Friday, September 30, 2011

Food this week

It's fall harvest time - roasted root vegetables are a favorite.  Tonight, parsnips, beets, and carrots, cut into strips to maximize child interest and dipping ability.  Lavender liked all of them plain ("I have so many favorite foods!" she said) ... but decided that they were even better with ketchup.
Now for a few of this week's packed lunches and how they compare to school lunch at $2.35.  In our district, school lunch consists of a highly processed entree that comes frozen and is baked in an industrial oven - there is no cooking in the kitchens.   Meals have to meet USDA school lunch requirements but as many people know, that leaves a lot to be desired.

First, homemade chili (made with local, grass-fed beef) with some trail mix (homemade granola, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, freeze-dried strawberries, and currants) and fresh prune plums.  The chili cost about $1.10/serving, the prune plums $0.25 for 3, and the trail mix $0.20.  Total lunch cost: $1.55 (all numbers rounded up to the nearest nickel).
 Hard-boiled organic eggs ($0.35), baked potato chips ($0.30), carrot sticks ($0.25), prune plums $0.25).  Total $1.15.  (Eggs purchased at Costco, which has the lowest-priced organic eggs I've seen.)
 Wrap (cream cheese, sliced chicken, romaine, carrots, red bell pepper) at $1.00, baked chips, olives ($0.25), prune plums, muesli.  Total $2.00.  Cost of the wrap would be a lot lower if I had made my own tortillas.

My lunch system is fairly simple.  Although I can agree that there are some very tempting lunch and bento systems, for the sake of food safety I pack items in a container of the right size.  Things that need to stay cold are placed between two ice packs.  If we're using the hot food jar, I don't pack anything that needs to stay cold - both so that the food jar can remain hot (I wrap it in a towel for extra insulation, inside the lunch bag) and so that nothing perishable heats up from the food jar.  Lavender has an early lunch and a later snack, so sometimes I use a small insulated bag for each of those, and sometimes everything is packed together in one bag.  The food above is for lunch and snack together. Lunch is only 20 minutes - not a lot of time to eat much of anything!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Updated Menu

 I finally updated the "menu" following completion of the allergy elimination diet.  As you will notice, bread is still mostly off the list - completely, for me. We all found the food listing to be a handy reminder of good things to eat during the elimination - it reduced the tendency to fall back on typical snack items.  Lavender particularly likes to look at the menu when thinking of what she wants to pack for lunch or have for an after-school snack.   Everything listed is free of concentrated and refined sweeteners, and nearly everything is free of all flours as well.  There are so many whole foods choices!


Fruit and Nuts
Oatmeal, plain or with fruit or pumpkin
Granola with yogurt or milk
Brown rice porridge with cinnamon
Eggs, scrambled or hard-boiled, or omelette
Huevos rancheros
Buckwheat pancakes
Turkey sausage
Lentil or bean soup
Chicken soup

Lentil or bean Soup
Chicken soup
Chicken slices with lettuce wrappers
Taco-seasoned beans
Salad with beans or nuts
Roasted sweet potato with almond butter
Roasted beets with cream cheese
(cheese, turkey, bean spread, or almond butter)
Hard-boiled egg

Sides and Snacks
Raw carrots, pepper, lettuce, etc. with dip
Roasted vegetables
Boiled or roasted potato
Sweet potato
Cole slaw or broccoli salad
Rice cakes
Nuts / Seeds
Chickpeas or beans
Trail Mix
Hummus or bean spread
Pickles / Olives
Yogurt & granola

Fruit plate with cinnamon or yogurt
Rice pudding
Fruit-nut-coconut treats
Fruit tart
Cookie or macaroon
Dried fruit and/or nuts
Dark chocolate
Baked apples
Fruit crisp
Sweet potato or pumpkin pudding
Chocolate or fruit pudding