This is a repost from the beginning of last school year (kids are in 2nd and 4th grade now!). I’d love to hear ideas of what real food you put in your kids’ lunch boxes.
I’m still in shock, but somehow I now have a First grader and a Third grader! How did this happen? Just yesterday we brought home a tiny little toe-headed boy and the day before that we brought home a 4 1/2 lb itty-bitty baby girl. However it happened, they are both in school all day now while I sit home and wonder what I’m going to be when I grow up. Ok, so the first few weeks I’ll not be doing a lot of sitting; all of those projects built up over the summer and now need to be tackled. But in a week or so, I’ll have some time on my hands.
This school year both of my kids will be eating lunch at school. So one of my first projects to tackle will be perfecting my protein and veggie-filled muffin recipe to put in the kids’ lunches. Until then, though, they need something yummy and nutritious in their lunch boxes to get them through the day without crashing in the afternoon. This first week is a short one, so we didn’t have to come up with too many different lunch combos, but after a while I assume they’ll want something different. So we came up with a list of possible things to put into a lunch box that will be a hit with the kids and satisfy my need to put “real” food in the box.
I love the idea of a “bento box” style lunch. Neither of my kids are huge sandwich fans; so putting a bunch of separate snacky-type foods in their box seemed like the reasonable thing to do. Here are the ideas for my kids’ school lunches (the kids do not exclusively eat paleo/primal/gluten-free/dairy-free, but I try to serve them real food as much as possible):
- Ham Cubes (all meat is nitrate/nitrite and sweetener free whenever possible)
- Sausage or Hot dog
- Cheese Cubes or slices (all dairy products do not contain rBST, hormones, antibiotics, etc.)
- Boiled egg (eggs come from our backyard chickens)
- Pepperoni slices
- Salami slices
- Homemade Jerky
- Meatballs (Everydaypaleo.com recipe suggested by my friend April)
- Banana (fresh or dried) (All fruit is organic whenever possible)
- Apple slices with peanut/almond butter
- Plantain Chips
- Pickles (homemade)
- Carrots with dip
- Apple Sauce (unsweetened)
- Veggie/Fruit muffin or cookie
- PB & J (will try elanaspantry.com bread recipe)
- Lunch meat roll ups
- Frozen fruit (thaws in the box)
- Yogurt Pop (frozen tube yogurt)
- Sweet Potato Chips
The family and I have been on the go almost nonstop for the past 2+ months. We’ve visited family in Arkansas, been to the zoo, the state fair, the beach, numerous parks, built a tree house and a few plastic weapons, rode our bikes, played with our friends and had a fabulous summer!
During all of that, I thought very little about food or exercise. Eating paleo/primal around family who didn’t wasn’t much of a problem at all. I ate the parts of the meal that fit with the way I eat and didn’t stress about it if I had a treat/cheat now an again. I walked almost nonstop while doing fun things with the kids, occasionally fit in some self-administered yoga and hefted around watering cans and pieces of lumber while working on the tree house and in the garden. And with that philosophy and lack of attention, I don’t think I gained or lost an ounce. I’m pretty happy about that.
Although I didn’t think much about food, I did manage to photograph a couple of dinners and a lunch and made up one coconut flour cinnamon cookie recipe (stay tuned for that on another day). Enjoy!
Broiled Salmon with turnips and turnip greens fried in bacon grease
Pork Sausages, beet greens and kale fried in bacon grease, pickled beets
The kids made this lunch for me today while i was working on the tree house. Lettuce topped with roast beef, cheddar cheese and a mustard smile and heart. <3
So, I’ve been eating mostly primal/paleo for well over a year. My kids eat mostly what they want but I do try to give them real food rather than packaged or processed junk. If they want toast or pizza on occasion, that’s what they eat. But they do know that I don’t eat things like that and they do know what foods are healthiest for them. They ask me sometimes why I “can’t” eat pizza with them; I say ” I can eat anything I want, but I choose to eat this rather than that.”
Well, a little while back, the Girl told me they were learning about nutrition at school. Uh oh. She was bringing home worksheets about what foods were healthy and what foods were not. Now for the most part the choices were ok; Like choose an apple rather a bag of potato chips. But there were a few things on there that they considered healthy that I didn’t. And of course there was the omnipresent Food Pyramid.
One day the girl brought home some homework in which they asked her questions about said Food Pyramid. She came to me a bit upset and said “They want me to answer this question by saying we’re supposed to eat a bunch of servings of bread and grains every day, but that’s not what you say we’re supposed to do. So I don’t know how to answer it.” I wasn’t really sure what to say to her…I want her to understand what foods really fuel her body, but I also want her to do well in school. So I said “Go ahead and tell them what they want to hear, but know that you might know more about this than they do.”
In the end, she wrote the answer they were looking for, but wrote a little qualifier next to it telling them she was telling them what they wanted to hear, but she didn’t think that was the right answer. I thought that was a great way to do it!
How do you and your kids deal with authority figures spouting “conventional wisdom” as if it’s the only truth?
This week, news revealed that “Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday became the first major media company to ban ads for junk food on its television channels, radio stations and websites, hoping to stop kids from eating badly by taking the temptation away.” Apparently, it’s thought that if television commercials hawk Disney’s Apple Slices instead of HoHos and DingDongs, then children will be healthier. The first lady is excited about it. Other companies have plans to stop targeting ads to kids. So, this will solve our problem as a nation of kids eating unhealthy food. Hmmm.
What do you think?
Here are some tips that I’ve used to keep our people healthier:
- Shop the outsides of the grocery aisles. This is where the REAL food is located.
- Join a CSA. You’ll have so many veggies that your kids will think veggies are the food of choice. Hee hee.
- OR, be like Angie and grow a garden!
- Don’t shop WITH your kids whenever possible… at least not until their little minds are properly equipped to deal with the onslaught of the grocery temptations. Mine now realize why the foods are placed in tempting places. PBS Kids has a fun approach to teaching this.
- To help with the last one, shop online for groceries. In many places this is now an option! I find that I buy less junk that way because I have my list and search based on that, instead of gawking at the eye-popping displays.
- Train kids to read labels and educate THEM on healthy choices.
- Set the example that you want your kids to follow.
- Limit screen time. If ads really do harm our kids food choice abilities, then perhaps the screen time should be curtailed.
- Take matters into your own hands. Don’t wait for Disney to tell your kids what to eat.
Sorry, couldn’t resist that last one. I’m sure there are others and that this isn’t news to most of us. These sorts of “news items” just make me think that “huh, maybe people don’t know this stuff?” How do you keep your cavekids out of the reach of media ad influence?
Title sounds pretty good huh?
AND it all tasted really good too! We are currently loving Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe and Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids(ELaD) by the Paleo Parents. After reading Angie’s review of making the chicken nuggets I was inspired to make some of my own and try a few of the other recipes too.
The chicken nuggets were easy to make and I seemed to make a ton which was fine as I boxed them up, refrigerated them and ate them cold as leftovers and they were scrummy. I found that the less coating I put on them the crispier I could get them. As Angie said in her post, it was so good to bite into the nugget and get real succulent chicken breast – Yum YUM Yum! The combo of the “breaded” coating and the chicken worked a treat. OOooo my mouth is watering just thinking about them
I’ve made sweet potato fries a few times but never with cinnamon as in this recipe. Very easy to prepare and wow they tasted YUMMY! We like our sweet potato fries on the crispy side so we super bake them hence the touches of burnt you can see, but you know what?… you can’t beat a crispy sweet potato fry!
The slaw was wonderful! Even better as leftovers a few days later. Cavekids turned their noses up at it which was fine as there was more for hubby and I I am wondering if I left out the cumin whether it would be more palatable for picky tastebuds. Problem with my kids is if they try it once and don’t like it, I’m hard pushed to get them to try it again.
So… big hit with the grownups and the cavekids LOVED the fries. My teenage son really liked the nuggets too. Littlest cavekid wasn’t overjoyed with the nuggets but she did clean her plate
Would I make the dishes again?
(that’s a big yes)