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School lunches: a new paradigm for the modern family

August 16, 2009

This is the year! Change has come, and change is good – this is our manifesto!

No more shall school lunches consist of a PB&J, carrot sticks, fruit, and a granola bar of some sort! We eschew those things! This is the year of exciting lunches – power-packed with nutrients and low in the stuff that’s bad for you (even when it tastes so, so good). The girls have let it be known that change would be appreciated, and here change comes…

Lunches weren’t always as described above. There were a few different things in the fairly regular rotation, but it was pretty routine stuff: quesadillas, sandwiches, and the very rare wrap. There was always a piece of fruit, some veggies, and the bar. Oh, how they tired of the various granola bars – which always surprised me…

As I’ve mentioned before, Emily’s a vegetarian, so that further complicates things. I’ve been looking at options and bookmarking intriguing things for a month or so now. School starts back up tomorrow (yay!), and so I’ve spent the last couple of hours in the kitchen.

So here’s how it’s going to work:

  • I prepare some options
  • The girls pack up what they want the night before
  • Everybody’s happy

For example, today I made a black bean & brown rice salad, a whole wheat pasta salad with edamame, a fruit salad with cantaloupe, fuji apple, peach, orange and jicama, and blueberry bran muffins. The girls can pick which salad they want, grab some of the fruit and a muffin and they’re off. And so am I, for that matter – I made stuff in quantity, yo!

But it’s not going to be all about the salads this year. We’ve got cool wraps, soups, chili, and other yummy stuff coming up.

And soon, I won’t be the only one doing all this prep (but don’t tell them yet!). I’ll be having them pick out a recipe to fix and that’s going to be one of the options for the week. I think this is going to be fun – a lot of work on a Sunday afternoon, but it’ll sure make things easier later on in the week…

So what’s your favorite lunch option for taking to work? Do you have any great recipes that might work for a plastic container snuggled up to an icepack? Let me know – I’d love to get some fresh new ideas!

Oh, and before I forget, I know I’m not the best photographer out there – I’m just a guy with a digital camera and cruddy lighting. But I’ll keep working on it and hopefully my picture quality will get better over time!

-TFD

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael McKisson permalink
    August 17, 2009 3:06 am

    I usually end up taking some sort of leftover from a previous night's dinner. I really like this recipe and you could probably leave out the chicken for your daughter: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1622452It tastes just as good cold. Are you a Mac person? If so, I can not recommend MacGourmet enough. You can download recipe collections from other people and it is a great way to organize your recipes, shopping lists and menus.

  2. Kevin permalink
    August 17, 2009 3:31 am

    Hey Mike – Thanks for the comment! The recipe looks really good (as do most from Cooking Light). I'm thinking it might be great with a little baked tofu subbed for the chicken. I'm pretty sure I would enjoy it either way.As the commercials say, I'm a PC. Not that I have anything whatsoever against Macs, it's just what I know my way around… Maybe I'll look around for something similar. Kevin (TFD)

  3. Julie Ray permalink
    August 29, 2009 4:37 pm

    Wow – I'm impressed! Do you know about the bento box lunch craze? I did a blog post about it a while back! http://idearodeo.blogspot.com/2008/03/bento-mania.html

  4. Kevin permalink
    August 29, 2009 4:42 pm

    Julie,I've been seeing a lot of bento lunch ideas lately – they're so cool! I may need to head down to the 17th St Farmer's Mkt to see if I can find some. Or maybe they'll have them at LeeLee's Oriental Market when that opens (which I hope they do soon!)Do you have a good local source for them?Kevin

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