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Food & Dining

(BPT) - It's that time of year again; time for class projects and quizzes, field trips and friends, recesses and recitals. Yes it's time for another school year and for parents, that can mean a little bit more stress as well. If the last school year left you feeling more like a survivor than a thriver, take heart. The following tips will help you get a handle on things from the get-go so you and your children can enjoy everything this year has to offer.

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School Day Meals Made Easy

* Make your morning routine a team effort. Everyone wins in the morning when you work together. Set a goal to leave by a certain time and make it a fun task by giving each of your kids a role. Younger kids can focus on brushing their teeth and getting dressed while older kids can be named team leaders and help their younger siblings get ready. When everyone works together, you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished. And when you leave on time, don't forget to celebrate. A little positive reinforcement will get everyone excited to be part of the team.

* Create a lunch plan. Packing a lunch should be an easy task, not an obstacle. Try and get organized by developing a 5-day lunch planner. Map out what your kids - and even you - will eat for lunch each day. Include fruits, vegetables, breads, proteins and a fun treat like Entenmann's Little Bites Party Cakes or Sara Lee Brownie Chocolate Chip Cakes. This allows you to provide a balanced meal, allow for portion control and put a smile on your child's face when they open their lunchbox! Once the menu is planned, you can shop with your child in advance for any ingredients or supplies you'll need and prevent that early morning scramble - and make it fun!

* Pack the night before. Eliminate the risk of forgetting projects or homework by getting your children in the habit of packing their school bags the night before. This will give everyone the time they need to get everything in order and cut another task from the morning routine.

* Quell afternoon hunger with a snack. The hectic nature of the morning can quickly return in the afternoon if you haven't prepared a snack for your kids to enjoy as they do their homework. To help, Kathleen Robbins, head baker at Entenmann's Little Bites and Sara Lee Snacks, has created two DIY homework helpers, the Little Bites Party Cakes Caterpillars and the Sara Lee Brownie Chocolate Chip Snack Kabobs, featuring Entenmann's Little Bites Party Cakes and Sara Lee Snacks Brownie Chocolate Chip Cakes. These snacks will satisfy your kids during their homework sessions. You can find these fun and easy DIY recipes on the Sara Lee Snacks Facebook page, Little Bites Facebook Page and YouTube.

The start of another school year always adds a bit more hustle to your normal routine, but a little extra planning can help. By using the tips above and getting your kids onboard, you'll be able to pass the first tests of this school year with ease.

Editor's Note: To enter the Entenmann's Little Bites "Life of a Lunchbox" sweeps, running from August 1 - September 25, and for official rules, visit the Little Bites Facebook Page. No purchase necessary.

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