Share Your School Lunch Ideas By Edan Goode

LunchboxThe kids are back in school. Phew! We can relax now, right? No way!

Besides the constant flood of papers to read and sign, events to volunteer at, homework to oversee, there are breakfasts and lunches to be made that will energize the kids and keep their mind’s sharp while being so appealing they won’t want to give them away. And then there are after-school snacks for those frantically hungry kiddos that need to get them through homework time while rewarding them for a day of hard work.

I know I need ideas for what to feed the kids and I know you all do too. So let’s share our ideas and recipes, shall we? Let’s help each other out!

Simply leave your ideas and recipes in the comment section below and we’ll gather them up and share them with the group.

And while we’re at it, if you have come up with a way to simplify the process of making school lunches, tell us that too. For instance, I have a friend who keeps plastic baskets in her pantry, each filled with items such as granola bars in one, juice boxes in another fruit in another. She makes their sandwiches but then the kids go down the line, taking an item from each basket to complete their lunch. Personally, I’m trying to stay away from too many pre-packaged items but they do come in handy. What are your tricks?

Leave your ideas by September 5. Thanks!

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Now, THAT’S a Sandwich By Edan Goode

The one thing my children dread about a new school year (well, besides homework, long hours, having to get up so early and tests) are sack lunches. They are “sick, sick, sick of sandwiches”, they’ll tell you and I can’t say that I blame them. No matter how much I try to switch things up with different bread and different fillings, sandwiches just get boring after a while. Now, if I was a really fabulous, inventive, high-energy, creative parent (which is never going to happen and I’m fine with that), I would make “Insanewiches” (http://www.insanewiches.com/, St. Martin’s Press), as inspired by the book of the same name by Adrian Fiorino.

This new book came across my desk recently and put my ham and cheese between two slices of wheat bread to shame.  It’s a fun, incredibly inventive book with great photos that could, and should, double as a coffee table book!

Adrian Fiorino was kind enough to share one of his recipes with you, dear E.A.T. blog readers.  I think I could actually manage this one, although, for my kids’ tender palates, I’ll substitute mayonnaise for horseradish sauce.

Sandwich Dominoes
by Adrian Fiorino, author of “Insanewiches” and creator of “insanewiches.com”

Competitors often slap dominoes down emphatically when they’re lining up the dots. “Take that!” they’ll say, harshly rubbing it in. But if they tried the same with these Sandwich Dominoes, they’d just end up with a smooshed sandwich. When eaten as a snack, this finger food fills in the hunger gap quite nicely between games.

This recipe makes two dominoes

You’ll Need:

2 small sandwich wraps

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 slice of roast beef (have it cut thick at your deli counter)

1 large slice of Swiss cheese

1 romaine lettuce leaf, washed and dried

Instruments:

Cutting board, 23⁄4-inch square cookie cutter, chef’s knife, black edible marker

Assembly:

  1. Lay the first sandwich wrap on the cutting board, and slather it with horseradish.
  2. Next, lay the roast beef, Swiss cheese, and romaine lettuce on top of the first wrap and top all ingredients with the second wrap.
  3. Place the cookie cutter on top of the second wrap.
  4. Using the cookie cutter as a guide, carefully cut away the excess with your knife. You will be left with a square sandwich.
  5. Cut this square in half to make two identical rectangles.
  6. With your marker, draw a line centered along the width of each rectangle.
  7. Lastly, draw the dots with your marker.

The Revolution of school food by Edan Goode

Lunchbox Simplicity(TM)

Here’s my dilemma as a mother (well, I have many but let’s focus on this one): I refuse to send my kids off to school with junk-filled lunches. Despite the litany of  “but the other kids get soda in their lunches….and cheese puffs…and candy bars”, major meany that I am, I continue to send high-quality proteins with a veggie, a fruit and water. To hear the grumblings when I pick them up, and to see the uneaten items shoved to the back of the fridge, you’d think I was packing them frog’s eyes and hemlock.  Yet having them eat hot lunch has not been a better alternative, nutritionally speaking.

Fortunately, they now go to a school that has gotten on the healthy lunch bandwagon. A company called Revolution Foods is offering healthier, high-quality, well-balanced school lunches. Thankfully, my kids have loved every lunch they’ve had so far. Their favorite is the pasta with meat sauce and the chicken caesar salad.  Even though I have packed them similar things in the past, they are more receptive to it because it’s NOT COMING FROM ME! Like so many things, sometimes kids need to hear it, see it, experience it from someone else before they’ll actually believe what you’ve been telling them for years.

For more information about what Revolution Foods is doing, including how to incorporate their healthier ideas into your family’s meal plans, go to the Colorado Parent website and click on “Meet Nicholas Saccaro” who is the vice president and general manager of Revolution Foods in Colorado.

Now, because the Revolution Foods lunches are priced a little higher than “regular” school lunches, I occasionally pack lunches for my kids. Because it is apparently important in the world of packed lunches to have pre-packaged goods in order to be cool (what-ever!), I was glad to hear that Revolution Foods has created a line of packaged goodies that adhere to their philosophy of “never-evers” (no transfats, no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial ingredients).

They offer a Jammy Sammy, a wheat-free sammy bar made with fruit and/or peanut butter such as Peanut Butter & Strawberry. Similar to a toaster “pastry”, the Grammy Sammy has a soft-baked bar filled with organic yogurt such as Cinnamon Graham & Vanilla Yogurt and Cocoa Graham & Banana Yogurt.  My kids loved the Grammy Sammys but found the Jammy Sammys to be a little dry without a glass of milk at the ready. They also loved PopAlongs, a healthier version of a potato chip. These are wheat-free, popped chips made with whole grain rice, corn and oats. They come in original, Cheesy Cheese and Simply Cinnamon flavors.  Their favorite by far was the Mashups. Organic fruit like Berry, Grape, Tropical and the really yummy Strawberry Banana is pureed and put in squeezy pouches. They can be frozen too which serves double duty as a food cooler in their lunch bag. Besides tasting good, I think it was the “squish factor” that made this particular product stand out to my kids. The best part for them was that their junk food-eating peers were oooing and ahhhing over THEIR lunches. Score one for Mom and another one for not giving in!

As a very nice tie-in, 3% of the net product sales of Lunchbox Simplicity is donated to support the Revolution Foods school lunch programs to bring healthy meals to under-served schools across the country.

Lunchbox Simplicity(TM) items are available at Whole Foods and online through their website. To learn more about Revolution Foods, visit www.revfoods.com.