day, tend to perform better academically and are less likely to battle obesity and/or develop diabetes as they grow. But many parents can find it daunting during a busy school year to send children on their way with the right foods.

One Metuchen Farmers Market Shopper, a mother of three, suggests getting your children involved in the process.

"Let your kids help pick out items they like. We make the Farmers Market a Saturday morning family affair.  I have found that when my kids actively participate in choosing what goes in their lunch boxes, they are more inclined to eat it. Choosing from different apple varieties and a smorgasbord of pickles, is fun for them.  And as far as I am concerned, it's far healthier than store-bought processed snacks."

Metuchen Farmers Market Manager, Nelson Li, agrees. "It's a great way to get kids used to different and healthier foods. Kids become much more imaginative and willing eaters."

So the next time you take your child to market, explore the options together and you will have the comfort of knowing that they will want to eat what you're tucking into their lunch boxes.

Need additional fresh, seasonal inspiration? Sign up for the Metuchen Farmers Market newsletter which packs a new recipe every month.  You're bound to pick up an idea or two for your brown bag office lunch!The Metuchen Farmers Market has been in existence since 1997, but has enjoyed a revitalization starting 2011, when it grew from a few farmers to more than a dozen top-notch vendors. Proudly presented by the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce and managed entirely by community volunteers, The Market hosts four "Jersey Fresh" farmers and other food-first vendors offering cheese, pickles, olives, fresh-baked breads, mozzarella, dried fruits/nuts, grass-fed pork, free-range eggs, farmhouse-baked pies and more. 

Need more info? "Like" The Market on Facebook for special newsfeed, follow us on Twitter and visit us online at where you can sign up for our e-newsletter.

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