Lunch Wrap Up: Week of Sept 26th

For those of you new to the site, every Saturday I share the week of lunches that I pack for my son and for myself. I’m doing that at the readers’ request. I find packing lunches to be a pain because it is so time-consuming. But my son and I are both gluten and dairy free for health reasons and so we both don’t have another option.

I have to be more creative than I ever imagined. Sometimes I imitate the lunches provided by my son’s day care, sometimes I just use what we have on hand. When I use local produce, I’ll note it by indicating where I got it. I’ll write (CSA) for the community share box of veggies we are getting every other week. This is the first year we have done this and it’s been very fun. I also like to shop at the farmer’s market every Saturday. I use the Laptop Lunches system for both of us.

I didn’t pack lunches last week as the whole family was traveling. I’ve been running a little behind with my posts so here are our lunches from the week of September 26th:

Charlie’s lunches

Savory pancake (spinach greens and carrot puree from CSA), strawberries, hard-boiled eggs, syrup, applesauce, cucumber shapes (CSA)

I’m experimenting with savory (not sweet) pancakes. These turned out ok, not great. Also I used these egg molds to turn the eggs into fun shapes. Child care menu: Teriyaki chicken, pasta, peas & carrots, pineapple chunks. 

BBQ chicken, strawberries, spiced rice, carrots, bar

The chicken was a big hit. All I did was put drumsticks in a pan and douse them in gf BBQ sauce and bake them. Too easy and they were delicious. Child care menu: Pasta with meat sauce, salad and dressing, “winter blend,” applesauce.

Bacon, apples, lettuce (CSA), sliced apples, lettuce (CSA) and shredded carrots, corn muffin, pepita seeds, bar

Someone commented that they were disappointed that I feed my son bacon. Well, it’s a big hit around here. If I buy the “good” stuff, is it really a bad thing? Child care menu: Asian chicken, rice, Italian blend, tropical fruit, dinner roll 

 Homemade chicken nuggets/fingers, pears, spaghetti sauce, corn noodles, lettuce (CSA) and shredded carrots, bar

 It’s way too easy to bread chicken (I used gf bread crumbs and cornmeal) and pan fry it in the oil of your choice. Serve with spaghetti. Here I separated the sauce and the noodles for freshness. Child care menu: Meatballs, diced parsley potatoes, green beans, watermelon, wheat bread.

Fried tomatoes, carrots with ranch dip, noodles with chunks of butter ghee, package of applesauce, breadsticks

I fried green and red tomatoes the night before. Only the red ones were leftover for lunch. Amazing! Child care menu: Chicken tenders, pasta, carrots/celery with ranch dip, mandarin oranges, wheat bun. 

My lunches

Savory pancakes (with spinach and carrot puree from the CSA), strawberries, eggs 

I want to continue experimenting with sweet foods and turning them savory.

BBQ chicken drumstick, spiced rice, green beans (farmer’s market), pear, applesauce

I really like cooking drumsticks in the oven.

Turkey meat, gf pita, lettuce and tomato (CSA), apple, banana, bar

I had no time and just threw everything together using the Easy Lunchboxes system. Someone chided me for eating lunch meat. Really? It’s a lunchtime staple. I chose the Applegate brand.

Homemade chicken fingers, pasta and sauce, lettuce (CSA) and shredded carrots, applesauce, bar.


 Chili, pear, chips and daiya cheese, banana, bar

 I just dumped the daiya cheese into the chili after I microwaved it at work. Then I used the chips to eat the chili.

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36 thoughts on “Lunch Wrap Up: Week of Sept 26th

  1. I love potato and courgette (zucchini) pancakes – I’ve linked to the recipe on my blog, it’s very simple and absolutely delicious!

  2. Bacon is a staple in our house, as is lunch meat so I don’t see a problem with it. I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and it doesn’t seem like you serve it all that often. Besides, even if you do it’s not the worst thing you could be feeding your child, from reading your blog for so long i’m sure you find the “good” stuff.

  3. Just curious, what does your husband do for lunch? Does he brown-bag it? Is he indulging in dairy and gluten at lunch?

    I’ve been working on savory pancakes too, and this week’s version was my best ever. Finally bothered to look at a crepe recipe, and while I didn’t follow it, maybe it rubbed off…

  4. I’ve never commented on either the bacon or the turkey, but since I’ve done a ton of reading on nutrition, and since you asked (basically) what’s the harm of both, here are my two cents.

    Heart disease begins in childhood. A study of autopsy results of the Korean War’s US casualties (young men under 35 years old, average age 26) found that 78.3% of them already showed signs of coronary artery disease. That’s scary, since soldiers are supposed to be the fittest and healthiest among us. Twenty-six year-olds with heart disease! (And there’s nothing unique about them being soldiers, other than that war casualties provide an unfortunate opportunity to study large numbers of dead 26-year-olds; the military is probably a comparable buyer of USDA meat, cheese, and fillers as the US school systems). The first symptom of heart disease, fifty percent of the time, is sudden death. Childhood is the best time to keep bacon, eggs, and other high-cholesterol foods out of a person’s diet, the better to prevent the development of cravings and habits for unhealthy foods.
    (The Korean casualty study here:
    (About eggs and cholesterol here:

    On the topic of turkey, here are a couple of reasons to re-think it:

    Also, processed meats like lunch meats, as well as red meat, have a known and “convincing” (according to the World Cancer Research Fund) relationship to increased risk of colorectal cancer. This effect was published in 2007 and reaffirmed (with the addition of more peer reviewed research in the intervening years) in 2011. The researchers recommend “that people limit consumption to 500g (cooked weight) of red meat a week – roughly the equivalent of five or six medium portions of roast beef, lamb or pork – and avoid processed meat.” In other words, don’t eat lunch meats at all to mitigate your risk of colorectal cancer.

    I’ve seen you put nutritional research findings into practice before once you were aware of them (when you read about the possible effects of food additives that are banned in European markets but still sold here), so I thought you might appreciate seeing some of the research that supports your blog commenters’ thoughts on bacon, turkey, and the like (I’d add eggs to the list of things to re-evaluate). I think it’s great that you take readers’ comments and ask why they object to certain things in your (and your son’s) diet – it shows a real openness to learning new information that I think is admirable and, really, at the heart of your mission with this blog and your new book.

    Congrats on all your success!!

    1. I do realize health problems start in children but I have no problems with Ms Q (saw the article, real name I cannot remember) giving her son bacon or lunch meat on occasion. It is not all that often. Please keep in mind any food is okay in moderation.

    2. Kids need fat. They’re not like grown-ups who are finished growing. (vertically anyway) I agree that adults (that includes 26 year olds) should watch their intake but a moderate amount of red meat and pork fat is not a red flag for children.

  5. I’m curious about your spiced rice. What’s in it? We’re gf & the kids love rice so anything new would be fun.

  6. You just can’t win, huh? I think what ya’ll are eating is great, but people are still nitpicking it apart. I guess you’d better not eat anything you didn’t grow and harvest yourself.

    As for the bacon, like the photo cycling around online says, “Either you love bacon or you’re wrong.”

  7. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and I love to see what lunches you pack. At our house we aren’t gluten free but we are a lot of other things free, like sugar, wheat specifically, corn, rice, chocolate, coconut…the list goes on. It can be hard to pack lunches, so I just want to say I think you do an admirable job.

    I also wanted to say something along the lines of what a few others said, that I can’t believe someone would give you a hard time for eating lunch meat or bacon. Everybody makes food choices, and while we don’t eat that stuff at our house because we keep kosher, I would never make someone (intentionally or otherwise) feel bad for the choices they make. The food you are feeding your family is good food, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!

  8. I’ll admit my guilty pleasure…I do buy and love bacon and hotdogs. BUT!!! I do buy the good stuff. All natural or organic if I can get it, no added nitrates/nitrites, uncured, no preservatives…you can really taste the difference in my opinion. And when they’re made right and served in moderation, they’re not horrendously bad for you.

    I recently discovered a recipe by Jamie Oliver that uses chopped bacon, peas, Parmesan, and creme fraiche over mini shell pasta, garnished with fresh mint and lemon juice/zest. Oh. My. God. Delicious.

    So yeah. Don’t let anyone pick on your meat consumption when you make responsible, sustainable purchases.

  9. If bacon is the worst thing you are feeding you and Charlie, well so what. You pack the most nutritious lunches I’ve seen. A little bit of indulgence very now and again is a good thing. If you deprive yourself (nor your son) you will both crave unhealthy stuff and go overboard with it.

    Keep up the good work!

    ps. I love seeing your lunches every week. You give me great dinner ideas 🙂

  10. I am annoyed people are getting on your for bacon and deli meat. I doubt anyone eats perfectly healthy all the time. Is bacon any worse than ice cream? Neither should be eaten every day but so what. I would not want to live in a world where bacon is banished. I was reading a magazine while getting my oil changed the other day and there was a recipe for bacon chocolate cake. HECK YEAH! Anything is alright in moderation. ENJOY YOUR BACON! I have been reading your blog since the beginning and I am so proud of you. You have courage. Not only have you made me (annoyingly) aware of what I put in my mouth, but my families health has been made better because of it. Thank you.

  11. The cholesterol myth has been debunked As for those young Korean War soldiers, I wonder how many ate bacon and eggs regularly. Meat used to be expensive. Many middle-aged and elderly Americans who grew up in poverty ate meat only for supper and some only a few times a week. My mother grew up on a farm with chickens and cows, and her family ate eggs only on Sundays. Breakfast during the week was a bowl of oatmeal. Consumption of refined flour products like bread, pasta, and cookies and of sugars like cane and beet sugar and HFCS have risen dramatically in the last century, yet animal foods consumed for centuries or longer get villified as the culprits of Diseases of Civilization. Traditional societies that subsist mostly on animal foods, such as the Inuit and Masaii have very little heart disease. And BTW, the China Study’s been debunked, too:

    I wonder why you feed your child Daiya ‘cheese’ frankenfood made of filtered water, tapioca and /or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegan natural flavors, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor), annatto, titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral) instead of real cheese. Vegan natural flavors, mmmm. Wonder what those could be? Betcha that vague name is hiding some MSG-like free amino acids with unnatural-sounding names such as autolyzed yeast protein. Otherwise, the lunch boxes filled mostly with real food look yummy!

    1. You must not have read the post. . .she and Charlie are both gluten and DAIRY free. That means “real” cheese isn’t an option.

      1. She likely read the whole post about being dairy-free. I agree w/ the commentor’s post that fake frankenfood cheese is a questionable choice – NOT like how people are questioning her bacon choices, but rather b/c it’s a bunch of ingredients that make the “cheese” that are mega inflammatory and problematic to our bodies. The commentor is dead-on correct that the cholesterol (and saturated fat) myth has been debunked as incorrect science, so, as long as it’s amidst lots of great whole foods, bacon & lunch meat from high-quality, top-notch sources, it’s fine to eat.

        By the way Mrs. Q – look at you w/ these new meals! homemade nuggets, savory pancakes – very nice to see you continuing to try new things! Just proves that you really can make your food taste amazing and be healthy – even when you’re busy, full-time working parent, etc. Great job!

  12. The savory pancakes sound awesome! I know you said they weren’t too good, but please keep us updated on your attempts to turn sweet into savory. I’d love to see some recipes! I got your book from amazon yesterday and am really enjoying it so far.

  13. I LOVE reading about your lunches! They inspire me to pack better for my four kids. Never thought of sending hard boiled eggs or bacon until I saw you do that! My kids thank you!! I have a love/hate relationship with packing lunches. I love trying to send a little love in a box to school with them every (Well, most day! They do buy occasionally!), but at the same time, packing up five lunches (hubbie too!) every morning gets old!! So thank you!

  14. Interesting about the bacon and deli meat. IMO you can make smart choices of both, of course you’re going to run into a cost issue with that but that’s a whole different topic.

    I do have to agree with JennJennM about the fake cheese though. Something I never quite understood about people who are vegan or preach non-processed ways (although I don’t believe you are either) then dump that stuff on their food. Real cheese seems more natural to me. I believe I recall you mentioning both you and your son having a diary intolerance, but I can’t imagine that stuff actually being a viable replacement? Do you really think it tastes like the real thing?

  15. I feel slighly important that I was following this blog and got to be a part of the daily school lunch posts before you made it crazy big. I’m super happy that the news has grabbed onto you and your cause though!

  16. Well, I used to work at a deli in a major national grocery store chain and a lot of the deli meat (not all, just most) was all sorts of the nasty end bits that you wouldn’t eat anyway but that they ground up and glue together with added fillers. Yum. Granted, that is QUITE a far cry from Applegate Farms, and I can certainly acknowledge that. And after reading your book, I see that you have put thought into the processed meats issue, so you are just doing what you believe to be right for you and your family.

    On a brighter subject, I remember you saying a while back that you were bummed about not being able to bake as much now without the gluten. Check out The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal, as well as Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book by Jennifer Katzinger (even though it’s vegan, it’s really accessible to non-vegans; also it is great if you are on a non-dairy diet).

    Congrats again on the book; I really enjoyed reading it!

  17. I think the problem with lunch meat and bacon is pretty much the nitrates. Nitrates are known to cause all kinds of problems including cancer and altzheimer’s. I believe there are some naturally occurring nitrates in lots of different foods but we should try to avoid the added nitrates. If you are buying nitrate free organic it can’t be that bad. That’s what I buy for my family. Also in regard to red meat there is a lot of evidence that grass fed organic red meats are healthy. They have much less fat than their conventional counter parts and more omega 3s. Also they contain CLAs (Conjugated Linoleic Acid. I don’t think we need to avoid beef or pork or bacon we just need to have it as nature intended not full of preservatives, hormones, pesticides, anti-biotics, GMOs etc. I think we are finally starting to realize this.

  18. I’m a new viewer of this site. I’ve recently watched forks over knives the movie and also have talked to my kids about what they serve in the school lunch room. I just saw a glimpse of fed up with lunch on a morning news show today while I was in an airport.

    First a suggestion for sandwiches. My son 11 and daughter who are both vegan love Humus and cucumber sandwiches. We usually use wheat or potato bread because we are NOT gluten free. The kids love a bit of lettuce on the sandwich as well. We also like to make a tone of pasta the night before and then pack some in a reusable container with a little itialian vinagrett dressing for cold pasta salad at lunch. You mentioned that it is a pain to pack lunches for the kids. We make it part of the kids nightly chores they have to do just like bruning their teeth, laying out their clothes for the next day etc. Although my kids have $10-$20 credit on the school lunch account, they never eat it and come home telling me about the horror [food] stories.

  19. You and your child are eating healthy 99% of the time. There are always going to be “food police” that are going to give you a hard time about every little thing that they don’t consider to be a perfect diet. Don’t let them “chide you” or make you feel bad. You are doing a great job. My child is an adult so I am not dealing with this now but I will tell you that we live in an area that feeds our children doughnuts and pop tarts for breakfast. It’s appalling. My child never had a pop tart as her breakfast in all 12 years of school! Hopefully you are leading a revolution to get REAL FOOD back in our schools! God Bless you!

  20. Yay to the vegetarian options. Us veg-heads get such a bad wrap(that was a funny) so it was good to see the Diaya cheese being used. We use it all the time here in our house. With three vegans, it is a must.

  21. I love your American bento box! You find packing lunch a pain and time-consuming… I hear you. As someone from the country of Bento (Japan), here’s my best advice. Prepare extra food and pack the leftover as lunch in these little compartments when you are putting food away in the fridge at night. To avoid “I’m eating same thing over and over.” feeling, use it 2 days after serving it for dinner. In the morning, all you have to do is just grab and go. So much faster and easier. You can chop extra veggies and pack them with dip, etc. You can increase variety this way, while minimizing your time.

    More time-saving tips here:

    Hope this helps.

  22. I have not visited your blog in some time, but I will be coming back. I recently started packing lunch for my pre-schooler, and could use some ideas and inspiration. Bacon is one of the few things he eat, and I never thought of sending it for lunch occasionally. Thanks for idea! Congratulations on the book!

  23. I have always wondered about the bacon just because it is really processed, fried and contains a lot of salt (yes, even the “good brands”)- and these were the big concerns you had with school lunch. For us, bacon was a rare treat- something we had on holidays or the occasional big brunch with the family.

    Otherwise, the meals look great! I always get some good ideas from them for my kids. One thing I have found really easy to pack are baked potatoes. The kids love them and can dress them up with salsa or broccoli and cheese.

  24. Good for you it’s time to wake up perhaps everyone on this blog should watch Forks over Knives, yes it is a documnetry it has changed our lives

  25. Do you put dressing on your lettuce and carrots, or does your son eat plain lettuce and carrots? Amazing kid!

  26. I just found your site today. Loving looking at your luch. We have the same Laptop Lunchboxes and I wish my kids would eat cold pasta! That said, why do you send individual applesauce containers instead of using the small containers that fit? Save the planet 🙂

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