I just got a new cookbook in the mail that I know you guys will LOVE. It’s by my friend Catherine at Weelicious and it’s all about packing school lunches! Complete with beautiful visuals (showcasing fruits, veggies, pantry staples and more), lunch theme ideas, picky eater strategies, a food allergy guide, and 160 beautifully photographed recipes – it’s safe to say she’s thought of everything. This new Weelicious Lunches book officially goes on sale next week (already available for preorder on Amazon) so in the meantime I’ve asked Catherine to share her top 8 school lunch tips with us below. Also, in case you missed it over the summer be sure to check out her “Toddler Bites” guest post on our site as well.
When I post my daughters’ “real food” school lunch pictures on Facebook it often provokes a lot of questions. So here – all in one place – are some answers for ya! Now let’s just hope we can get all those with the questions to actually read this post If I left out any of the more common ones please let me know in the comments below…I know some of you are just as familiar with these daily school lunch questions as I am!
Where do you get those snazzy divided lunch containers? And what does the lunch look like after being tossed all around on the way to school? Don’t the yogurt and applesauce leak into the other compartments? [UPDATE 9/23/14: These containers have been discontinued, but Iresearched alternativesfor you.]
We actually own quite a few different lunch containers, but I do find myself reaching for our BPA-free Ziplock divided containers most often. And there are two main reasons why – First, each compartment is truly leak-proof therefore liquids will stay put no matter how much the box is tossed around on the way to school, and secondly, they are lightweight and easy to wash and open (okay, I guess that is technically 3 more reasons – but we really like these). Plus at the uber reasonable cost of $5+ for 2 containers they are a great deal! - The divided lunch containers can be purchased at… - Amazon
– Target (stores only) – Walmart (online and in stores)Continue Reading »
Okay, so I know the title here is rather harsh. Let’s be honest – I totally expected my 8-year-old daughter to eat junk food while away at her very first overnight camp last week. Both of my children (and my husband for that matter) have what I call a “stomach of steel.” They can eat just about anything with no ill effects whatsoever, so I knew there would be no immediate consequences (like a food sensitivity) for her to contend with while away from home. But just because one may feel fine after immediately eating highly processed junk food doesn’t mean it isn’t doing any damage. After all, according to Michael Pollan’s research, four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food.”
Our Little Pre-Camp Chat
So even though my daughter has no specific food-induced medical conditions to worry about, we still had a friendly little chat before she embarked upon her very first week away from home without a parent or grandparent by her side. As I’ve shared before, I absolutely do NOT want my two young girls to ever “worry” about food (or anything for that matter). But that doesn’t mean I won’t educate them along the way when it’s appropriate (just as I will with many other important topics in life). So I told her that there would be junk food at camp and eating it was totally fine, BUT my advice to her was to eat a lot of what she knew was good (i.e. for sure a whole food – straight from the earth) and just a little bit of what wasn’t. And what did she do in my absence? She ate Froot Loops for breakfast daily – “with pineapple on the side!”. As I mentioned she is a completely typical 8-year-old so this is what happened when she was left to her own devices I guess I should be thankful for the serving of fruit? And truth be told – I was thankful for that and told her so. I was sure to reinforce the positive and not at all harp on any of the “negatives” of the week. Continue Reading »
As you gear up for new school schedules, it’s a great time to get organized in the real food department as well. So we have some fun offers for you today from my friend – the very talented Carrie Vitt with Deliciously Organic! She’s offering our readers two very special deals – one is on her beautiful cookbook (that uses only unprocessed ingredients) combined with 6 months of meal plans, the other is on her weeknight “Real Food, Real Fast” meal plan combined with some fall recipes and holiday menus. The details on the two different packages are below…
Let’s face it – even if your kids don’t mind the “crust” of the bread…eating a sandwich without the crust is sometimes just a little more fun. My kids do currently eat the crust at our house so homemade “Uncrustables” are not something I plan on doing every day, but will I do it on occasion just to switch things up? Absolutely. One complaint from blog readers about making these sandwiches without the crust though is that they hate to waste food. So in addition to showing you how to make [and freeze] your own homemade “Uncrustables” I’ve got some solutions for those bread ends as well.
First of all, why make your own “Uncrustables?” Three main reasons…
You can control the ingredients (see “Exhibit A” below).
It (can be) cheaper.
I am not going to lie…they are NICE to have on hand on those nights (or mornings) when you have no clue what to pack for school lunch! Or for when you just don’t have any fresh bread in the house. It happens to the best of us. Continue Reading »
If you want to send your child off to school with wholesome, “real food” lunches this year, planning ahead is key! I know it’s tempting to just grab and go with those little prepackaged bags of cheese crackers and tubes of flavored yogurt, but giving your child nutritious foods throughout the school day can help them stay alert and do their best.
Now if I had to wake up each morning and make homemade “real food” school lunch recipes from scratch, well…that would just never happen! So instead I make lunch items when it is convenient for me and freeze them. I think it’s safe to say freezing foods in advance is my number one school lunch “trick” that makes the lunches I pack even possible. And my number two school lunch trick is to always pack – or at least start packing lunch – the night before!
So before we dive right into the list of things you should make and freeze right now at the beginning of the school year, here are a few freezing tips… Continue Reading »