Thursday, November 17, 2011
How To Pack An Awesome Healthy Lunch for Your Child!
Hey friends! I snapped this (truly stunning) photo last night to answer the question I'm so often asked: "What DO you put in your daughter's lunch every day?!" Well, that often varies, but I figured that this was as good a lunch as any to photograph as an example.
From top left, clockwise, here's what I packed last night:
* Dehydrated kale chips (I used my recipe for "Krazy Kale Chips" from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth that work great either baked or dehydrated as a very healthy snack)
* Nancy's soy yogurt (I like this particular brand as it's very fresh and nutritious, unlike so many of the other brands that seem overly processed)
* Homemade applesauce (in a pinch, you can purchase pre-packaged organic applesauce cups)
* "Wacky Apple" wild berry fruit leather - I like this stuff because it's one of the few brands that still makes organic fruit leather - so many other brands are using conventionally grown fruit, which is too bad, especially when they include heavily sprayed fruits such as apples and grapes. Of course, the best fruit leather can easily be made at home if you have a food dehydrator! We do that often, but don't have any on hand at the moment.
* "Carrot pennies" - these are simply thinly sliced carrots, made into an exciting snack by the addition of the word "pennies."
* Nori strips (we buy these pre-packaged in strips - kids love them and they're very high in minerals!)
* Manna bread (cinnamon date) - this stuff is sooo nourishing! It's made of very simple, nutrient-dense ingredients and baked at low temperatures to preserve the nutrients. This particular flavor only has three ingredients, I believe - sprouted wheat berries, dates, and cinnamon. The "carrot raisin" variety is also really good, btw.
So, now that you have an idea of what we put in our lunches, you might be asking what we put them IN. Well, as a matter of fact...as of today, Imma have to rush out and get the awesomest lunch box I've ever seen in my life! This morning, I was at Carre Otis's home (pu-leeze check out her amazing book Beauty, Disrupted - it will move you to tears and inspire you!) and she showed me these environmentally friendly and non-toxic wonders, Go Green Lunchboxes, that she uses for her daughter's lunches. I love that you can put a variety of foods in all the little compartments and also write a love note to your little one on the dry erase board inside. They've really thought of everything! Here's the one I want:
My TOP TEN Ideas For Healthy Kid Lunches:
1. Nori rolls: My daughter loves these and they can be made with short grain brown rice for extra nutritional benefits. She likes hers filled with carrots and seasoned tofu strips, but you can use any veggies your kiddo likes. I sprinkle them with a little tamari and lemon juice and top with sesame seeds.
2. Fresh fruit: Enough said.
3. Ants on a log: Cut celery into segments, fill with peanut or almond butter, and dot with raisins. Classic.
Radiant Health, Inner Wealth) or any other fun little tofu bizness. The recipe for this is also on my blog here, btw.
5. Peanut Butter and jelly sandwiches: See, I knew you'd learn something fresh and new from reading this blog post!! In case you've never heard of these, they're pretty much cutting edge. They involve peanut butter, some sort of smooshy fruit substance, and hopefully a whole-grain bread of some sort. Oh, but wait, there's more! Have you ever made a...
6. Rainbow PB&J?! Trust me, you want to know about this. Take a whole grain slice of bread and top with peanut butter and a thin layer of jelly. Then, make a rainbow open face sandwich happen. I make my rainbow out of sliced strawberries, mango, banana, kiwi, and blueberries. So fun, healthy, and pretty!
7. Fresh spring rolls! My daughter loves these bad boys filled with seasoned tofu, carrots, sesame seeds, cabbage, and mint....with a lil peanut sauce on the side. You can find the exact how-to on spring rolls in any or all of my books.
8. Sesame Peanut Noodles: Toss udon (or soba, linguine, rice, etc.) noodles with peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, maple syrup, tamari, and tahini. Add whatever Asian-style veggies your child will go for (edamame, carrots, peas, cabbage, and cilantro are good choices).
9. Bean burrito: My daughter loves these in her lunches! I simply fill a sprouted grain tortilla with vegan cheese and beans, wrap, and pan-fry until both sides are crisp and browned. From there, I wrap it up and serve with a little vegan sour cream. Surprisingly delicious even when served cold, the next day!
10. Don't underestimate the magic of liquid sustenance! Smoothies, shakes, and even green smoothies are a great way to keep your child fueled and energized throughout the day. Here's a green smoothie recipe that I've made at kid's cooking classes with rave reviews.
So, there you have it! Lots of ways to make your kid's lunches something fun, special, and uber-nutritious. Enjoy!