Friday Lunch Wrap Up #2

It’s been a long week. I’m really, really tired, but I have good news to share. Next week.

My son has gotten a cold. I think it was three weeks ago that he was sick last, but we were just thinking that it felt like a long time ago since his previous cold. He has transitioned to a new room at daycare and that has been hard on…Mommy and Daddy. He has done well with it, mostly because his very best friend moved at the same time. My son idolizes this other little boy and talks about him at home all the time.
And then he bites him at daycare.
Yep. I have a biter. He bit his favorite little friend twice. Once last month and then he bit him again this week.
We’ve talked about how we don’t bite our friends (he did bite a girl last fall) and, in the last room, they even read a book about “biting apples, not friends.” So he will say, “bite apples, not friends.” Try putting it into practice, kid!
I am mortified. Advice, please! I’ve emailed the boy’s mom to apologize. She said it’s ok, but will she still forgive if he keeps doing this?
(everything is gf/df because of my son’s tummy issues)

Lima beans with baked Jasmine rice (to die for!), chocolate cupcake, pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds);
turkey, coconut milk yogurt (Whole Foods) with pomegranate seeds, applesauce and snackTAXI with apple slices

The daycare menu that day was fish nuggets, fettucine alfredo, diced pears, diced carrots with fruit and a blueberry muffin for snacks. My son’s new caregivers tell me that he eats his own lunch happily and doesn’t feel deprived. I’ve visited during lunch and, you know, it’s really hard for me to see my son eating something different than the other kids. I know that doesn’t make sense, but everyone else has exactly the same stuff, the stuff he used to eat before my epiphany, including fruit and veggies from cans…their food is on paper plates and he’s sitting with his own separate food. I don’t want him to feel different, but he’s bound to. That’s why I try to match when I can (like the muffin).

They told me he ate everything…

Eggs, bacon, steamed carrots, crackers (foil bag) and cheese (not visible) yogurt & pomegranates, crunchy green beans, apples cut up in the reusable bag. Daycare menu: chicken patty on whole wheat, pineapple bits, peas, snacks of fruit and ice cream.
We had two major kitchen failures on Monday night when we were making dinner. My husband prepared a baked lamb dish. The recipe said it needed to cook for two hours. That seemed long to me. We pulled it out of the oven about an hour into the cooking. I thought it looked ready to eat, but he wanted to follow the recipe. So it burnt black around the edges. I humored him and ate some. It would have been amazing…and it would have gone into our lunches.
I got out the old bread machine and tried my hand at making gluten free bread from a box meant for a machine. Everything went great and I pulled it out and cut it up. I enjoyed a piece or two. My husband then asked to see the label. That’s when we both noticed that although it was gluten free, it had “skim milk” and “whey” as ingredients. So not only could I not eat anymore, I couldn’t send it in my son’s lunch the next day. And of course I was sick the next morning.
So what you see above I threw together at 6:30 am.
I roasted a half-chicken with veggies (sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrot, onions) in the oven for dinner the previous night. Delicious and easy! Then I sent along applesauce, chocolate yogurt, crunchy green beans, and mandarin orange wedges in the snack. Daycare menu was: ground beef, buttered whole wheat pasta, applesauce, green beans with yogurt and fruit for a snack.
My husband picked our son up from daycare so I didn’t get the scoop on how much he ate.
Cut up turkey burger with potatoes, lima beans (container with ketchup for dipping), eggs, watermelon, peas, bar. Daycare menu: scrambled eggs, hash browns (formed patties), apricot chucks, diced carrots with fruit and american cheese with crackers for snacks.
I bought the watermelon at Whole Foods. It’s obviously not in season here. It’s organic and came from Guatemala. I couldn’t resist buying it because my son is nuts about watermelon. Was that a bad thing (because of jet fuel costs)?
My little guy’s cold started up on Thursday so I knew 1) he wouldn’t eat much 2) he loves eggs. So I sent a lot of food and he didn’t eat much. End of story.
Turkey soup made with chicken stock (from a carton), corn pasta, rice carrots and peas, watermelon, yogurt, bar. Daycare menu: ground beef, macaroni and cheese, diced peaches, peas with fruit and ice cream as snacks.
We had soup for dinner the previous night because my son and my husband were feeling under the weather. My son didn’t eat well for dinner. And today they told me he didn’t eat much of the soup. Tonight we had a nice dinner, which he didn’t eat much of. We know that when he’s sick, he really stops eating. Once he feels like himself again, he’ll go on a bender. So I’m trying not to fret.
(gf/df too)
Wrap with turkey meat, lima beans & bake Jasmine rice (one of my husband’s creations), yogurt and Mandarin orange.
I figured out that if I put the tortilla in the toaster over for three minutes, it got really hard and crunchy and made a wonderful crunchy wrap. I couldn’t really fit everything in the bento box and still close it. So I took the sandwich out.
Egg, bacon, pepitas, crackers, banana mandarin orange, KIND bar
This was not enough food. I was ravenous at 3 pm. But it was the lunch after our kitchen disaster so I didn’t have a lot of options when I was rushing around like a mad thing in the morning. It should be noted that I did not need silverware with this meal.
Cut up apples in the snackTAXI, bagel sandwich with turkey meat, lima beans in a bag, crunchy green beans, yogurt.
The turkey meat we buy is the nitrate free and uber-healthy stuff, which advises “eat within four days of opening.” Don’t push that. I made that mistake last year. It was the fourth day so I piled on the turkey meat. I had trouble closing it, but I don’t care that it’s slightly ajar because it’s inside something else.
Roasted half-chicken with veggies, popcorn popped on the stove with walnut oil, mandarin orange, KIND bar
I’m obsessed with popcorn. Making it on the stove is so fast and easy. It’s addictive. I couldn’t find the snackTAXI or I would have used it for the popcorn. I had tossed it into the laundry!
The turkey soup I made, with crackers, pepitas, oranges, and an apple.
I really wanted soup today to try to ward off the cold that’s infecting my house. Last night I slept so poorly that I think that might do me in. I tipped the soup into a large cappuccino cup and microwaved it at work. The container I used is called Fuel and I blogged about it when I bought it last summer. After all this time fantasizing about packing my own lunch, here I am doing it.

Regarding the snackTAXI — there seems to be some confusion over the interior material because I’m not a fabric expert. It’s waterproof. You can run your fingernail over it and it will make a zipping noise. What kind of fabric is that?


Today at work there was a small picture of a grandma in some materials.

Kid A piped up, “Grandmas give out candies!” Kid B added, “Yep, lollipops!”
I said while nodding, “Oh, ok.”
Kid B then continued, “Grandmas don’t wear high heels.”
I asked, “Why not?”
Kid B answered, “Because they could fall down.”
I asked, “Well, who wears high heels then?”
Kid B answered, “Big adults.”

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26 thoughts on “Friday Lunch Wrap Up #2

  1. The lunches look great, but I was wondering, how do the cold items stay cold and warm items stay warm in your son's lunch? Do they refrigerate it and reheat the foods meant to be eaten warm? If so, in what containers are the reheated in? If he eats everything as is, do you worry about the bacteria? Or does he not mind eating food straight out of the fridge?

    I pack my daughters lunch each day, but in the third grade, nothing gets refrigerated or reheated for them so I'm always looking for better ways to keep her foods warm. Hubby would prefer it if I let her buy a hot lunch to avoid the worry of how safe the food is thatshe eats is after being in her lunchbox all morning, but I really don't want her eating that stuff they call food.

    Simply curious…

  2. I just checked back in here after a looooooong hiatus – and see that your wee one and you are gluten/dairy free now!

    Both my kiddos had allergies – my youngest outgrew them all, my eldest still has an epi-pen for her egg allergy. She's 7. For awhile, we were avoiding dairy/soy/egg/wheat/peanut/treenut/fish/shellfish/legumes in general…. I know how difficult it is to find new recipes and ways of making things, and to adjust with friends/family/coworkers as well. Best of luck as you work through all of it!

    I just wanted to let you know – I know what you mean when you say you don't want him to feel different; and yet, it has to be that way. My eldest has been quite matter-of-fact about it most of the time. She is sad about it sometimes – but we plan ahead, and bring cupcakes to every birthday party she goes to, offer to bring "something" to anything we're invited to, etc., to ensure that there is always something safe for her. It becomes quite manageable.

  3. From the snackTaxi FAQ:
    Merchant Services

    what materials are used to make snacktaxis?

    The exterior of a snackTAXI is comprised of 100% cotton, and the interior is lined with polyurethane coated nylon. According to the most recent information from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act's website (the CPSIA deals with the safety of items used by children), these materials have been found to be inherently free of lead of lead and phthalates, and therefore do not require testing.

    Our nylon has been tested, however, and confirmed to be lead, phthalate and BPA free!

  4. Apparently I bit my parents knees as a kid. I have no memory of it. But I turned out fine! My parents think I did it because I was unhappy (we lived in hot hot Texas, and I often got earaches) but I wasn't really verbal. I don't know how verbal your son is, but maybe he'll outgrow it as he learns to express himself more?

    I looked on the snacktaxi website and I believe it said they were nylon, which they said wasn't plastic, but I think it is!

  5. Q, that's probably cotton with a food-safe polyurethane coating.

    I am intrigued by those Kind bars, but I feel like they're really dear in terms of Weight Watchers points. I suppose I could eat a half at a time in order to budget the points, tho.

    You ask if it's a bad thing to buy watermelon out of season because of jet fuel costs; that's up for you to determine based on your values. It's not a choice I would make (my eyes were opened after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Matters), but I've also discovered that buying fruits and veg out of season are just sad in terms of pleasure. Strawberries out of season don't taste like strawberries. Watermelon is mealy. So I've come to embrace the pleasure of a perfectly in-season grapefruit in winter, and the sensual burst of a full-flavor straw- or blackberry in summer. Plus, eating fruits only when they're in season makes them that much more desirable. You know? You get to enjoy them with the knowledge that you only have that one small window to enjoy them until next summer (or whatever).

  6. Looks good!
    It's good to get your son in the pattern of eating his own packed lunch. There will be times when he wants what everyone else has, but then you can make a concerted effort for that food. But really, you just ate the school lunch for a year. Do you want him eating that?! Of course, changes are happening and are good. I still think it's going to be a slow process. I don't count on my kids eating school lunch anytime soon.

    I'm guessing it's probably nylon inside on the snack taxi? Yes, I just looked it up on their website. It's a coated nylon:

    I just got some snack bags on etsy to give as Christmas gifts this year. I love them! I got a deal and bought 20, and barely managed to keep enough for myself!

    And you keep mentioning that you're hungry by 3. Are you trying not to snack? I figure it's fine if I'm hungry at 3. I eat a snack after school. I keep my lunch easy and light. In general, I eat a big salad, some yogurt, and fruit (mostly grapefruit this time of year). That's what I have every day. Of course, I like the predictability of it all; some would get bored eating the same thing every day.

  7. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you would probably enjoy kettle corn made on the stove. My hubby found a recipe on the internet and made it for us one night–so much better than the stuff made at the outdoor events, so easy, and even he loved it (and he's not a sweet eater.) It's a wonderful treat, and you can control the ingredients. (It's just popcorn, oil, sugar and salt, anyway, but you can use different sugars and oils and tweak the amounts as you like.)

  8. It is fine if you are hungry by 3. eat some almonds on your way home or something like that.

    About biting. My youngest only bit 3 times. Each time she bit she was feeling trapped and she had no other way to respond as she didn't have the words at the time to give voice to her frustration or fear. It didn't matter if it was friend, foe, or sister…
    In the sister instance, we talked to the oldest and she understood it was her fault, in the other 2 we talked to the Mother's day out teacher and director and they moved the room around so the teacher could see every part of the room and all the children, so no one could be trapped or cornered. The biting stopped.

    Also, did they tell the other parent that it was your son who did the biting? They really are not supposed to do that. Apologizing is wonderful but really, what was his best buddy doing? There are better ways to deal with someone pushing or taking your toy yes, but learning to share is best.

  9. Mrs. Q, you are far more creative with lunches than I ever am. maybe this will inspire me more…. Good luck keeping up with packing your lunch.
    Are you going to try eating school lunch again when the illinois food reforms go through?

  10. Mrs. Q,

    A comment that you wrote struck me:

    "I've visited during lunch and, you know, it's really hard for me to see my son eating something different than the other kids. I know that doesn't make sense, but everyone else has exactly the same stuff, the stuff he used to eat before my epiphany, including fruit and veggies from cans…their food is on paper plates and he's sitting with his own separate food. I don't want him to feel different, but he's bound to."

    Why is it so wrong for a young child, or any child (or adult for that matter) to stick out and be different? I went to a Catholic grammar school and was the only kid from a Polish-Russian decent. My Mom was really big in packing left overs for lunch and often I had kielbasa sandwiches and cold pierogies, borscht (beet and cabbage soup) with a some sour cream on the side to put into the soup, or even meatloaf , roast beef, sausage, or chicken salad fsandwiches — all from the night before. While these other kids had nice flat (thin!) sandwiches of boring PB&J or some processed cold cut, I had this lumpy weird things that were DELICIOUS!!! They made fun of me and my lunch relentlessly (the student body was predominately of Italian decent) because it was different. However, my Mom and Dad always made sure that I understood why I got what I got (left overs were frugal) and that we should be proud of who we are, which is reflected in the food we eat. I took great pride in my kielbasa, pierogies and borscht! And I did indeed have a distinct sense that I was different because my lunch didn't look like everyone else's.

    Did it hurt me or harm my inner workings? No. It made me stronger and in the long run a much better eater. It's your job to make sure that he understands that this isn't a cookie cutter world (no matter how hard people try to make it that way) and that his lunches are very, very special … just like him. Besides, by the time lunch rolled around I was too hungry to even care that nice pink roast beef was flopping out of my sandwiches!

    Being different is a good thing. It makes a person stronger and gives a kid a good sense of self. As an adult I am very happy I didn't follow the group … and I still don't.

  11. Your lunches all look delicious!! I am also gluten free (along with other restrictions) and you have given me some good ideas for what to pack for myself!
    Thanks for all that you do!

  12. My husband loves jasmine rice. Can you post your husband's recipe for the baked jasmine rice?

  13. Kudos to Mary!
    There's nothing wrong with a kid being "different." It teaches you how to embrace your own unique aspects and foster them. So your kid eats lima beans. Big deal. I'm sure most parents would love a kid who ate lima beans instead of french fries. Who's really losing out in the end? The kid eating chicken patties, or the kid whose mom took the time to pack his lunch every day? He'll grow up and realize how special that was. I did.

    I would suggest asking the staff at the daycare how THEY think you should handle biting. I know when we were kids, if you bit someone, they had permission to bite you back. Granted, no one bit more than twice before realizing that getting bitten was not fun, and thus stopped doing it. People will probably scream child abuse nowadays though, so I'd say ask the staff what they think should be done.

  14. About biting – remember that little kids think VERY concretely and also they are just grasping the concept that other people have feelings just like they do. He probably doesn't realize that biting hurts his friend (until after.)

    The best thing to do is to prevent – talk to the staff and see if you can nail down "warning signs" of biting so they can step in BEFORE the behavior takes place and redirect. Teaching a child to recognize behaviors before is better than punishing after- if you can do it.

    Is there a particular time when biting takes place? Is it before naptime, during meal time, when they're coming in from outside? Is there any kind of a pattern?

    He probably just wants to show affection, but doesn't always remember the appropriate way to do it on his own or in the thrill of the moment.

  15. Since you asked…as a foster mom and former teacher and daycare worker…I have met many biting kids. You said he bit his friend. Could it be that he is so happy and excited to hang out w/said friend, that when things get going he just has so much emotion (good happy emotion) but yet is not allowed to shout, jump, or do things that might express his happiness? I know we had a kid like that once who was actually just so happy he bit you to say he was happy and loved you! Not cool. We took time to explain some other ways to express yourself – you could hug, you could wave your hands, you could wiggle and dance in one spot…etc. But I also encountered 2 kids who did that when people got too close, which happened a lot w/a group of kids on one area. So the trapped comment could be applicable too. But honestly, I firmly believe in kids (verbal AND non verbal) learning signs or other appropriate physical ways of expressing themselves. Most of all, I just want to tell you that you are not alone as a mom with a child who does something of this nature. Don't go thinking the other moms hate you or your kid, and please don't let it stop you from interacting and talking w/the other parents! I think lots of parents, whether they will admit it or not, have dealt w/a behavior or 2 from their kid that affected and even hurt others. Yes, biting is bad. Yes, it should be stopped. But c'mon, he's not like lighting fires or crossing acceptable lines in other less appropriate areas. I pray you and your family find a way to address this situation. I would say good luck, but I believe in this situation, you are a good involved parent and you don't need luck =)!

  16. I highly recommend the book "Teeth are Not for Biting." I was mortified when my oldest son was sent home with the book from daycare to borrow for a few days. It really helped us and gave consistent phrases we could use along with his teachers. Best of luck!

  17. Roasting lamb is best done with a meat thermometer you can insert to let you know when the interior meat has reached a safe temperature of 120-130 degrees. The problem with cooking for a set period of time is that the size and weight of your pieces of lamb will vary, and the actual oven temperature could vary quite a bit from what you think it is. I find it also works best with a half hour at 375-400 to provide a little bit of crispness, and the rest of the roasting time at 325. I hope your husband tries again! Fresh lamb is awesome. (I have a friend who raises delicious local lamb.)

  18. Lunches for both you & your son look really awesome. Very creative. You mention sometimes getting hungry b/f the day is over. Interesting. . .I had noticed that it seemed that you're not packing as much for yourself as your tiny little son. Is that just an optical illusion from the camera or is that really the case? Can't tell from here. Might be part of the issue.

    Snack Taxis look very interesting. When I return to an office & start packing lunches again, I will check them out.

  19. My daughter has been eating gluten free since right after she turned three. Now, at 6-1/2, she is is very matter-of-fact about what she can and cannot eat. She never feels bad about her lunch and rarely feels left out at other events where food is featured (birthday parties, etc).

    I think our attitude toward her diet has a lot to do with how amazingly well-adjusted she is about it. We are always very matter-of-fact about things. We certainly comfort her when she feels left out, but we never point out a difference to her.

    A book that has helped me tremendously is Kids with Celiac Disease by Danna Korn. My daughter does not officially have celiac, but the information in this book is very helpful and not necessarily celiac-specific.

  20. Regarding the biting, just let your son know that his friend isn't gluten free, and he will get a tummy ache if he keeps biting him.

  21. Another Josh — Touche!

    Regarding the baked Basmati rice recipe, the recipe is not mine to share. However, I've been looking for a link to a similar recipe online and I can't find one. The book refers to the rice as Caju Pullao, but the internet seems to point to a different spelling: Kaju Pulao. Regardless, I can't find it!

  22. As the child of a teacher who refused to eat school lunches herself because of the low quality, and refused to let me eat them either, I salute you! I love looking at what you've packed–it's like what my mother packed for me. I never felt deprived or weird being the only one with a packed lunch. It felt good to know that someone cared (and may have slipped a note in along with my healthy meal). I also never remember feeling hungry–she was able to get the perfect balance to get me through the day and home for a healthy snack. Excellent project; I'll forward it to her. She'll appreciate it 🙂

  23. I am a mom of a 2-year-old biter myself! I'm also a trained behaviorist by trade, so I've worked tirelessly on fixing the problem behaviors of many children, including my own child! The key has been a collaboration with the day care. She did it once when she was about 16 months old then didn't do it again until she moved to the toddler room. It was a weekly occurrence for awhile. After much discussion and observation, it was clear that she was doing it for attention. The day care was having her "help the victim" and all kinds of other stuff, which she was obviously looking for. As soon as we had them pretty much ignore her after she did it and also gave her lots of attention in the way of being a "big helper", the biting stopped! She will do it on occassion when a new kid that requires a lot of attention is in the classroom, but it's usually only once and typically only happens when the regular teachers are out of the room on their break. There was also a bit of a "sensory" component in that when she got super excited about something, she would chomp down on whatever she could find. That was solved by working with her to ask the teachers for a chewy. It's every so slightly inappropriate for a toddler to need a chewy, but it was better than a friend! The third reason she bit was when provoked. If a kid took her toy, she bit! I was super embarrassed at first, then reminded myself that two year olds, no matter how much language they may appear to have, don't have all the tools to communicate how they feel and almost ALL of them act out somehow (usually biting or hitting). And she's not the only one! She has been the victim as well. Now we all laugh about it and move on. Chances are, they won't remember when they are older anyway! Good luck! PS – The book is good too! There is actually a whole series that i think is GREAT for toddlers! I recommend it to all the parents i work with! Talking about the rules often (we have a morning mantra at drop off that involves asking the teachers for help and being nice to our friend) helps too.

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