So far Little Z has been opposed to any of the creative sandwich filling ideas from MOMables I've tried on her at home or the few I've tried in her lunches. They sound great to me, and I enjoy them, but she's a no-go. Hopefully she'll become more adventurous again someday. But until then, I try and hover in her comfort zones, while still changing it up a bit.
I love all the inspirations, recipes, and ideas I get from my MOMables lunch menu planning subscription, and it is super easy to make substitutions for dietary restrictions, or grab an idea from an older menu. Right now you can get 30% off a 3-month subscription, and 25% off an 8-week gluten and nut-free menu.
|GF TJs frozen pancakes w/PB, string cheese nibblets, sugar snap peas, maple syrup, apples, strawberries|
Trader Joe's is very special-diet friendly. They have great labelling practices for the Top 8 allergens and possible cross-contamination warnings, plus their shelf tags let you know if something is vegan or vegetarian or gluten-free. And you can get a gluten-free printout list, organized by store section, at customer service. To keep! It's been very helpful to not have to scrutinize every label. It's not a complete list, however, so I still check out the occasional item that catches my eye, just in case.
But anyway, Trader Joe's has some pre-made gluten-free pancakes in the freezer section (toaster waffles too!) So I nabbed some. Yes, I can easily make and freeze my own. Which I will. Eventually. But starting out changing our whole diet (again) is a bit overwhelming, so I'm happy to grab any shortcuts I can for now.
I asked Z if she would be interested in pancake sandwiches, to give her a heads-up that lunch might be a little different the next day. When she agreed, I offered her peanut butter with jelly or with maple syrup. Maple syrup, of course! So I offered to spread it on, like jelly, or in a container for dipping or pouring on over. Dipping!
So I "cooked" four of the frozen pancakes and made two little peanut butter pancake-wiches. I put the maple syrup (real, of course!) in the Mini Dipper, and used silicone muffin cups to squeeze in some more food, and to keep it all separated. Done!
I was able to cut the cheese and strawberries while the pancakes reheated in the microwave and then cooled a bit. Trader Joe's and Costco both have bags of pre-sliced organic apples, and that's a shortcut I like to take advantage of. They're already coated in Vitamin C to prevent browning too, which saves even more time. And while they may cost a little more than buying and cutting my own apples, I'm not paying for the cores (since apples are sold by weight.) And the time I save can be well worth the remaining cost difference. Which isn't much at all.
Over all, this lunch took around 10-minutes to put together, and that includes getting all the food out and then the leftovers put back away. And scrounging around trying to find a clean lid for my Mini Dipper...
Tools of the Trade