A few weeks ago we took the Challenge from Champions for Kids and Jennie-O Turkey and gave up something we loved to see how much we would save.  We chose cookies!  We then took our savings and used them to make a healthy, fun lunch for my daughter’s school!  Click here to see my initial shop for the Champions for Kids and Jennie-O Simple Service project.  Check out the details on the Project Card.

My intention was to treat both of my daughter’s classrooms but I hit obstacles that were not anticipated and so my lunch for my Kindergartner’s class won’t be until a week from now.  But I made it to my middle daughters class and they LOVED it!  It is so great – and easy – to give back in just a few weeks with the lunch at her preschool, plus help my kids learn more about eating healthy!

First and foremost, it was surprisingly easy to give up cookies!  I thought that there would be crying and begging and pleading for our favorite treats.  But my husband behaved.

The kids adjusted very well too and my two year old Megan even learned that Turkey sandwiches (turkey bacon with a tad of mayo on whole grain bread) is her new favorite lunch!  She now eats it almost every day with a banana and baby carrots and fruit snacks for dessert!  It certainly beats white rice with a cookie for dessert on the health-o-meter!

During this time my daughter Katie has rediscovered her love of apples and has learned that “black things” on food is not bad.  She loves the Cajun Turkey with ‘smashed’ potatoes and corn!  She even says, “It’s a little spicy but it’s OK ’cause it tastes good’!  And Sarah, my pickiest of eaters now will only eat her macaroni with turkey hot dogs in it!  And not one of them has asked for a “Mimi Cookie” in over a week and a half!

I have rediscovered my love for easy but healthy meals and now have turkey bacon and eggs for breakfast instead of chocolate chip waffles!  It is truly amazing what can be done within a family unit when something unhealthy is simply just not purchased!

And with the money we saved not buying that “junk” (approximately $80 in the last few weeks, I calculated), I was able to make some really great things to take to my preschoolers school!

Check out what I made below:

The first thing I made was Turkey Dog and Cheese ‘skewers’.  I heated up some Jennie-O Turkey franks, sliced them up along with some cheddar cheese, put them on a toothpick – perfect for little hands – and topped it with a slice of a cherry tomato.  These were a HIT and the kids asked for seconds and third and fourths!  So easy and affordable and great for snacking!

The next thing I made was turkey sandwiches.  I sliced the Jennie-O Oven Roasted Turkey Breast and placed it on a piece of whole grain bread.  On half the sandwiches I put a thin tomato and on the others just a thin layer of mayonnaise.  I topped the sandwiches with Whole Grain White bread to add some contrast and to make them more attractive to kids who are used to white bread.  They loved them and I was so excited to see them pick up and eat triangle after triangle!

The third thing I made was not quite as healthy as the first but I just had to try it!  I wrapped a piece of cheese and some of the turkey breast in a crescent roll.  I added a very thin layer of butter so the turkey would not dry out and baked according to the instructions.  These were so good and everyone loved them!  So they are a great alternative when you want that pig in a blanket without the sausage!

Rounding out the lunch were fruit and veggie trays and then everyone got frozen yogurt for dessert!  I stayed after everyone ate and read two books to my daughters class which I loved!

It was a beautiful mid day treat and everyone was so thrilled with the food, fun and the fact that there were so many kids that loved all of the food!  Even the teachers were a little surprised!

This was a wonderful and rewarding project – as they all are with Champions for Kids – and it took away my fear of taking away things that I knew I should have a long time ago!  I am enjoying my savings, my new – healthier – family, and my lesson in life!

Less is more.  And in this case, purchasing less of what we don’t need leads to more personal reward!

See how it all started in my first Jennie-O Post!

Find out more about Champions for Kids on their Website and follow them on Twitter @Champions4kidsTwitter and Like them on Facebook at Champions for Kids Facebook!

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