You may have seen these cool lunch boxes, all over the internet are websites like Lunch in a Box, where fed-up Moms are packing their kids lunch in these cool Bento Boxes. The fed up Mom who packed the lunches above happens to be my sister, the creative genius. Lots of kids think they’re too cool to pack a lunch for school, but what if you sent them with something like this? Here she has packed frog sandwiches on cinnamon swirl toast with bacon, fruit, trail mix, and Greek yogurt. I estimate in this lunch there are about 25 grams of protein, 65 grams of carbohydrates, and 15 grams of fat (coming from grass-fed bacon and nuts) at about 350 calories.
Compared to a normal school lunch which would be about 14 grams protein, 100 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fat (coming from the processed meats and breads) that would be at least 664 calories, because that is the national minimum for elementary school children. What is written on the school lunch menu may look pretty good, but on your child’s plate, it does not. I have said it before, but I would guess that if I started eating the school lunch every day it would only take me about a week to gain 7 or 8 pounds and for my cholesterol and blood pressure to go up substantially. Click here to learn a bit more about how the plan the menus at school.
When I saw my sister’s pictures I immediately wanted my own Bento lunchbox, but after perusing their selections I realized I was going to need something closer to the size of a tackle box to fit my lunch. When I take off for work in the morning I usually have my breakfast, lunch, and three snacks with me, which ends up taking up a whole shelf of our mini-refrigerator at school. Putting together enough food for Evan and I throughout the entire day can resemble packing for a week-end camping trip. BUT it’s very worth it. We save money by eating from home and we always know exactly what is in our food.
Here is an example of our lunch from last week; salmon, salad, and butternut squash with vinaigrette. It took me about 10 minutes to put this lunch together, starting with raw fish. We buy Wild Alaskan Salmon from Costco and freeze it in individual bags for easy use. I took a piece of defrosted salmon and put it in hot cast-iron pan with olive oil, skin side down. When I saw that the salmon was cooked about half way through, I put a lid on the pan so that the top half of the salmon would cook. I didn’t even have to flip it. I did leave some space for condensation to escape so the skin of my fish stayed nice and crispy.
We also buy a big box of organic mixed greens from Costco (especially when there aren’t any at the farmer’s market). It makes it easy to throw some on a plate to complete a meal. As a vinaigrette, I whisked together apple cider vinegar, honey, and olive oil to my liking. It’s easy to mix up a bottle of vinaigrette and keep it in the refrigerator for the week, just be sure to give it a good shake before you use it. The butternut squash had already been roasted, but it would be very easy to top your salad with apples or carrots, something that doesn’t require cooking if you’re in a pinch for time.
There are lots of ways to get healthier food into your day, packing your lunch is an easy option. I purposefully posted this on Sunday so you would have plenty of time to get prepared for the week. May THIS week THE week you start getting healthy.