Back to School – Back to Lunch Packing

Just about a week or two before school begins, I start to look forward to my kids getting out of the house (or my hair) and into a routine again. I crave the routine too, but not all of the obligations that go with it. The one I dread the most is packing lunches everyday for both my sons. It’s not only the chore of it, but it’s the pressure to come up with a variety of lunches so they don’t get “lunch burn out” by Thanksgiving. And I won’t cave to letting them buy school lunches until Jamie Oliver is the personal chef at my son’s school, so that’s not an option.

I’d like to share with you a simple idea I came up with that my son thinks is awesome. Now if your child is GF/CF, you’d have to come up with alternatives to replace the gluten and casein in my idea. I’m sure you have seen, heard, or perhaps bought Lunchables for kids. I happen to think its a genius of an idea for kids that are sick of sandwiches, but of course the packaged food industry takes a simple idea and adds a ton of crap to it. I don’t like any product that Kraft puts on the supermarket shelf. Even Lunchables “healthy” alternatives like their ones with fruit and 100% fruit Capri Sun has a ton of sugar and sodium in it, plus artificial colors, flavors and enough preservatives to choke a horse (has several plus that nasty one BHT), high fructose corn syrup, and American Cheese. American Cheese is not cheese in my opinion and it’s pretty gross. So I put together a clean Lunchables version for my kids.

Homemade Lunchables:

  • Crackers (your kids’ healthy, favorite choice)
  • Cheddar Cheese (rBST hormone free dairy) sliced in 2″ squares
  • Canadian Bacon (try to find a brand that is nitrite free)
  • Green/red grapes
  • 2 cookies (I like Trader Joe’s brands without all the artificial stuff, or no cookies if your child is sugar-free)
  • Water

Now this is enough food for my 9-year-old but I do have to add more to the lunch for my eating machine 13-year-old. As for the cracker choice, read the ingredient labels and try to find one that is organic and GMO free. That’s a tough one to find when it comes to grains.

As for more ideas other than sandwiches, I’ve also switched out the Canadian bacon for slices of turkey. My youngest also loves hard-boiled eggs so I give him that with the crackers sometimes too. As you see here, my goal is to get healthy proteins in my kids at lunch without filling them up with a ton of carbs that will slow their brain down in the class after lunch. Protein will convert to the necessary neurotransmitters dopamine for cognition: focus and attention. Plus give them energy for the rest of their afternoon.

What healthy lunch ideas do you pack for school?

The Food Revolution

 

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver has started a food revolution.  I’m excited someone with media clout made some noise about American’s poor eating habits. He’s not just talking about how to change it, but actually doing something about it. I signed his petition to save cooking skills and improve school food.  My hope is that more Americans will follow.

Jamie’s message is simple,

This food revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way you eat. It’s not just a TV show, it’s a movement for you, your family and your community. If you care about your kids and their future take this revolution and make it your own. Educate yourself about food and cooking. Find out what your child is eating at school. Make only a few small changes and magical things will happen. Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better but it will add years to your life.

America needs this revolution. Our kids need it and future generations will definitely need it. Saving cooking skills may seem a bit old-fashioned, but think about how much processed food is in the average American diet. Does anyone cook from scratch anymore? How many times does a family dinner consist of prepackaged ravioli with a jar of pasta sauce, or lasagna in a box?  Let alone the fast food drive thru window. Families are so busy, they’ve put cooking fresh meals last on their list of priorities.  Unfortunately at the cost of their health.

Our bodies need whole food to sustain, grow, and function properly. Whole food is a food in its most natural state. Our body thrives on whole foods because it is more easily recognized by the digestive system. A diet that consists of primarily whole foods will help your body control weight or even lose it, depending on the amount eaten. Processed food on the other hand has been modified and striped of its nutrients so that it doesn’t go rancid on the supermarket shelf.  Additives extend the shelf life and further separates the whole food from it original state. This refining process results in a reduction of taste so sugars, flavors and other artificial additives are added to make it taste good.  The nutritional value is lost in this process and is so far down on the list that it’s questionable what value processed foods have in our diet.

We really do need to get back to the basics. Parents need to learn how to cook whole foods from scratch if they don’t already know. We need to teach our children how to cook and place an emphasis on the importance of eating healthy.  Teach your child how to read ingredient labels so they can see the additives in processed food. Our kids are smart, but they won’t stay that way if they are fed a diet filled with sugar, artificial colors, hydrogenated vegetable oils, MSG and high fructose corn syrup. Their body and brain need good, whole foods to thrive and grow the way it was designed.

Jamie Oliver is one cool dude in my book. Join the revolution! Live a healthy life.

 

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