Lunch Wrap Up: Week of May 23rd

I got my hands on the June menu and there is more variety. Ice cream is out, frozen yogurt is in. Hummus, hard boiled eggs, vegetable soup, pinto beans, etc are on the menu. I’m one week delayed with posting of our lunches so when I get to June, you’ll be able to read what they are offering now. I’m pleased.

I made sure to thank one of the people at the front desk the day after the new menu was distributed. She responded, “Well, we’ll see if the kids like it. If they don’t, there will be some changes.” Not sure what to make of that comment.

When I tweeted about the menu changes, someone replied to me “What’s wrong with ice cream?” Well, nothing in moderation. My son has had ice cream at home twice over the past week. We had ice cream on two hot days. But getting ice cream once or twice a week in January? I think of ice cream as a seasonal food. Hot days? Yes. January before I pick him up and take him out in 17 degree weather? Um, no.

Secondly, maybe I have control issues, but I want to be the one deciding when he gets ice cream. Also, these days I need to know what’s on the ingredient list so it’s not simple.

I know many of you think of me as the food police, but my husband is actually more strict than I am. Sometimes I give my son a cookie or a cupcake when my husband isn’t around. I often feel like my little guy gets “deprived” because of his food allergies and try to make up for it. My husband disagrees and says, “This kid is not deprived at all. Look at how much good food he gets.”


I just want you to know that I didn’t eat good lunches like this before the project. I was eating haphazard leftovers and the occasional microwave meal (with their paragraphs of ingredients). I never put this kind of time into lunch preparation including when I actually had time before my son was born. I never really cared that much about lunch. How things change!

Lunches below the break …

(Giveaway winner to be announced Sunday or Monday!)

My son’s lunches
Mashed potatoes, jello, pancakes and bacon
strawberries, kiwis

He wanted mashed potatoes. I sent the jello to compete against the ice cream. Day care menu: Ground beef, hash browns, diced pears, diced carrots, with fruit and ice cream as snacks.

Hard-boiled eggs, apple sauce, sweet potatoes
brown rice couscous with broccoli, sliced peaches

Nothing much to say here. Day care menu: Cod nuggets, mac & cheese, applesauce, peas, with yogurt and fruit as snacks.

Pasta, lamb burger, peas and cilantro,
bananas with yogurt, apple slices in the bag

My kid loves cilantro. The rest of his lunch is pretty bland. Day care menu: Diced hame with buttered pasta, bananas, green beans, with fruit and yogurt as snacks.

Corn, sweet potatoes, broccoli; kiwis and mandarin oranges;
tuna sandwiches, cranberry muffin, crackers

Nothing much to say here. I sliced the corn off the cob this time. Day care menu: Scrambled eggs, tater tots, mandarin oranges, diced carrots, with fruit and blueberry muffins as snacks.

Chicken noodle soup; yogurt with mint leaves;
sweet potatoes with brown sugar,
bacon; kiwis and mandarin oranges; breadsticks

My kid loves mint. He also likes these breadsticks, which I only offer with soup. It seemed odd to me that soup was offered in May, but that Friday was chilly and rainy so I was happy he had soup. Day care menu: American cheese sandwich, chicekn with rice soup, diced pears, peas with yogurt and crackers with soy nut butter as snacks.

The breadsticks my son loves. They are amazing.
My lunches
Pancakes with syrup, strawberries, yogurt

A small lunch.

Brown rice couscous, kiwi, sweet potatoes, bar

This was definitely not enough for lunch. I was running super late that morning. I had no choice.

Pasta with peas and cilantro, lamb burger, bananas and yogurt

A more filling meal!
Tuna sandwich, KIND bar, kiwis/mandarin oranges,
sweet potatoes/broccoli

Can’t go wrong with a sandwich and I really like tuna.
Salami and cilantro sandwich, oranges with yogurt,
peas and sweet potatoes
I ran out of lettuce/spinach and so I had to find *something* green to put on that sandwich. I found a bunch of cilantro and ripped it to shreds. It was good, but maybe not to some of you (who have mentioned hating cilantro)!
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28 thoughts on “Lunch Wrap Up: Week of May 23rd

  1. Have you read this article?–daycare-caterer-passes-off-meals-from-discount-stores-as-organic-kosher-halal

    Reading things like this make me glad i don't send my kids to daycare ( I used to run a daycare and always made sure the food was healthy, never subpar like this).

    This kind of story makes me wonder about other daycares that have their food brought in, instead of making it themselves.

    So anyhow, just thought I would share. It might at least give you a blog post.

  2. See, that's the interesting thing about reading the comments these days. You can tell who's been reading from the beginning, and who's recently gotten on the bandwagon. Those of us who've been reading from the start have watched your transformation as you learned more about nutrition (myself alongside you). It's taken you over a year and a half to discover the food allergies you and your son have and to learn how to cook and eat in such a way that you can continue to feel physically well each day.

    Because of that, it's almost funny to see the people who call you a food nazi or a nutrition nut, because I remember learning at the exact same time as you why sweetened yogurt was a bad idea, or why it's a better idea to buy local produce, or why we should be eating more brown rice and less white pasta. It's been a gradual transformation FOR ALL OF US as we continue to share with one another and learn from one another.

    So (for the most part) the only people who think otherwise are the people who haven't been a part of this journey. And they stick out like sore thumbs. And it's kind of funny/sad, when you think about it.

    And Mrs. Q: Congratulations on officially changing one school's food. It may not be the school you were going for when you started this project, but when you think about it, you have at least accomplished your goal somewhere. 🙂

  3. I commend you for doing what you think is best for your son's health…

    At the same time, don't be afraid to bend your self-imposed rules a tad bit. No ice cream in January? I see your point, but… just make sure your son gets to experience things that are outside YOUR realm of comfort (within reason, of course). "Control Freak"? Perhaps… just don't let it overpower your world.

  4. Ahhh so proud of you! As someone else said, this is a food journey, and once you learn the truth, you can never go back. EVERYTHING you put in your body affects you, and while it usually isn't easy or "convenient," it's ultimately better for your health.

  5. Some people actually lack an enzyme to properly taste cilantro. It's not life threatening or anything but it explains why I'd rather cover my lunches with poison ivy and eat it than put cilantro on anything.

  6. Congratulations on the daycare food revamp!

    I work in a daycare and we're on the USDA food program, which is sometimes a burden (the guidelines set our kids up for lots of bread and crackers) but our cook would never dream of offering ice cream as a snack…if the kids are at daycare all day (most of them), they get breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. The afternoon snack must be substantial enough to help the kids learn, give them energy, and get them through to dinner without having emotional/behavioral meltdowns. Ice cream. Ridiculous.

    Thank you again for all your dedication to not only your son's health but spreading healthy knowledge!

  7. My kids and I love cilantro and other fresh herbs like mint and basil. It's very cool that your son's school food was changed. Question: What do you think about the preservatives in lunchmeat, hotdogs and bacon and what kind of meat do you usually purchase?

  8. My kid (and the family) eat a lot of bacon. What I buy is the Applegate, Nitrate free, "Sunday bacon." It's delicious.

    We like Applegate products because they are nitrate free. That's the only kind I'll buy! 🙂

  9. While I LOVE cilantro, putting it on salami would be an interesting combo 🙂 Your son's lunches always offer me inspiration for food for my 19 mo. old twins. I like to make sure they eat a variety of foods and often feel like I'm stuck in a rut.

  10. Anonymous at 4:51 — I meant to respond to you. THANK YOU. I really needed to read that 🙂

  11. Aleria — Thanks for the link to that discussion. Interesting and thought-provoking!

  12. Mrs. Q,
    When you make these "tuna sandwiches," is it just tuna between bread? I love tuna, and would love to have it in a sandwich, but I loathe tuna/egg/chicken salad sandwiches (HATE mayo), so I'm just looking for other ways to make the sandwich work.

  13. Lauren_015
    If you don't like tuna with Mayo, I know a great non mayo tuna salad. Chop up some olives, roasted red peppers, and artichokes toss into the tuna, drizzle just a little olive oil and lemon juice over it. Such a yummy, healthier take on tuna salad.

  14. I hate daycare treats because it makes it harder to enjoy treats together as a family. I sent lunch to daycare, but they provide snacks. I feel like whenever I think about an after school treat, it turns out he has already had pudding, jello, and a cupcake as his school snacks. I'm all for occasional treats, but daycare provides so many that I never get to! I haven't seen ice cream in his classroom, but I'd be opposed only because I'd rather we get to enjoy ice cream as a family.

  15. Virginia,
    Wow, thanks! I will for sure add that to my "lunch roster." 🙂 Can't wait to try it.

  16. Yeah Virginia, that sounds awesome and to answer your first question Lauren, I do use a little mayo usually, but I've cut it out since my son seems to be a little sensitive to soy now too! Ug.

  17. Re:Tuna
    I second the olive oil recommendation. I like to add fresh herbs (rosemary, dill or thyme are my favorites), diced celery and a salty component (either pickles, capers or olives–I think the sharp salt is a nice contrast to the mellow tuna). Topped with some lettuce on bread of your choice and you get one killer sandwich. (Bonus points if you use a garlic infused olive oil. YUM!)

    I used to think I hated mayo. Turns out I actually hate miracle whip (that's what was in the fridge growing up). Now that I've discovered that I like mayo, I've been using it every chance I get!

    Mrs Q, it IS possible to make your own mayo, and apparently it's cheap, easy, and fast (I have never tried it, being too lazy to care, however I don't have allergies to motivate me). If you used pasteurized eggs, you could probably whip up a batch every weekend and have enough to last you and your family all week–and the best part is that you know exactly what's in your mayo

    recipe a la food network:

    (now that I'm staring at the recipe, I'm feeling even more ashamed of never having tried it… And love her or hate her, you've got to trust Paula Deen to know how to make mayonnaise!)

  18. I have three comments/questions!

    1. Do you eat the sweet potatoes raw? I'm interested in having more sweet potatoes in my life, but I don't know how to eat them. I don't like them they way they're typically served at Thanksgiving, but I've had sweet potato fries and find them delicious!

    2. I'm not sure what soy has to do with mayo, but I've heard that soy isn't necessarily good for kids. You might want to investigate that!

    3. Another good mixer for tuna salad, if you don't like mayo or miracle whip, is ranch dressing. A little ranch and some mustard makes a pretty good tuna salad! I bet you could also do it with blue cheese or a Caesar dressing if you don't like ranch (if you're looking for a creamy tuna salad).

  19. I forgot some comments!

    Regarding nitrates, I had to look it up because I don't know what they are or why someone would want to avoid them. Wikipedia was the first result. It appears as though it can cause problems for some people, but it's not necessarily bad for everyone. And they occur naturally in some foods. Interestingly, it would seem that vegans/vegetarians can be at a greater risk of nitrate-related issues because they occur naturally in leafy green vegetables.

    But my comment regarding that is more like a suggestion. I think it would be helpful for new readers, and even people such as myself who have been reading your blog for a while but sometimes miss a few here or there, or just aren't up on all the "no no foods," if you would include a quick reference to why you're avoiding things like nitrates. Like I said, I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I'm always asking myself, "what's wrong with high fructose corn syrup?" "what's wrong with Yoplait?" "what's wrong with this?" "what's wrong with that?"

    You talk a lot about avoiding certain things, but don't really mention the reason (except for the allergies). Some of us who read your blog aren't healthy food advocates like yourself (and many of your readers), and don't know why you're avoiding some things. Sure, I can go google it, but it would be nice if you just had a little link to a web article or past blog that explains why you don't eat certain things. The nitrates are good example. Reading your blog, I might assume that nitrates are bad and evil and nobody should eat them! But after looking into it, it seems more like you don't eat them because they're bad for YOU, but not necessarily everyone else.

    I think you're doing a great job educating people about food, I just think you could take a step further and make sure your readers know WHY these things are bad.

    That way, if I read your blog and decide I shouldn't be consuming as much high fructose corn syrup, I can give my husband a better answer than, "because Mrs. Q said it's bad!"

  20. Crazy as this sounds but I can't wait till this little person I'm growing is big enough to take school lunch with it. I haven't even seen my baby only felt it but I can't wait to give it all that healthy food I've been feeding it for the last 3 and a half months.

  21. It's not crazy, Dina. My baby is only 10 months, and I'm already thinking about things like school lunch, too. I think it's only natural to think about your child's future, no matter how old they are! 🙂

  22. Anyone who is making negative comments about Mrs. Q cutting certain foods out of her diet, as well as her son's diet, have never been working with a client and had to RUN to the bathroom or "hold it in" with a horrible, gurgling stomach!! Go a day with bathroom issues and you too will rethink what you put in your mouth. Is a piece of wheat bread really worth having an accident over (and I am talking about the really bad kind of accident)? Or even worse, if someone suffers from Celiac's disease, is it worth developing intestinal cancer?

    I understand that so many people think of GF and/or CF as a "fad" but Celiac's disease, as well as gluten allergies are very real and can make life very difficult and cause irreparable harm to the body. No one wonders why people give up cigarettes but WHEAT, OH NO!?!

    Whew, ok I will get off my soap box! Keep up the healthy lunches, Mrs. Q, you have tons of supporters who have read what you USED to eat for lunch! GREAT JOB!!!

  23. Do you make lunches ahead of time at all? I make my kiddo's daycare lunches the night before to save us time and when I am taking a lunch I make it ahead of time too. It saves me 15 minutes in the mornings.

  24. Mrs. Q, Great job on doing all you can to give you and your family healthy foods. Most people, unfortunately, are overweight or obese in this country – and many of them say things like "all things in moderation" and "(x) food isn't 'so bad.'" That is simply their way to make themselves feel better about themselves when they compare themselves to you & a way to pull you back to their level. Carry on as you are, you're on the right path, and others will either see the results you're getting from improving your food, and join you, or they won't & they'll languish in unhealthy-ness.

  25. I actually saw a study where it said ice cream is bought most during the winter. totally true in my house. I'm a very good eater (healthy) ice cream has been my weakness since I learned what it is, but for some reason in summer I just don't want it. I'd much rather have a slurpee- the nice cold ice to cure the melting brain from the sun. Very glad to see the menu changes! That's awesome!

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