Thinking Outside the Lunchbox Event & Recipes with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima

Getting kids to eat healthy can be a challenge but it's not impossible. It's all about finding creative and tasty ways to get kids excited about food.

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox Event with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima Recipes

Note: I was invited as media to this event and received a gift bag. However, any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

To learn some tips to share, I attended a Dishing with the Media "Thinking Outside the Lunchbox" event with Chef Alexander Weiss, winner of a TV kids cooking competition, and Cricket Azima, Kids Cooking Expert of The Creative Kitchen at children’s cooking school Freshmade NYC.

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox Event with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima Recipes

During the event, fellow foodies enjoyed sampling different healthy and tasty dishes using a range of products from the event food sponsors, all while watching cooking demos from Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima.

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox Event with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima Recipes

Cricket Azima first demoed how to add more vegetables to kids diets by turning Libby’s® Vegetable Cups into a delicious afterschool snack dip. Packed with vitamins and minerals, Libby’s® 4 oz. Vegetable Cups offer a complete serving of healthy goodness for packed lunches and on-the-go snacks.

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox Event with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima Recipes

Then Cricket made Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Broccoli Bites and showed how easy it is to add a healthy addin to a favorite family meal. Kraft knows that parents want to feel good about what they’re feeding their families. To meet families’ needs, Kraft has switched to colors sourced from spices, reduced saturated fat by 25%, and has taken steps to include more whole grains in the pasta

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox Event with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima Recipes

Next Chef Alexander, took veggies to a new level by pickling them and adding them to a Tofu Bao sandwich featuring House Foods tofu. While it sounds complicated, making this tofu sandwich was easy and quick.

After the demos I spoke with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima to find out how parents can get kids excited about food and cooking.

  • Chef Alexander Weiss shared that his parent allowed him to help out in the kitchen. It started simple with helping cut up fruits and then progressed to helping more as he grew older and his cooking skills increased.
  • Cricket Azima also agreed with allowing kids in the kitchen. Based on age and ability, kids can help measure, pour, cut and stir while preparing a meal. Assigning tasks helps get kids involved and excited about cooking and later eating meals.

For picky eaters, allowing them to help "pick" from healthy choices to add to a meal makes a difference. Kids can feel they're more in control of new tastes and dishes instead of feeling like it's being forced on them.

I say anything that cuts down the food fights with kids is something I'm willing to try! Would you like to try one of the recipes

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR MAC AND CHEESE CUPS
Makes 6 servings as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, plus all ingredients listed for traditional prep on side of box
1/2 c KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 pkg. (8 oz.) steam-in-a-bag broccoli, cooked and roughly chopped (optional)
3/4 c panko bread crumbs

Instructions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Prepare KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese according to package directions.
  • Stir in shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Stir in cooked broccoli and 1/2 c of the panko bread crumbs.
  • Spray one 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill each cup with mac and cheese mixture (about 1/4 c of macaroni and cheese). Push down gently to ensure that the cup holds its shape. Top with additional panko bread crumbs.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before carefully removing with a spoon.
*For home-style version: pour macaroni and cheese into a small, greased casserole dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

The see more recipes made during event, visit www.DishingwiththeMedia.com/recipes


About Dishing with the Media

Dishing with the Media was created by seasoned public relations professionals known for creating events that deliver on brand and product goals. With expertise in food, nutrition and consumer product public relations, they launched Dishing with the Media so that companies, organizations and brands can deliver their messages and demonstrate their products in a forum that answers the media’s desire for events that tell a complete story.

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox Event with Chef Alexander Weiss and Cricket Azima Recipes

About the "Outside the Lunchbox Event" Sponsors

Fruit Shoot

Fruit Shoot No Sugar Added is a refreshing and tasty juice drink that kids love, with 10% real fruit juice and only 20 calories per 10 ounce serving. It has no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, and colors from natural sources

Fruit Shoot aims to help keep active kids hydrated, inspire fun and outdoor adventure and can be enjoyed as a part of a balanced and active lifestyle.


Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Just in time for the big screen debut, Kraft is bringing the lovable MINIONS characters, from the Despicable Me franchise, to meal time. 
KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese MINIONS Shapes are available in the form of three custom pasta shapes modeled after fans’ favorite characters—Kevin, Stuart and Bob. These exciting new shapes have no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives, and no synthetic colors in the boxed varieties. 
 


Kraft knows that parents want to feel good about what they’re feeding their families. To meet families’ needs, Kraft has switched to colors sourced from spices, reduced saturated fat by 25%, and has taken steps to include more whole grains in the pasta.


Libby’s

Packed with vitamins and minerals, Libby’s® 4 oz. Vegetable Cups offer a complete serving of healthy goodness for packed lunches and on-the-go snacks. Take them everywhere and eat them anywhere.
Libby’s® Vegetable Cups come in individually packaged, microwavable containers and are available in five delicious flavor varieties - Sweet Corn, Cut Green Beans, Sweet Peas, Diced Carrots and Peas & Carrots.

House Foods

Rated #1 by the San Francisco Chronicle’s blind taste test, House Foods Tofu was described as “creamy,” “tender” and “fresh-tasting.” Delivering smiles and happiness to generations of health-conscious families is their number one priority.


NutriBullet

NutriBullet is a nutrition extractor that breaks down fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plant based foods to an easily absorbable state. NutriBullet empowers consumers to be proactive about improving their health.


Made in Nature

Made In Nature’s Organic Ancient Grains are an ideal pantry staple for busy moms and dads. In the 60 seconds it takes to get from bag to bowl, you have an organic dish full of real food and real flavor. These Ancient Grains are a nutrient dense dish made from whole grains and legumes with the flavors of fruit, vegetables and spices that the whole family will love.

Made In Nature Organic Dried Fruit Fusions are mouthfuls of pure, organic whole fruit bites blended to perfection with an exciting twist of delight. 
And with 100 calories or less per bag and no added sugar, Single Serve Fruit 
Fusions are the perfect snack for all ages. 
The Single Serve Fruit Fusions are the perfect lunch box snack for kids, but moms and dads can enjoy them too!


Mary’s Gone Crackers

Mary’s Gone Crackers MiNiS are currently available in three delicious flavors; Graham, Vanilla & Cocoa; a healthy and satisfying snack for the entire family – including those with gluten sensitivity or intolerance – to enjoy.

Mary’s Gone Crackers MiNiS are made with delicious whole food ingredients and have a low sugar content. They’re also gluten-free, certified organic, non-GMO, soy free and vegan, as well as naturally packed with omega-3s, fiber and protein.

Mary’s Gone Crackers MiNis are available for purchase on MarysGoneCrackers.com and Amazon.com and in grocery stores and fine retailers nationwide.


Setton Farms

Pistachio Chewy Bites are the perfect healthy addition to any lunchbox. The all natural pistachio and cranberry snack bars help kids fuel their active muscles with carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Pistachio Chewy Bites are packed with protein, fiber and antioxidants and are Non-GMO certified. The NEW Two-Pack Bar is the ideal portable lunchbox option to keep kids fueled throughout their busy day.


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