More home lunches

I know you guys like to see what I’m eating for lunch and what I’m sending for my kid. I still feel like showing you our food is like showing you something deeply personal. Well, I guess that’s because food is personal.
It was a week where I really made an effort to match up what my son was eating with what they were serving at day care. Click below for lunch pics…

Monday (3/28)
Pancake, bacon, broccoli, (syrup), strawberries,
muffin, kale chips

It was a lunch with all of his favorite foods. They told me he ate everything and I wasn’t surprised. Thankfully he was healthy again too (when he’s sick, he stops eating). Day care menu: ground beef, hash browns (rounded, formed oval), diced pears, diced carrots with yogurt and bread with soynut butter as snacks

Fish sticks, rice stars, avocado, applesauce,
bag with apple slices
I resorted to fish sticks because the other kids were going to eat cod nuggets.
I have learned to look for the MSC logo, which shows that the fish is sustainable.
My son ate all of his lunch according to his caregivers. Day care menu was cod nuggets, mac and cheese, applesauce, peas with fruit and cheese and crackers for snack.
Goat cheese rice mac and cheese, salmon, green beans,
applesauce, yogurt, apple slices in bag
Thanks to one of your suggestions, I’m using goat cheese in his mac and cheese (since he can’t handle cow dairy). He’s enjoying it. Day care menu: diced ham with buttered noodles, bananas, green beans with fruit and ice cream as snacks. 
Avocado, eggs, mac and cheese, apple slices, yogurt, bar
This was probably another one of those mornings where I’m running around with my hair on fire. Day care menu: scrambled eggs, tater tots, mandarin oranges, carrots with yogurt and pretzels with cream cheese as snacks.
Chicken taco meat with beans, cheese and crackers (for dipping),
yogurt, applesauce, bar
The day care menu was American cheese sandwich, chicken and rice soup, pears, peas with snacks of fruit and yogurt. Can you say processed, MSG, canned and more canned? — No thanks!

My lunches
Monday (3/28)
Pancakes, broccoli, (syrup), apple, kale chips, bar

The lunch was too small, not enough protein. I was super hungry after work!

Salad with apples and avocado, dressing on the side,
chicken sausage with rice
I did not want to make the same mistake the next day so I packed more food! 

Salmon, rice, green beans, mandarin orange, apple

That was a great lunch.

Chicken taco meat with rice chips for dipping
and avocado as well as an apple
Again, another winner. That was a crockpot meal too. I don’t even remember exactly what I did.

Chicken salad with crackers and an apple

Those are by far the best gluten free crackers I have ever eaten. Perfect for mini-chicken salad sandwiches. The chicken salad was store-bought. I talked to the people and I know it was gluten and dairy free. My little guy chowed down on it  and got a little red rash on his face. Soybean oil in the mayo of course! Probably genetically modified (didn’t one of you tell me that 90% of soybeans in the US are GM?)

Elimination diets are really a great thing. Take it out, then add it back and see what happens! It’s like an experiment (none of which I would have known had I not eaten school lunch for a year and started paying attention to my body).

Let’s recap my son’s dietary restrictions: No gluten, no dairy, no soy — yes goat milk and cheese. And me? No gluten, no dairy, no goat products, no chocolate — iffy on soy.

Can nothing be easy?

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22 thoughts on “More home lunches

  1. Are there berries in those pancakes? I see these muave-ish specks… Just wondering what they could be.

    Thanks for sharing these! I love reading the descriptions and looking at the pictures. You are a working mother, yet you still create these wonderful lunches for your son. You put so much effort and love into them!

  2. So glad he's liking the goat cheese! I feel for you on the soy, I'm one of those who the soy tends to trigger anxiety attacks in. Fun!

  3. Rice stars? I love it! You use a mold I assume? Hmmm… what else can we make shapes out of?

    Glad the diet is going well!

  4. Thank you for sharing these- you are such an inspiration to our family and our meal choices!

    I may have missed this in an older post, but may I ask the rationale behind trying to match your son's lunch to the daycare's? Is he old enough to be self conscious? My little girl isn't old enough to be self conscious about food yet, but I know that will happen soon enough. 🙂

  5. I wish I was that creative, my girls take sandwiches everyday. I will show them your blog tomorrow maybe we can get something started. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Where did you get the little containers for sauce/syrup/dressing? I know eons ago Tupperware had little ones like that, but any my mom may have had are long gone. I look for them when I think of it at places like target, but don't find them.

    I also feel I must mention that because of something posted on this blog a while ago, we finally made a visit to Mitsuwa market in Arlington Heights. Wow! The food court was really overwhelming but tasty. That's where I got my rice molds and also picked up the teeny bottles for soy sauce. My daughter is really enjoying her rice balls in her lunch (and I put the furikake topping in the middle.) Thanks for mentioning it a while ago.

  7. The lunches look really yummy 🙂

    It's hard to have food issues. In our house we have them too, and it really makes you think about what you are consuming. Gluten free seems to be becoming far more common now as I'm seeing way more products at the store and more recipes everywhere. Dairy free is still kinda hard though. We're a soy/corn/MSG/red food dye sensitive house too, so it makes things a bit of a challenge (well, not really, I just make everything myself).

    Have a great week!

  8. I am a teacher as well…and I wish you could pack my lunch! I am a young, single teacher and find it hard to make things because I get tired of the left overs which can last up to a week sometimes. While our school lunches have gotten better (no more frying items) it still isn't wonderful. I love reading your blog and seeing your pictures 🙂

  9. Mrs Q, have you ever tried adding fish to your salads? I noticed you had a very, very pretty salad there for lunch one day, but because of your concern about not having enough protein, you added a sausage on the side. Next time you make a salad, try adding a whole can of drained tuna, or some flaked up leftover salmon. It's soooooo good! I make a meal out of tuna and salad once a week or so, and it's really satisfying, without making you feel weighed down. It really is a great meal! And I have yet to find a dressing that DOESN'T pair well. (Although I must say, some sort of asian ginger dressing or mandarin orange dressing is killer. Especially topped with a few sesame seeds. Talk about a gourmet meal!)

    Also, this summer when the tomatoes and basil are at their finest, try this pasta recipe:
    To your hot cooked pasta, add chopped tomatoes, finely diced basil leaves, and small chunks of goat cheese, then toss to combine. The heat from the pasta will *just* warm through the tomatoes and basil, and will make the goat cheese a little softer and mushier. It's a knockout! And soooo easy! You dice your veggies/cheese while the pasta cooks and bam! dinner is ready!

  10. They look great! I pack my lunch too, and the protein factor is something that takes a lot of adjusting and is just in general harder to include in from-home lunches than other food groups like veggies, carb, etc. I usually get my protein in through eggs, patties, stuffed mushrooms… it looks like as the week goes on the protein was starting to make a larger appearance.

  11. I'm really surprised at how often the school feeds the kids ice cream. Really??? It should be a TREAT, in moderation. Not a weekly thing.

  12. I am STILL curious how you can pack things like apples and avocados for lunches… We have apples often as a side with dinner, but even cutting them as I serve dinner, they are browning by the side we sit down to the table. How do you keep them pretty and appetizing all the way to lunch??

  13. I love these posts. . .and I'm not sure why! But I do always look forward to them.

    Also, it makes me wish you'd come to my house and make lunch for ME! 🙂

  14. Aellwynde, swipe the cut sides of the apple with a lemon or an orange. Some people dip apple slices in slightly salty water for the same effect.

  15. Thank you so much for these posts. My daughter is allergic to dairy and egg whites (fortunately not allergic to soy), so I also prepare all of her day care meals.

    It's a comfort to know I'm not the only one taking out time, thought, consideration to ensure my daughter eats healthily. Seeing some of the items on the school menu really makes my heart go out to the parents who don't know any better, and those who don't WANT to know.

    Even if she outgrows her allergy, I will continue to pack organic, non-GMO meals for her. The earlier we start healthy meals with children, the more likely they are to continue eating healthily throughout their lives (college years excluded, haha). 😀

  16. I came to post what Qwen did she beat me to it but I was also curious as to your thoughts on it.

  17. Mrs. Q-

    We are GFCFSF as well. And I was a CPS teacher too! When I first pulled gluten out, I reacted to egg terribly…

    Try running an IgG with a naturopath. I have a good doc downtown if you need a rec.

    Glad I stumbled into your blog this evening. I am horrified by the state of CPS' food program as well. Would be willing and able to assist in any events to promote better foods in our schools.

  18. Hannah, 8 and Olivia 7 are very very impressed by your blog and your lunches. Hannah kept saying wow she is so creative, I wish I was that creative. We always have turkey sandwiches but now we will have more variety. Thank you again.

  19. @Melissa–the sauce containers came with her laptop lunchbox:

    They're a little pricey, but well worth it. There are 4 internal boxes, two of which have liquid proof lids, and the little sauce container, which has a liquid proof lid. It also comes with a spoon and fork, and a little recipe/lunch idea book. I've tried a LOT of different lunch boxes, because we have food allergies, so we have to take meals a lot. I'd say this still isn't perfect, but it's the best I've found so far.
    They also sell a thermos they call a lunch jar that is just the right size for a can of soup (or, you know, a good size serving of homemade) that does a very good job of keeping the soup hot, or cold drinks cold.

  20. Again, behind on my blog reading…

    I have to confess to eating lunches that look more like his than yours. I don't eat very much by 'American' standards and I find that the different, separate flavors of the bento box really help me feel satisfied.

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