Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I am back-School Lunches Part One: Containers and Yogurt

Well-I am back. I am going to try to post at least once a week, but would like to be posting 2-3 times a week. I will try to back fill with info about Ty’s diet, put in recipes in addition to the theme of my next few posts: School Lunches-What to Pack? If you have any requests or need meal ideas email me!

School Lunches: What to Pack: Part 1 Containers and Yogurt
So, as you know I am a director of a small early learning center near Columbus, Ohio. One reason I enjoy our center is because children have the choice to pack a lunch, or buy a school lunch for an additional fee (although, we currently do not offer this at our center, it will be offered soon).
This gives me the ability to pack my son healthy, mostly organic, meals that I know he will enjoy. In Ohio, and many other states, Childcare centers and schools are required to follow the USDA food guide. In Ohio this means that at each meal served at the center has to have a serving of veggies, fruit, protein, grain and milk. Milk is provided by the center and you can bring two veggies or two fruits instead of one of each.

My first hurdle when packing lunch for Ty was what to put it in. I know this seems like you just throw it in a lunch box and there you go, but I was packing 4-6 items for lunch everyday. That was a lot of plastic containers and/or disposable sandwich bags. Many of the items that I pack for Ty are warmed up, so I was not only worried about waste but also heating items in plastic.

So here is what we settled on:
This box not only has 4 compartments with lids for 2, but also a small container for sauce/ketchup, a spoon and a fork, and the plastic is safe to heat in. It is large enough for Ty now, and will continue to hold all his food for many years to come.

My other favorite box that many children bring to school is a simple metal box with two compartments. It is not safe to heat in, or large enough for an entire meal, but can be recycled. One student at the center brings one of these with a sandwich wrapped in one of these: (ignore the phone)

Ty is in a yogurt phase. Ok, if it lasts for this long, it is probably an obsession. He loves yogurt in milk, on cereal, and for lunch. Here again is a dilemma. Almost EVERY yogurt you find in the grocery is low fat (we are still serving him full fat foods), full of sugar, chemicals, artificial sweeteners/colors/flavors, and is just crap. So, from the beginning, we have flavored our own yogurt.

Flavoring your own yogurt:
This is entirely done by sight. Put in enough fruit to flavor, but now overpower, the yogurt.
-For this I prefer to use frozen fruit. By the time it is lunch time it has thawed and the juice from the frozen fruit flavors the entire bowl of yogurt. If you do not use frozen fruit I would suggest cooking the fruit or letting some of the juices soak out of it, first. If you are using bananas just mash them up. All fruit should be mashed before putting it in the yogurt.
-Mix one batch at a time (I prefer this because the fresh fruit can get nasty)
-Add in a little vanilla extract, cinnamon, cocoa, or even a little honey (if you need to sweeten up the fruit) to make the yogurt a little extra special.
-You can add chopped almonds a little brown sugar for a crunchy treat.
-For apple pie yogurt use cooked apples, a little brown sugar, and top with cinnamon.
-Jam makes a quick flavoring. Use your favorite unsweetened to make it healthier
-Peanut butter can be added with pear or apple slices for a fun dipping sauce!
-Make sure you stir before eating!

Sometime in the near future I will be trying to make my own yogurt for Ty. Once I do this I will post my thoughts/recipe on homemade yogurt.

Lunch Box:http://www.amazon.com/Laptop-Lunch-Bento-Set-2-0/dp/B002Q0X54K/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1282086309&sr=8-4

Lunch Bags:http://www.amazon.com/Unknown-Eco-Ditty-Sandwich-Bag/dp/B003M6H4PI/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1282087678&sr=8-1-fkmr1

Pictures of yogurt to come (tomorrow, when I make some yogurt for Ty!)


~Amie~ said...

Where did you get Ty's lunch box?

Lauren said...

Amazon :)