Friday, September 24, 2010

What's for lunch?

There was a time in our house when the lunch staples around here were chicken nuggets, PB & J, and mac & cheese. For snacks we always had gogurts, string cheese, and crackers on hand. And honestly, I actually thought those things were somewhat healthy for my kids. The reality is, there are a lot of harmful ingredients packed into those foods that are setting my kids up for poor health as adults.

I've mentioned before that I have had the goal for a long time to provide healthy nourishing meals for my kids that they can thrive on, not merely survive on. So, why has it taken me this long to be consistent? Maybe a lack of knowledge, possibly the fact that homeschooling in itself can be an overwhelming task. It can be easier to grab the things at the store that I'm used to buying without much thought and planning. The list goes on and on, but I must say that with a change of mind and habits, we are on the road to healthier little bodies.

I have just begun, and would like to share a few things that have worked for us. We will start with snack time. I make a habit of setting out a fruit and or veggie tray that the kids are free to grab from anytime they want during the day. We used to have fruit dip (and that might be a good place to start), but I no longer set out the dip, just the fruit. For the veggies, I still set out some hummus, and sometimes ranch...and at this point, I'm okay with that. If they are getting in a heaping pile of spinach in because it's got ranch on it, I can live with it...
So, this is where the mind change comes into play at the store. I'm not grabbing prepackaged processed foods anymore. Instead of gogurts, I'm grabbing fruit (in all colors of the rainbow), instead of cheese & crackers, I'm grabbing veggies and hummus. Instead of chicken nuggets to bake, I'm grabbing carrots and broccoli. I recently read that 100 calories of broccoli contains MORE protein than 100 calories of steak! That is amazing to me. In addition to that, broccoli also contains vital nutrients and phytochemicals that nourish and protect our bodies from harmful toxins and diseases....
So, here are a few lunches that I remembered to take pictures of. First up, baked red potatoes, spinach, and nuts. I try to provide a few different dressings for the kids that are free from harmful ingredients and are organic and all natural...
Next up, coucous mixed with corn and kidney beans, green grapes, and watermelon (I had issues with loading pictures and some are turned on their side)...
Then we've got wild rice with broccoli, honeydew, and white peaches with apples. I first browned a chopped onion in vegetable broth, then threw in garlic, dumped in my wild rice and let it cook, towards the end I tossed in the broccoli, let it steam and called it good...
We do sandwiches maybe once or twice a week. We really like Dave's Killer Bread. It is all organic and packed full of 21 grains and seeds. When we do PB & J we use all natural organic peanut butter. I still need to make the switch to sugar free jam :O). On this day we did have some lunch meat, but I do try to stay away from it, as it is processed and does contain harmful additives...
Here we've got bean salad. I throw in a can of black beans, corn, and frozen peas. Toss it lightly in some ranch, the kids love this. I also keep it on hand for a quick snack. With that we put cantaloupe and red grapes. Whenever I cut up a cantaloupe, it is usually devoured in one sitting. They LOVE cantaloupe!...
Making lunches like this always leads to lots of fresh cut up leftovers. So why not make taco soup? We browned an onion in vegetable broth, threw in fresh tomatoes and zucchini from the garden, beans, corn, leftover wild rice, leftover baked red potatoes, one can of tomato sauce, some grilled chicken chopped up, and taco seasoning. I like to use dinner time to get in some good quality lean meat. We have switched to Foster Farms chicken, as they do not use any added hormones or steroids...
The last thing we have implemented is TRYING NEW THINGS! I have recently read so many reports of the dangers of hormones in our milk and the effects it has on little girls and hitting puberty way too early. We have tried organic milk, almond milk, and rice milk. The kids have found that rice milk is their favorite. B-Bop is actually drinking it more than she ever drank regular milk.
We have also tried lots of new fruits and veggies. This ones favorite was drinking a coconut...
Buddy thought it was pretty cool too...
We ordered a case of pineapples from my husbands work. The kids LOVED them, we were eating one a day. I ended up with a throat full of very painful sores, so we have taken a break from pineapple, LOL! I did get really good at cutting them up, so we will get some more soon for the kids.
We really love to have smoothies for breakfast, we have even made them GREEN! We use green powder, and have also thrown spinach and romaine right into the blender. It doesn't have that strong of a flavor, especially when you've got fruit and stevia mixed in. The whole family enjoys smoothies...
One way to save on clean-up, is to set lunch out on a tray, and let the kids grab what they want...
The kids love making their own lemonade...
We use stevia to sweeten it...
Eating like this is has been fun, and so good for our family. I would love to go into all of the added health benefits, and what each fruit and vegetable has packed into it to nourish your body, but that would take me days...and I'm not sure anyone would have the patience to read it, LOL! I do find it fascinating--the things God has blessed us with when it comes to food.
I am grateful that we have these things, I know my kids will benefit from eating like this. It makes for strong healthy bodies and sharp minds...heaven knows I need them to be excited about learning and absorbing the things presented to them!
If you've got some great healthy lunch ideas, send them my way! I would LOVE to hear about them!!

7 comments:

marisa said...

awesome ideas!!! Where did you get the cute pink trays?

Aly said...

Thanks, Marisa! I love all of the great ideas on your backyard farming blog as well :O).

The trays come in several colors, and I just got them at Wal-Mart...dirt cheap.

Panamenos said...

great post... you've given me lots to think about...and think I have. Maybe some day I will be that good at feeding my kids healthy meals...I'm fairly good, but we eat unhealthy stuff too...as well you know. Anyway, thanks for the food for thought.

Maranda said...

Thanks for this post. I have been on a healthy eating spree lately and I too have been wondering about what we put into our bodies on a regular basis. I really need to try different milk. My kids drink it so much.

Rachel said...

This is so great Aly! I've been trying to focus on the same thing lately, buying more fruits and veggies instead of processed foods at the store.

One of my kids favorites is carrot salad- grated carrots with a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, salt and pepper. They love it! (So do I).

Another of our favorites are the pineapple and fresh coconuts! We love to pick them fresh off the tree and chop them open and drink it. When the 'coco' (Spanish) is still green the meat inside is soft, more like thick yogurt- so good! (Of course we can't do that here in Alaska, but in the DR and India we did :)

Thanks for the post, a reminder to refocus my efforts on healthy foods!

Kalyn said...

I absolutely love your lunch trays, too!

Right now we use raw sugar because I haven't found anything that I feel is safe that tastes decent. How do you like stevia? I have not researched it and would love to hear what you have to say!

Thanks!

Aly said...

Thanks for the comment Kalyn!

At the time I wrote this post I thought that Stevia was going to be a great healthy alternative, but have since read that there may be some downfalls. I have gone back to raw sugar in moderation!

~Aly