Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dye-Free Summer - Snack Bentos - June

Wednesday 6/20/12 - Not knowing whether their snacks would contain artificial colors or flavors, I packed Z a snack bento for her first camp, just in case. When we got to Little Gym, the staff let me look in their snack cupboard at all of their options. Cheez-Its, Goldfish, pretzels, and the cookies I vaguely recalled from last year, which were my big worry. Turns out they're all okay! The cookies were a Costco-brand organic vanilla cookie, with Winnie the Pooh characters on them. No artificial colors or flavors! And Cheez-Its and Goldfish I already knew were safe, using only a natural colorant (annatto) which Z isn't sensitive to. (For some kids, annatto causes head-banging and hair-pulling.)
So I okayed their snacks, but not their drink mix. I had known that going in, and came prepared with a Fruit Punch juice box from Trader Joe's. Last year Z raved over their "fruit punch" (some kind of random Kool-Aid-type powdered drink mix,) so I wanted her to feel just as happy with her substitute.

Little Gym camp snack. Organic Rainier cherries, organic sugar snap peas, Goldfish Space Crackers

As it turns out, she still declined their snack, even though they tried telling her I had okayed it (she had already gone into the gym area while I was in the snack and craft room checking them out, so she hadn't heard it from me.) So on the way home, when she was telling me that she had opted to only eat her own snack "because I knew it had no fake colors in it," I told her it was okay to eat their snacks. So then I asked her what she'd prefer for future camps: eat their snack (but bring our own drink,) bring our snack with fresh fruits and veggies, or bring our snack with fresh fruits and veggies AND she could choose to eat their snack too. 
"I want the snack with fresh fruits and veggies. And maybe choose their snack too."
I could not have been more proud.

This snack box is pretty small. As you can see, it only holds roughly two silicone muffin cups. But the sides snap open easily for Z, so she can open it herself. She still can't quite close it on her own, but she puts it in the cubby with her shoes after snack, and I can close it up before we leave. And it was soooo cute!

I opted for some fresh fruits and veggies, in addition to the Goldfish crackers even though it would be wildly different than the gym's snack for the other kids. I read somewhere that after exercise, kids will choose to eat healthier, and will eat more of those healthy foods, since their bodies crave them to replenish nutrients used during the activity. I did my own little trial run ages ago (in an un-healthy manner) and found this to be true with my kiddo. We'd go to McDonald's at a random time, after doing nothing in particular, and she'd eat maybe two chicken nuggets, half her chocolate milk, half of my small fries, and wouldn't touch her apples. On the days we'd go there after gym, she'd eat three to four nuggets, all her apples, most or all of her chocolate milk, and a quarter or less of my small fries. These results varied very little, with her clearly eating more, and choosing more of the healthier options on gym-class days versus random visits. Sometimes she'd even ask for a second packet of apples or another milk!

And since I had my monthly MOMS Club board meeting later that evening, I just re-used the box and leftovers and packed a dinner snack.
1/2 PB-Nutella (cut into half again and stacked,) organic green beans, leftover sugar snap peas and Goldfish.

Wednesday, 6/27/12 -  My Gym (aka "monkey gym") Summer Camp snack. Organic Rainier cherries, NatureBox Masa Crisps, organic sugar snap peas, Maddy's Sweet Shop raspberry cookies
I love-love-LOVE the Masa Crisps from my May NatureBox. So much, in fact, that these were the only ones I've shared with anybody. Ever. Hubby hasn't ever even SEEN them.
(Use code CRISTI to get 25% off your first month, if you want to try Naturebox's service out for yourself! They've discovered some real snack gems!)

Apparently there was some kind of misunderstanding, and she said the teachers thought that her cookies had fake colors in them, and didn't want her eating them. Luckily, without those fake colors, she's mature enough to handle it. "I didn't want the teachers to be frightened that I was getting colors, so I stopped eating them." Which was great, since as I was starting the car after dropping her off, I heard her screaming inside. So Baby E and I schlepped back in to find one of the teachers carrying her out into the lobby. Apparently she had been sitting in the circle, rather than around the edge of the circle, which they don't allow (grrr) and instead of giving her a choice to move or be moved, they picked her up to move her, which freaked her out. She doesn't like to be touched even by people she knows and trusts, and her preschool and Little Gym teachers all already knew that, so I've been out of practice at having to remind people not to touch her without giving her a choice first.

So she hit the teacher, which earned her another pick-up, to be removed to the lobby. Them not respecting her personal space was one of the reasons we quit classes there two years ago, and we only went back because she had been asking to. I support their actions in removing her once she started hitting, but they never should have picked her up in the first place. I hate that they "pick on" the littler kids there. If they're small enough to be carried, that's the go-to option for the teachers there whenever a child isn't conforming to what the teachers want, which happens to be just about the worst thing they could do to my particular kid. But since I hadn't been there, I don't know for sure that Z wasn't warned first, so I didn't make a big stink over it. This time.

I'm just so spoiled by Little Gym. I've only had to explain that she didn't like to be touched after a class when she had a sub or a new teacher, to explain why she'd shied away or made cranky sounds if they tried touching her or talking directly to her. The teachers at our Little Gym immediately instinctively respond to her non-verbal cues and back off, unlike the My Gym teachers.

I am not a fan of this gym, but she'd started asking to go back, so we've been doing camps there this past Spring Break and President's Day week (our district takes the week off school, as do the preschools, so this kiddie gym does some camps to take advantage of the parents wanting something for their kids to do that week!)

Saturday, 6/30/12 - We went to see the movie Brave. Originally we were planning on going to the sensory-friendly showing, but my sister-in-law wanted to come too, and Nana offered to watch Baby E, so we went up north to Nana's house and saw a regular showing later in the day. 
Since most movie theaters spray their popcorn with fake yellow "butter" (in addition to the oil you can ooze on yourself,) I packed Z a dye-free alternative. I went in expecting trouble, but no one batted an eye at me, wandering around swinging my Goodbyn by the handle. Hubby bought himself some fake yellow popcorn and a soda, and I got a Sprite in case I had to share with Z. (It has artificial flavors, but we don't know for sure if Z is sensitive to them as well, and if so, which companies use petroleum-derived flavors versus ones she wouldn't react to.) I also smuggled in a baggie of cherry cordial M-and-Ms from Christmas, but I knew it would be too dark for her to see them, and I'm trying to eat my way through the dyed foods (bought before the "switch") when she's not looking.
Organic sugar snap peas, Trader Joe's Organic Olive Oil popcorn, organic Rainier cherries and strawberries, raspberry cookies, frozen Capri Sun, Trader Joe's seasoned popcorn (mostly dill.)

I froze the Capri Sun and packed some round-tipped manicure scissors and a spoon underneath in the hopes that she would accept this in lieu of a color-filled ICEE, which has been our usual movie treat thus far. I figured it could be a kind of push-up popsicle and slushie. But we spent so long at Nana's before the movie, it was mostly melted by the time the movie started. She was excited about it nonetheless, since there were frozen chunks in there, which she enjoyed squeezing and melting and drinking throughout the film.

She ended up eating all of the "flavored popcorn," the raspberry cookies, and some of the olive oil popcorn and cherries. Plus the drink. 

Microwavable Japanese Bento Box Lunch Snack Box PinkMicrowavable Japanese 1 tier Bento Box Lunch Box - Pink

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I just stumbled across your blog from Easy Lunches Boxes and wanted to let you know you are doing an amazing job at providing balanced meals for Z. I can tell a lot of love goes into these boxes and your blog is a great inspiration. I hope if I ever have kids they get great lunch boxes too.


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