Sunday, August 8, 2010

Healthy Eating: Economical + Green = School Lunch Box Convenient

A friend posted a comment on Facebook regarding an article in our local paper about healthy eating.  Her response to this article was this :

"{I'm} in disbelief that our local paper published an article on packing healthy school lunches and encouraged Nutella, a product full of sugar and saturated fat. Wouldn't it be a better idea next time to interview a nutritionalist rather than a couple of moms and a grandmother who writes a blog?

Agreed, Beth!!  There is a certain naiveness regarding "healthy" food choices. I'm no expert, and I can't claim to be 100% in this area; but I can attest to having a bit of a grasp on what 'healthy eating' should look like.  Nutella? It's a fun treat to have, but (as Beth insinuated) not necessarily an ideal daily lunch option.

This stemmed an idea to share what "we" (Healthy Mom's) are going to be packing in our children's lunch boxes, and what we'll be serving for breakfast in the mornings.

Lord knows I'd love to commit to posting on this subject weekly; to be honest- this may be my first and my last post- but let's hope for the best, shall we?

Here's what's in our fridge this week, prepped and ready to serve on Monday morning (and on through Friday):

Breakfast: (the most important meal of the day)

Protein is an essential start to a good morning.  It offers the body stamina, unlike the sugar-filled/sugar-producing carbohydrate; which ends in a big-fat-crash mid morning.  Having made stake to the claim that I realize this truth- I also realize the importance of a nice balance alongside the need for convenience.

This weeks breakfast? 

Organic (Vanilla)Yogurt- 
 with fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries.

(I've here and there invested in these Rubbermaid reusable containers (varied sizes)  when they were on sale. 
Worthy investment when deciding to "go green" as well as "economical".)

So- I brought out 15 of my (2 cup) containers and sliced up some fresh strawberries into the bottom of the cup.  I added the yogurt (about 1/2 cup per container) and then topped with frozen blueberries.

The prep work was key for me to be certain that I wouldn't find myself rushed in the morning and decide to just give the kids a granola bar or something less nutrient rich.  I did this Saturday night after everyone had gone to bed.  It didn't take long- but it would have been more tedious had all 3 girls been running a muck through the house.

Alrighty.  Now the math:
Yogurt: (2,  32 oz. containers at $3.99 per container) $8.00
Strawberries (16 oz ) $2.00
Blueberries (Maybe $1- Trader Joes frozen blueberries are super cheap- and I used a teeeny tiny portion)
All in all- breakfast for the week, per child, per day: $0.75  *SEVENTY FIVE CENTS*

LUNCH: (what in the world can fit in that lunch bag?)

Balanced nutrition is so important to me, for my kids. This weeks lunch is about as balanced as it gets!

Ham sandwich on 12 grain wheat bread
String cheese 
Cute lil' portion of cookies

Full Confession: I totally did a "mock" lunch bag just to get this blog up before school started. 

 This is part of my pre-prep in making lunch this week.  The containers of grapes are already divvy'd out and stored in the "lunch box drawer" (aka- the produce drawer), along with the string-cheese.  

I'll freshly make the sandwiches each night before school (eventually sneaking in some green leaf lettuce and hummus to the equation), and that bottle of V-8 Juice is my way of green-living-efforts meet budget-friendly-standards by reusing our water bottles for the juice instead of buying individual cans of it.  

(This container is holding less than half of the 1.4 oz (snack sized) bag of cookies pictured)

I bought these little mini containers to use for "dessert".  Through out the year, my plan is to put a small portion (about 1/2 oz. or so?) of M&M's, mini-cookies, or the like- to "sweeten" up lunch time.  Primarily, though- I'll find a dark chocolate or an organic cookie to fill them with- depending on the season. 

In all honesty- I would prefer to lessen the sugar content in each meal.  Yogurt is (of course) a healthy breakfast, but this particular yogurt (Stonyfield French Vanilla) has more sugar than I'd care for- but it was all I could find without getting to go to Trader Joe's for more options.  I like the idea of using a Greek Yogurt much better.  (It's got more protein and less sugar per serving, but it's more challenging to find it in a 32 oz container)

In addition- using 'reusable' containers NOT ONLY allows for  more economical options, as well as being sweet to our environment, but it also allows us (mom's) to see what it is our children are eating at lunch time- telling us whether we need to put less or more into the lunch box, and also allowing us to save food by serving the 'leftovers' (pending a good enough cooler) as an after school snack.

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