When we moved, I sort of backslid when it came to my healthy eating mission. Moving takes a strange toll on a person. Especially on a mom. Suddenly, we needed to eat cheaper, quicker and I had to figure out what grocery stores were going to be the best for what we needed.
Oh, I still planned menus, but they were things I likely never would've fed my family before. (High fructose corn syrup? Hydrogenated oils? Um. Yuck.) I packed lunches, but they weren't healthy, they were cheap and easy.
But, in true New Year's form, I resolved to do things differently. We've been here long enough, I've budgeted well enough and I've learned to endure an electric stove* (sort of ) enough that I had no more excuses.
*I take back what I said about the stove. Last night it burned my granola with 10 minutes left on the timer and I decided I pretty much hate it.
I'm back on the health food wagon. And I'm really excited. I thought I'd share a few awesome resources I've found to help me on my journey.
First, bento boxes.
My friend Amber posted about these a few months ago, but with our impending move I never really "caught the vision." Now, I get it. I want to be able to fill my kids full of fresh foods and this Japanese-inspired way of doing lunch is inspiring me.
I think it was this blog that first started me on my quest. Fed up with School Lunch. About a year ago they had a guest post from an American teacher in Japan. You wouldn't believe the differences in the way they do lunch over there. As I sort of have a volatile relationship with food to begin with, I found their approach completely enlightening. Take time to nourish your body. Eat quietly. Enjoy the food. Can you imagine?
And seriously, if you saw Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, you've got to know what I'm talking about.
Anyway. Back to Bento boxes. I'm planning to order some from this site. And I'm currently devouring this blog to figure out what in the world to put in the darn things. I've never been very good at packing, so this is a new challenge for me.
Check out this list of food ideas for lunch! How awesome is that?
Another awesome blog (that I found thanks to my FB Friend Sherry) is Another Lunch, although when I showed this one to Adam he shot me a look of disbelief. He didn't have to say anything I knew what it meant. "Are you really going to do this?" No, I take it back. He actually did say that.
Well, no. Not like she does it. But I'm all over the idea of fewer plastic baggies, less waste and healthy lunch. Three birds my friends.
With my kids home yesterday for the Day of the Prez, I tried it out with my own little Tupperware.
Needless to say, I didn't have all the cute accessories, but lunch was a tremendous hit. Sophia and Ethan ate every last crumb. The Hobbit's sat on the table for many hours, slowly dwindling as he grazed like a moo-cow. He eventually ate most of it, though I'm gathering he's not too fond of his gluten free pretzels. Wouldn't even touch them.
Ethan's was mostly the same, though I got two mini sandwiches out of their bread. (The GF bread is smaller.) Ethan got a star and a bug. Cream cheese and jelly. He even ate the snap peas. Without ranch.
Sophia got two heart sandwiches and Colorado made potato chips (does that make them healthier, if their local? Let's go with "yes.")
In a perfect world, I think I would've also given them some cheese, but I really don't buy much cheese. I've come to realize it's probably because I feel sorry for myself because I can't really eat it, but my kids love it so I'm going to have to deal.
This morning, their lunches were nearly identical. They looked like this:
Two toned sandwiches, yogurt covered raisins, strawberries, hard boiled egg, carrots, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes, (Sophia had snap peas too) Clif bar for kids, organic milk and applesauce.
There's still some excess waste here (the applesauce, the clif bar wrapper) but we're cutting way back. I put a the hard boiled egg in unpeeled but soon I plan to hook myself up with these bad boys:
You can find them here.
And there's a great tutorial on how to use them here.
I mean, seriously:
Did you know you could do that with an egg?
I'm also loving this post, with tons of great healthy lunch ideas. I struggle with ideas (Can I get a witness?)
Plus, someday I'm going to have to pack school lunches for my Hobbit, so I might as well get a head start researching ways to pack allergy-free. Also on that site is this amazing chart which I am printing out to put up on my fridge because at 7 a.m. I need all the help I can get.
And yes, I know I should pack lunches the night before. I almost never do.
It's the curse of the procrastinator.
One last thing I have to share with you...especially you gluten free eaters out there...
This weekend, I also tackled a little baking with almond flour. (I usually use rice flour, but wanted to try the almond flour. I think it's better for you.)
A lot of people have asked why I'm cutting out sugar and the short answer is, it's really bad for you. It makes me break out, makes me crabby, and I don't like feeling addicted to it. (Though apparently my coffee addiction gives me no reason to pause.)
The two black bananas on my counter led me to Elana's Pantry.
I made this delectable bread:
Here's her recipe.
*I didn't have grape seed oil, so I used 1/2 butter and 1/2 olive oil. I also substituted Stevia for the agave nectar. I've read mixed things about agave (namely that it has a LOT of sugar?? No clue, but I'm not doing sugar, so I didn't want to risk it.) It turned out amazing. I LOVE this bread. If I made it again, I probably wouldn't change a thing.
My kids devoured this stuff and are already begging for more! Elana's also got a great frosting recipe if you can have heavy cream. (I can't.) I bet that's YuMMo!
I like being refocused on our health. I like realizing that it's worth a little extra cost to eat well and to feed my family well. Would love to hear your healthy lunch ideas. Busy moms need to stick together so lay it on me.
*And thank you for all the comments on yesterday's post. This is new territory for us so it's interesting to explore the feelings associated with finding a church. Thank you for sharing your stories.