Sunday, July 20, 2014

Packed Daytime and After-School Kindergarten Snacks!

This past school year I got pretty lax about packing a daily snack for Kindergarten. The AM teacher told me that most snacks the parents were sending were safe for Z, so I'd often just toss a small bag of PopChips or popcorn and a GoGoSqueeze into her snack bag to sub in as needed.
But Z had started asking why I wasn't packing snacks in boxes like I used to. Last year I packed a mini bento almost every day! Her behavior and tolerance to frustration were starting to fray about halfway through the school year, and as she started complaining more and more about my lack of effort for her snack, I realized that maybe she derived some emotional comfort from a packed snacks. So near the end of the year I mustered up and attempted to pack snacks more frequently.

Organic apples, kettle corn
4/22/14 - I could not for the life of me find a snack bento box and paired lid, so I settled for a Kinderville storage jar (with mismatched lid!) They're narrow but tall, so I was able to stack a flower muffin cup on top of some apple slices.

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Organic apples, Sunbutter sandwich "fingers"
4/30/14 - This snack was actually packed to follow Z's afternoon class. She hadn't been eating as much lunch as usual (due to getting distracted experiencing the sensory aspects of her food,) so tended to be ravenous after school. And E would eat if I had a snack that wasn't her own lunch leftovers! Plus I started getting other scavengers too, with friends of Z's coming over to eat our packed snacks!

Sweet Potato PopChips, organic blood orange
5/16/14 - I stock up on mini bags of chips when they go on awesome sale on Amazon, to have quick grab-and-go snacks, but also to bust open to parse out in packed snacks! The blood orange half was wishful thinking on my part. I foolishly told her the name once so she's scared of the "red oranges" now. The toddler happily ate it later!

Organic grapes, HappyTot cookies, Glutino pretzel sticks
5/27/14 - Extra "crunchies" packed in this one. I must have been feeling generous that day!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pretty (Yummy!) Salads for Mama!

We are visual eaters, and a lunch full of real colors is amazingly appetizing! The more, the better! I love staring at a rainbow when I eat.

Organic kale chips, homemade GF "Oreos," dried orange slices, organic salad (mixed greens,
cherry tomatoes, carrots, hemp hearts, chia and sunflower seeds, raisins, rosemary vinaigrette)
12/16/13 - I was in a hurry with this lunch, so just threw everything in. Still yummy, even if it isn't covered in carrot flowers!

Homemade "Whoopie Pies" (Enjoy Life Gingerbread Spice Cookies and Ricemallow Creme,)  Hail Merry macaroon, Naturebox Cinnamon Spice Almonds, Sweet Cinnamon Good Beans, coconut chips, salad (Fresh Express Veggie Lovers salad mix, strawberries, blueberries, apples, celery, rosemary vinaigrette, chia and sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, raisins)
3/31/14 - I had a bunch of leftovers from my Fresh Express Salad event, so I lumped them all together into a salad! (Leftover chopped strawberries, apples, celery, and blueberries, plus the Fresh Express 50/50 Salad Mix.)
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Justin's Dark PB Cup, Cocomel, vegan caramel, organic apples, PBCo Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB, salad (Fresh Express 50/50 mix, organic carrots, tomatoes, hemp hearts, chia and sunflower seeds, raisins, rosemary vinaigrette)
4/14/14 - Another quick salad, with some of my favorite treats on the side! Dairy-free candy (NOM!) and apples dipped in Peanut Butter Co Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. My favorite!

Dolmas, organic apples, pumpkin seed butter, chocolate mint cremes,
salad (Fresh Express 50/50 Mix, organic tomatoes, carrots, seeds, raisins, rosemary vinaigrette)
4/16/14 - I had time to arrange some cut carrots and tomatoes into an easy garden scene for this lunch. So many pretty colors!

I had bought a can of pre-made Dolmas from Trader Joe's, so packed some in my lunch. Weird, but I'd eat again.

Organic salad (spinach, watermelon radish, carrots, tomatoes, hemp hearts, chia and sunflower seeds,
raisins, rosemary vinaigrette,) vegan Ranch kale chips, organic apples, pumpkin seed butter
4/17/14 - Another pretty salad.

Justin's Dark Chocolate PB Cup, candied ginger, dairy-free chocolate Cocomel, organic hummus and
sweet peppers, organic salad (spinach, strawberries, carrots, assorted seeds, raisins, rosemary vinaigrette) 
4/18/14 - I love strawberry and spinach salads! Yum!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Me Do It!" - Lunches Packed by Little Ones!

I had a bunch of veggies prepped and was slicing up an apple for lunch when the girls came into the kitchen and started whining that they were hungry. So I asked them if they wanted to pack their own lunches! I gave them an assortment of choices on a big platter and let them build away!

Even though we didn't particularly need packed lunches, I gave them each an EasyLunchbox. This way they had lots of compartments to pack into, which makes it more fun and more likely they'll pack a variety of foods. But also these boxes have kind of become synonymous with "lunch" for my girls! And the high sides of the EasyLunchboxes make it easier for clumsy little hands to carry without spilling. Plus we had Z's OT appointment at noon, so they were able to continue eating in the car on the way there (and finish off their leftover veggies on the way home!)

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Z's Lunch
GF Crunchmaster rice crackers, sliced goat cheese; organic apples, carrots, broccoli
Thursday, 7/3/14 - My 6-year-old packed herself less food than the toddler, but other than encouraging her to pack all four food groups (proteins, grains, fruits, and veggies,) I let her make her own choices.

I offered to let them pick mini cookie cutters and make their own cheese shapes, but both girls decided they'd rather just have me fold the slices to break into smaller cracker-sized pieces. Ooookay. Easier for me!

But, hey. She was so proud of her lunch, and insisted upon being in the pictures too! Plus she pretty much ate every bite!

E's Lunch
GF rice crackers, sliced goat cheese; organic broccoli, tomatoes, carrots
My 2-and-a-half-year-old went a little crazy on the broccoli, and unsurprisingly, didn't finish it all. And she really wasn't interested in having any apples, which was the fruit I had on-hand. But she packed sooooo many vegetables that I let it slide.

My little one insisted upon posing with her lunch as well! Only she doesn't take direction as well, so there's more of my messy back porch in the photo than I'd like! Hahaha!

Both girls ate all their cheese and crackers (not a surprise,) but E made a nice dent in her broccoli, and ate all her heirloom cherry tomatoes and most of her carrots too, by the time we got home after our appointment. Not too shabby!
Letting kids help, whether it's prepping, packing, or even just choosing ingredients, gives them a sense of ownership over the meal. Which in turn increases the likelihood that they'll choose to actually eat it! Plus equating food with good fun feelings is never a bad thing!

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