For 7 years now, I have been making school lunches for Hunter, but this year has seen a lunch for Tyler added to the mix. I am not a morning person…. not meaning that I am grumpy in the morning, but just that I am slow and not on top of my game. I could easily throw a lunch together for one child in the morning, but 2 sacs of food make it into the lunch-making special olympics. Thus, I must plan the lunches in advance and put more time & effort into the preparation. Tyler is an easy child in that he is satisfied with a ham & cheese sandwich every single day. I make a trip to the local deli where lunch meats without nitrates are available for his sandwiches. Hunter, well, her main course takes a little more thought… like I was as a school child, she is not fond of sandwiches, but she does like wraps, soups, pasta, salad and crudites with dips such as hummus. However, if I do a little planning on Sunday…. the lunches can come together quite easily. And I find it is increasingly important to me that the lunches not be thrown together.. I think my kids deserve good, nutritious food that is appealing & tasteful…mostly what anyone would want for a lunch.
My routine starts on Sunday when I spend a few hours in the kitchen. I make 2 days worth of sandwiches for Tyler and then I make the main course of the week for Hunter. Then the baking begins where I make at least 2 treats for the little hands that week. This week I made flaxseed muffins with a recipe that called for 1 cup of ground flaxseed, 1 cup of oat bran, 1 cup shredded apple, 1 cups raisins and 1.5 cups of shredded carrot…..lots of good nutritious stuff. The other treat was a batch of pumpkin cookies with whole wheat flour and craisins. Plus, I also made a favorite…apple crisp. Next, I go to work washing & cutting up a few days worth of fresh fruit~this week green grapes, oranges & pineapple. I put everything into the appropriate containers that go into the fridge for easy retrieval the next morning. This prep work lasts for 2 days until Tuesday night,when I start the routine again, except for the baking. Yes, a mundane & repetitive chore, but what my kids eat is really important to me.
We try really hard to stay away from the artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and all those things that turn our food into frankenfood….. you know…. spooky stuff that is not real. I am always astonished when I visit school & I see all the little packages that go into some kids’ lunches. Some lunches contain nothing but packages and not a fresh anything. It’s like some people are eating as if on a mission to Mars……. food must only come in a packet.
This whole topic also feeds the admiration I have for my mother. That woman packed a lunch for me & my brother every single day from the day we started school to the last day of Grade 12. I can still remember one of my favorite things in those lunches~ her homemade brownies…. always wrapped in wax paper. Yum! ( I also remember a time, with much chagrin, when I was too cool to eat lunch & threw those lunches away….I am ashamed to admit!) But I more than make up for that with all of your cooking I eat now, right Mom?!!!
Whenever I get stumped for lunch ideas, I treat myself to a trip over to my favorite food blog…. the Vegan Lunchbox. http://www.veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/ This award-winning food blog is such a feast for the eyes and so very inspiring….Jennifer Schmoo puts together the most incredible lunches for her child. Even though we are not vegan, this blog has so much to offer. She has published a book based on her blog and I have finally decided to buy it. This site has given me a kick in the pants so many times about what I feed my children.
However, occasionally, all children should have homemade brownies in their lunch…wrapped in wax paper.
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