No Brainer: Back To School Immunizations
Parents, grandparents, guardians and babysitters, we’ve made it: the start of the school year is officially just around the corner!  Pardon my jubilation but as my daughters recently paraded around the house in new back-to-school clothes, I couldn’t help but click my heels in anticipation (of course I waited until they left the room like any good parent).
Back to School Immunizations at Brookshire Brothers
Look, we are at the approximate point in summer when the nuance of the season has long faded.  It’s hot, the kids are restless, parents are exhausted and most importantly, parents are exhausted.  Our kids need to go back to school—whether they’ll admit it or not—and it’s our job as parents to get them ready.
So yes, get the new clothes, shoes and haircuts.  Download the school supply list and stock their backpacks.  But sending our young pupils into the world of academe amply supplied with loose leaf paper is only part of our job as parents.  Making sure our children are up to date on all required and recommended vaccines is a far greater responsibility to ensure the health of our kids and our communities.
Little boy in math class overwhelmed by the math formula.
Another no brainer—healthy lunches! Read Angela Larson (RD)'s 9 Suggestions for School Lunches
Depending on the state and even the school district, different vaccines are required for children prior to entering Kindergarten.  By this age (4 to 6 years-old), kids should receive booster doses for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella according to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At age 11, the CDC recommends vaccines for meningitis, human papillomavirus and again for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.  Additional vaccines against another type of meningitis (group B) are recommended in certain adolescents and teens who may be at higher risk of infection.
Many of these required immunizations are not one-time vaccines but require several vaccines in a series to achieve full immunity.  This can equate to multiple trips to the pediatrician’s office or local health clinic which can be hard to schedule for busy or working parents.
Why not let your local Brookshire Brothers pharmacist help?  As an adult, you may have visited your pharmacists for vaccines against a myriad of ailments including influenza, pneumococcal disease, shingles, tetanus, pertussis and hepatitis just to name a few.  Did you also know that your pharmacist can immunize your child against many of the required or recommended vaccines he or she needs?
Pharmacist applying bandaid after giving a shot
In sickness and in health—we're your pharmacy! View our complete list of immunizations here
In Texas, pharmacists can administer vaccines to teens over 14 years of age without a prescription (over 7 years old without a prescription for the annual flu shot) and adolescents age 7 to 13 with a prescription.  Simply have your child’s physician issue a prescription (to be given to you or sent directly to the pharmacy electronically) for any needed vaccines.
Your pharmacist will report what vaccines were given and when to your child’s doctor and your state immunization registry.  Many insurance plans pay for vaccines given at the pharmacy, but a quick phone call to your plan can clear up any questions you may have about coverage.
Letting your Brookshire Brothers pharmacist help in keeping your child or teen up to date on immunizations is a win for both your child and you!  Talk to your pharmacist today about how we can be a part of getting your kiddo ready for school and keeping them healthy all year long.

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
Cooking with Kate: Dinner Ideas for Busy School Nights
Are you ready? The start of school and the busy fall season are just around the corner! As the schedules ramp up, spending hours in the kitchen preparing dinner is not at the top of anyone’s to do list. Here is one of my go-to meals for busy nights when I have little time to prep but want to have a healthier option than the drive-thru!
A broiled white fish on a bed of rice with a side of asparagus

Broiled Parmesan White Fish

White fish is an excellent source of low-fat protein, niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and potassium. Paired with wild rice or quinoa alongside roasted asparagus or green beans, this 30-minute meal is sure to hit the spot!
2 pounds tilapia, swai, cod, or skate fillets, thawed
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
Reel in another deal this week: Celebrate members get 20% off ANY shrimp now through next Tuesday! To redeem, enter your phone number at the register. Expires 8/21/18.
    • Preheat the broiler in your oven to medium/high or high. Spray a broiling pan or baking sheet with lots of non-stick spray. In a small bowl, mix the cheese, butter, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Add all the spices and blend well. Set aside. 
    • Arrange fish fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with half of the Old Bay seasoning. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over, sprinkle with remaining Old Bay seasoning and broil for 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and spread evenly with the parmesan cheese mixture. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Depending on the thickness of your fish fillets, they will finish cooking in varying amounts of time. Be careful not to overcook the fish. Serve immediately.

Roasted Asparagus or Green Beans

A quick side dish for fish, chicken, or beef – these roasted vegetables add a healthy, bright, and fresh pop of flavor to any meal.
1 pound fresh asparagus or green beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt or table salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
For asparagus – Wash and trim bottom ends from asparagus. Peel any tough skin from bottoms of spears with a vegetable peeler.
For green beans – Wash and trim ends from green beans. Remove strings from beans, if desired.
    • Preheat an oven to 425°F. Place the asparagus or green beans onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread vegetables on the baking sheet in a single layer.
    • Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving. Serve immediately.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all your quick dinner needs!

View other recipes from Kate Rudasill, Coordinator for 1921 Catering by Brookshire Brothers.
Kate knows food. She grew up with the Southern tradition of good food with the hospitality to match.  A graduate of Texas A & M University, a student of The Texas Culinary Academy, and a Nacogdoches, Texas native, Kate’s greatest joy is bringing people together over a scrumptious meal.
9 Suggestions for School Lunches
It’s back-to-school time, which means new supplies, books, sneakers… and lunch kits! One way to keep kids excited about school is by packing lunches that are real fresh and real delicious. Even better, packed lunches are an affordable and fun opportunity to expose them to a variety of foods.  Introducing a new food alongside familiar favorites can be a great way to ease them towards eating something different.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it can take 15-20 exposures before a child—or an adult!—develops a taste for the new food. Even if they don’t eat the new food the first time they see it, repeated contact can lead a child to accepting the unfamiliar item.  So, while radishes might not be a hit the first time your kid sees them, keep at it and maybe someday your kid will be a veggie-eating super-star. To that end, here are some fresh ideas and tips for school lunches:
Try to follow a general template to make sure your child get a well-balanced and nutritious meal. Aim to include a good source of protein and fat alongside the carbohydrate at each meal.  For protein and fat, think cold cuts, cheese, eggs, yogurt, jerky, nuts, nut butters, hummus, beans, peas, and lentils.  For carbs, think outside the cracker box and try to include fresh fruits and veggies with every lunch.  And for dessert, one healthy option is a mix of dark chocolate chips and dried fruit.
Read more: LeAnne Anderson, RDN, also has some guidelines when it comes to fuel for the mind and body during school.
Invest in a lunch kit that has a plate with dividers to make it easier to provide a variety of foods in an attractive way.  Add a long-lasting cold pack to lunches with items that need to be kept cold.  If a microwave isn’t available for warming foods, there are insulated double wall stainless steel containers that can keep food hot for up to 12 hours.
Read more: Three DIY ideas to turn a lunch kit from a yawn to a “yeah!”
A fun dip can make fresh veggies more exciting and tasty.  You might try good quality hummus or ranch dressing (my favorites are made with avocado oil); plus, there’s always a variety of options in the refrigerated section at your local Brookshire Brothers store.  Alternatively, you can make your own zesty dips from bases like cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, or mayonnaise.  For these, experiment with a variety of fresh herbs, green onions, garlic, and spices for endless variations. One of my go-to favorites is a Creamy Garlic Herb Yogurt Dip.
Read more: Cottage cheese can make for great pairings with different fruits and veggies!
One easy-to-make entrée is a burrito bowl! All it takes is a combination of ingredients like rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheese, and salsa. Don’t forget to add half an avocado or guacamole for a scrumptious dose of healthy fats!
Read more: Choosing healthy fats is the first step to heart healthy nutrition.          
If your school has restrictions on products made from peanuts (to protect children with peanut allergies), try mixing up the peanut butter and jelly sandwich with new combinations. You can choose from different types of nut butters like almond butter (a super source of vitamin E!) or cashew butter.  Cream cheese and jelly is another delicious option since cream cheese is a good source of protein, fat, and calories to fill up little tummies. You might also try swapping bread for a banana or apple for even more possibilities.  And while chips are the other half of a classic sandwich lunch, you can still get creative! Consider these other great alternatives available at your local Brookshire Brothers: nuts, seeds, popcorn, dried veggie snacks, and more—all available in a variety of flavor options.
Read more: Whether you’re learning about peanut allergies or parent responsibility, the food culture of our society is a great thing to learn more about.
Breakfast for lunch is another a fun idea! Try oatmeal, yogurt, or pancakes cut into fun bite-sized shapes. For a delicious flavor of oatmeal, I recommend using diced apples, raisins, cinnamon, and/or maple syrup. As for yogurt, you’ll find that it’s a great source of healthy proteins, fats, and carbs—aka a balanced meal in and of itself! Consider buying a tub of plain full fat or whole milk yogurt, and then giving it some flavor with dried fruit, shredded coconut, slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts, unsalted sunflower seeds, granola, and/or honey.  Lastly, you might add a teaspoon of ground flax seed or chia seeds to the yogurt (or oatmeal!) to boost those nutritious omega-3 fats.
Read more: Nothing says breakfast like avocado toast.
Leftovers are your best friend when it comes to easy, ready-to-go lunches. So, when you make your delicious family dinners, pull double-duty by making a little extra and packing it up for lunch during the week. 
Read more: Did you know there are strategies for storing leftovers in the fridge to help them last longer? 
For more options with fruits and veggies, consider these:
    • One of my favorite new products is fermented sauerkraut, which is full of healthy probiotics and has a fresh salty and tangy crunch.  It can be eaten alone as a side dish or on sandwiches and hot dogs (like pickles). While it’s usually located in the refrigerated section of your Brookshire Brothers, you can also just ask your store manager, or make a product request!
    • If you don’t have time for fresh fruit, there are other good options (with minimal added sugars) to choose from: dried fruit, cut fruit packed in juice, or individually wrapped packages of unsweetened apple sauce.
    • Some great vegetable options include fresh baby carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, celery, and bell pepper strips.
Read more: For a refresher on what produce is currently in season, check out this summer guide!
For delicious and satisfying entrée options, try these: 
    • boiled eggs
    • cold cuts and cheese roll-ups
    • tortilla and cream cheese roll-ups
    • tuna salad, chicken salad, pasta salad, or egg salad on a bed of lettuce or with a side of wholesome crackers
    • cream cheese and turkey bagel-sandwiches
    • sandwiches of all varieties
You can find even more tips on the blog, as well as a recipe for Rainbow Fruit Mini-Pizza!
And who says adults can’t eat all this yummy stuff too?  Instead of eating out, save yourself a little time and money by packing an extra lunch for the break room.  And as always, you can visit your local Brookshire Brothers store for even more lunch inspiration.  There are real fresh real delicious options around every corner!

Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious healthy foods and providing nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does community education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. Look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas.  
3 Lunchboxes to Put Some Spring in Your Kid's Step

April showers bring May flowers and these bright and cheery lunchboxes celebrate the best of both!

Springtime brings lots of colorful fun, so we’re celebrating by adding it into our lunchboxes! We’ve got two bright and cheery combos sure to bring a smile to any kid’s face. 

Our first lunchbox isn’t just adorable, it’s delicious too! We made a kid-friendly pasta salad with bowtie noodles plus a little salt and butter, then tossed it all together with Cascadian Farm frozen organic sweet peas. Next, using Betty Crocker™ Fruit Gushers®, we created an adorable flower  and added fresh snap peas for greenery. Last, but not least, we also added a tasty Larabar for a hint of sweetness!

The second lunchbox is sure to satisfy your growing kid’s appetite! We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the shape of flowers, which is way easier than you might think. Spread peanut butter and the jelly of your choice between two pieces of bread and cut into a circle using a biscuit cutter. Then, cut 5 slits around the sandwich to make the “petals.” Finally, garnish with a fruit Gusher to complete the flower!

We also made flower veggie sticks with carrots and cucumber. Simply cut a slice of cucumber about 1/3-inch thick. Cut the slice in half and remove the seeds. Take a washed and peeled carrot and also cut a slice about 1/3-inch thick. Using a small knife, cut out two small, triangular pieces from one end to create the look of flower petals. To assemble the “flower”, place the carrot slice inside the cucumber slice and fasten with a toothpick for the “stem.” For a sweet treat, we made a “dirt garden” with ½ cup of chocolate pudding topped with crushed Oreo cookies. The flower was made using Dots candies, but any flowery and sweet garnish will work. We also added a Nature Valley granola bar to eat at lunch or to be saved for a yummy snack.

Our final flower power-packed lunch is super easy and super cute! We put together a turkey and cheese sandwich and using a cookie cutter, made it into an adorable flower. We wanted this lunchbox to be super-easy but still fun so we added a Go-Gurt, red and green grapes, and pretzels. We also packed along one of our rainbow Chex Bars (a fun take on the regular Rice Krispy Treat). Instead of making one batch, we divided the recipe into five small batches and added food coloring to each portion individually and stacked each colorful layer. Any other fun treat you have on hand would work great, but we couldn’t pass this fun snack up with all the bright colors!

What are some of your favorite springtime, lunchbox-approved recipes? We want to hear from you!