News Release
 August 8, 2007
CONTACT: Tracy Pawelski

TOPS Markets think outside the lunchbox with ideas for parents & kids

Carlisle, PA - School bells around the country will soon be ringing, signaling the end of summer and the start of the new school year. Once again parents will be faced with the daily task of packing a lunch that will both taste good and provide the needed nutrition and energy. Giant Food Stores, TOPS Markets and Martin's Food Markets want to help parents put together a healthy lunch that won't be traded in the cafeteria.

While most schools offer the option of purchasing a lunch from school, many children opt for the bagged lunch option. According to a survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association and the ConAgra Foods Foundation, a majority of kids (83 percent) bring their lunch at least one or two times a week and 55 percent of kids "brown bag it" up to five times a week.

Packing a lunch at home is one way parents can guarantee their children are eating healthy at school. This is becoming increasingly important as the number of overweight and obese children and adolescents grows each year. According to the American Obesity Association, childhood obesity has more than doubled over the last 25 years and quadrupled among adolescents.

Cutting back on the sugary, high-fat and high-sodium foods frequently offered in school cafeterias and vending machines will help keep children healthy and fit. While packaged snacks and sweets are quick, easy fillers for lunchboxes, Giant, TOPS and Martin's have tips for packing a healthy, tasty lunch in a short time:

Instead of plain white sandwich bread select a whole grain bread, a tortilla wrap or a pita where the word "whole" is at the top of the ingredient list.

Send veggie sticks (use precut for a time saver) with dip such as low-fat dressing, peanut butter, veggie dip or humus.

Low-fat cheese cuts (6 grams or less of fat per serving) with crackers provide a healthy alternative to sandwiches.

Choose sliced lean or low-fat brands of lunch meat in place of fatty luncheon meats.

A baggie of low-fat microwave popcorn is a healthier salty snack than potato chips or cheese puffs.

Give kids a do-it-yourself project by sending granola, trail mix, cereal or fruit as a lunchtime stir-in to yogurt, applesauce and cottage cheese.

To ensure kids get their needed supply of protein over the frequent filler carbs, try one of these brown bag options:

Use some of last night's leftovers by sending strips of grilled chicken with honey mustard dipping sauce or quesadilla slices with chicken and cheese (or veggies and cheese).

Mini-burritos with rice and beans or meat in a tortilla with salsa can be eaten hot or cold.

A small cup of peanut butter is a perfect dip for apple slices and spread for rice cakes.

Fill a wrap or sandwich with lean, low-fat meats. For non-meat options try tuna with light mayo or humus and veggies.

Pack a small serving of nuts such as cashews, peanuts, almonds and pecans.

Looking for additional healthy lunch and snack alternatives? Check out Giant, TOPS and Martin's own product line, Nature's Promise, which provides a selection of healthy, organic and all natural varieties, free of artificial colors and flavors and hydrogenated oils. Ingredients, as well as nutrient and health information, including fat free, sugar free or gluten, lactose, egg and nut allergies are clearly listed with easy-to-read icons on the product packaging.

Giant Food Stores, LLC, one of the leading supermarket operations in the U.S., currently operates stores in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia under the names of Giant Food Stores, TOPS Markets, Martin's Food Markets and FoodSource. As a company, Giant is proud to work with hundreds of local organizations in the communities it serves and has a long-standing commitment to eradicate hunger and improve the quality of life for children. For more information about Giant Food Stores, visit


Try one of these quick and healthy recipes to bring some pizzazz into your child's next school lunch! Each one suggests a fun way your child can "help" make their lunch.

Blueberry and Strawberry Parfait


1/4 cup (2-3) fresh strawberries, washed and stems removed

6 oz (3/4 cup) low fat or nonfat vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup low fat granola

Slice strawberries lengthwise. Layer the ingredients in an airtight container starting with yogurt and alternating fruit. Keep granola is a separate baggie or container to sprinkle on top when its ready to be eaten. Place a cold-pack in lunch box to keep chilled or make ahead and freeze. Placed in a lunch box, this will keep other foods cool and will be thawed for eating by lunch time!

Ants on a Log


1 stalk of celery, cut into 3-4 inch pieces

2 Tablespoons, nut butter

1 Tablespoon raisins, dried cranberries or sunflower seeds

Spread each celery piece with nut butter. Press in raisins, cranberries or sunflower seeds. (Stable at room temperatures.)

Inside-Out Turkey Roll-up

Does bread always have to go on the outside? Try this recipe or make up your own inside-out favorites. Kids love to help make this lunch!


1 slice whole grain sandwich bread

2 slices American cheese

1 slice turkey breast deli meat

1 teaspoon mayonnaise, ranch salad dressing or mustard

Flatten bread slice with a rolling pin or with your hand. Spread bread with the mayonnaise, salad dressing or mustard according to your child's taste. Lay down the turkey slices, next the cheese, then the flattened bread. Roll sandwich with turkey on the outside, bread on the inside. Food safety tip: Place a small ice pack in the lunch box along with any meat or cheese food item.

**Don't forget to put a damp paper towel in a plastic sandwich bag to remind your child to wash-up before and after eating**


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