How to keep apples from turning brown

How to keep apples from turning brown

Listen, I am busy.  I've got four little kids, two cats, a husband, and a mountain of laundry that never seems to go away.  I've got way better things to do with my time than carefully treating cut apples to keep them from browning.  It's funny though, the things that never occur to you until other people mention it.  I've been putting apples in the lunches since the beginning of lunches, and never really given it much thought. They're just apples.  I cut them, they eat them. 

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School Lunch day 11: Deconstructed Nachos

School Lunch day 11: Deconstructed Nachos

School lunches today are what I call deconstructed nachos.  Basically, everything you would put on nachos, just not all piled and melted together.  This is a super easy lunch to make, and it is usually pretty popular.  If you make sure that the chips you are using are gluten free, then this is an easy gluten free lunch to make. (and substitute gluten free cookies too)

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School lunch day 9 - quesadilla, apples, peas

School lunch day 9 - quesadilla, apples, peas

Just a quick and simple quesadilla today.  Monday is my full day, so I didn't feel like doing anything elaborate Monday night.  Quesadillas are so easy.  They can be as simple as just throwing some cheese on a tortilla and popping it in the microwave for a minute. It's our favorite go-to last minute meal. When I'm not in a total hurry I prefer to cook them in a pan.  Especially if I am packing a lunch the night before, cooking them in a pan gives a little crispness and helps keep them from getting squishy.

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School Lunches 2014-2015: Week 20

I mentioned in my last lunch roundup that I was feeling like I was in a bit of a rut, so I tried a few things this week to mix it up a bit.  

I also realized that in my rut I had slipped into a habit of a lot of grain and carbs, and not as much fresh fruit and veggies and protein.  So I tried to adjust that balance a bit.  I did several lunches that were totally grain free.  Not because I have to for any dietary restriction, but because I believe in everything in moderation, and having wheat and grains at every single meal is not moderation, so we needed to get that reigned in.  I also found that giving myself a bit of a 'box' to work in helps force me to be a little more creative.  I had to think a little harder about how to round out the meal without the grains, and I'm really happy with the results I came up with.  I feel like it helped break me out of my lunch rut.

So my suggestion to you: if you're feeling like your're in a lunch rut, give yourself a challenge. Challenge yourself to do a week (or even just a few days) of grain free lunches, or dairy free lunches, or or meat free lunches - or whatever other idea you can come up with!  It will help force you to think outside your usual box a little.  

I also want to remind you to keep offering a variety of fruits and veggies - even if they don't eat it!!  Studies are showing that even just exposure to healthy foods in childhood leads to better adult eating habits - even if they don't eat the food as kids.  Normalize real foods for them!  Seeing a variety of healthy food at every meal teaches them that these foods are normal and expected.  So even if they don't eat it, they are learning and benefiting from it.  Encourage them to try it, but don't pressure.  They resist when you pressure.  I remind my first graders that I want them to try everything that is in their lunch, but I don't tell them they have to eat it all.  I don't always expect them to eat all the veggies, but that's not going to stop me from including it in the lunch.  Because one day they will try it.  And one day they might like it. 

Also if you're not already following me on Facebook or Instagram - you should!  I'm trying to share what the lunch boxes look like at the end of the day, so you can get a realistic picture of what they are actually eating.  

The tools of my trade:

This week's lunches: 

Hot dogs (Applegate brand, no artificial stuff!) on whole wheat buns, zucchini and carrots, popcorn, grapes. 

Hot dogs (Applegate brand, no artificial stuff!) on whole wheat buns, zucchini and carrots, popcorn, grapes. 

A grain free lunch.  Skewers of tomatoes, cheese, and ham for the two that eat it.  In between they each have a piece of zucchini, celery, and red pepper (which they did taste!).  Fruit on the side: banana, grapes, oranges. 

A grain free lunch.  Skewers of tomatoes, cheese, and ham for the two that eat it.  In between they each have a piece of zucchini, celery, and red pepper (which they did taste!).  Fruit on the side: banana, grapes, oranges. 

Breakfast for lunch: three have homemade whole wheat pancakes, one has potato pancake, filled with cream cheese or butter.  Orange and cheese on the side.  Two have boiled egg, one has rice chex, two have ham, one has sunbutter. 

Breakfast for lunch: three have homemade whole wheat pancakes, one has potato pancake, filled with cream cheese or butter.  Orange and cheese on the side.  Two have boiled egg, one has rice chex, two have ham, one has sunbutter. 

Grain free lunch.  Cubes of cheddar and jack cheese, salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, raisins, apricots, and one has a boiled egg. 

Grain free lunch.  Cubes of cheddar and jack cheese, salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, raisins, apricots, and one has a boiled egg. 

Grain free lunch.  This was an experiment with a sandwich on grain free bread.  One has butter and cheese, one has mayo, ham, and cheese.  They also have carrots, apples, tomatoes, blueberries.  I thought the grain free bread was great, but they didn't love it. 

Grain free lunch.  This was an experiment with a sandwich on grain free bread.  One has butter and cheese, one has mayo, ham, and cheese.  They also have carrots, apples, tomatoes, blueberries.  I thought the grain free bread was great, but they didn't love it.