Archive for July, 2008

Camp Season: How to Pack a Healthy Lunch that Your Children Will Actually Eat!

Camp Season: How to Pack a Healthy Lunch that Your Children Will Actually Eat! As camp season fast approaches, all of us moms are wondering just what we are going to pack our kids for lunch. If you are anything like me, I always tend to fall into a rut of packing the same thing over and over again, am bombarded with complaints that my children don’t like what I pack and by the end of the summer am sick and tired of my children coming home with half-eaten sandwiches. If this sounds like your family, you have come to the right place!Following are some tips that I have used that have greatly improved the “lunch box battles.” My three criteria are that the lunch must be quick and easy to pack, be healthy and include fruits and/or vegetables, and contain foods my kids will actually eat (give some time with this- they won’t switch their eating habits overnight)! It is essential that we streamline this process so that we can have more time to do the fun things like go to the beach, take a bike ride, or just chill out with our families instead of stress out over the dreaded lunchbox!One of the most important things I can recommend is to get your kids involved in the shopping and/or preparation and ask what they like. Also, buy a lunchbox that is easy to use (and that your child likes). Try to include multiple colors & textures into their lunches like a soft sandwich, crunchy carrot sticks and creamy yogurt. For nursery age children, cut their sandwiches into shapes and make fun things like ‘ants on a log’ (celery filled with cream cheese topped with raisons.) Condiments are not just for grown-ups so include hummus or ranch dressing to dip carrots into or ketchup for a tofu dog and also include lots of fruits & vegetables. Get out of ‘grilled cheese and pb&j thinking’ and be experimental with what you include. Lunch boxes don’t have to- and shouldn’t- contain the usual sandwich every day! If you do pack a sandwich, vary the bread- serve it whole wheat one day, a wrap the next, a pita the next and try to add vegetables such as lettuce and tomato when you can.

Remember to always pack a treat- you want your child to have something to look forward to! Lastly, preparation begins in the grocery store and it is important to read labels and avoid buying processed foods high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup and saturated fats and stock your pantry with healthy, easy to pack foods so you always have a bunch on hand.

Below are some ideas but if you are in need for some more there is a great website called Laptop Lunches! Good luck and good packing!

“The Cheat Sheet” for Packing Healthy Lunches:

Main Course (choose one):
PB&J with a twist- use almond butter & banana grilled on a panini serve with side of honey
Grilled cheese sandwich
Fresh sliced chicken or turkey sandwich
“Mexican Sushi” (see recipe below)
Pizza Munchees (Health is Wealth)- delicious pizza pockets!
Tofu or chicken nuggets (Health is Wealth) with ketchup for dipping
Smart Dogs- in a bun or rolled up with cheese in a tortilla
Hard-boiled eggs (make a batch the night before and use for the lunchbox the next day)
“Perfectly Healthy” Veggie Pancakes (recipe below)- cook it the night before & serve at dinner, then heat it up in the morning and pack it the next day (these also freeze well)
Sushi- if your kids love it, it is easy to pack and nutritious!
Snacks (choose one):
Fruit- bananas, apples, oranges, or grapes (slice for younger children) Yogurt- Stoneyfield Squeeze yogurts, Brown Cow, Emmi, Fage, or Skyrs that comes with its own spoon and is my daughter’s favorite! (choose one high in acidophilis and low in sugar)
Cheddar Bunny Snack Packs (healthier version of goldfish)
Pirate or Veggie Booty (Roberts American Gourmet)
Carrot sticks with hummus or ranch dressing for dipping
Celery sticks filled with cream cheese (or, even better, Tofutti)
Dried fruits (no-sugar)- raisons, apricots, bananas, papaya or mango
Trail mix (no-sugar)- try one with Goji berries for iron and Vitamin C

Treats (every lunchbox must have a treat, right!?!)
Snackimals Cookies Packs- come in ‘Snickerdoodle’, ‘Chocolate Chip’, or ‘Wheat-Frees’
Newman’s Own “oreo” cookies
Kashi TLC dark chocolate chip cookies (these are delicious!)
Green & Blacks 70% Mini Chocolate Bar

Drinks (choose one):
If they are going to sports camp, always pack them a big bottle of water as well and encourage them to drink it throughout the day! Opt out of the Gatorade or Vitamin Water route, which is high in sugar. You can just as easily replace their electrolytes with water and a piece of fruit!

Honest Kids- (fun squeeze packs) comes in Tropical Tango, Goodness Grapeness or Berry, Berry Good Lemonade
Apple & Eve All-Natural Apple Juice (box)
Vruit Carrot Apple Juice (box)
R.W. Kudsens Spritzers- Lemonde, Red Rasberry or Grape (can- they think it is soda!)
Vita Coco Coconut Water (box)
Good, Old-Fashioned Water!

Chicken, egg or tuna salad sandwich
Avocado & tomato sandwich

Decontructing Cravings: Lack of Willpower or Important Messages from the Body?

Decontructing Cravings: Lack of Willpower or Important Messages from the Body? The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving a piece of chocolate, a hamburger, an ice-cream cone or a big bowl of pasta? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I would like to suggest that cravings are not a problem but are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs. The important thing we need to do is to listen to our bodies and try to deconstruct and understand why we are craving what we are craving.
If you are experiencing cravings, perhaps your diet is in need of an essential nutrient or mineral it is not getting or perhaps your lifestyle is too exhausting or stressful. Cravings are your body’s way of trying to correct the imbalance. A craving for carbohydrates or something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water or some long-needed rest, a craving for chocolate could mean that you need more antioxidants or you need something to boost your mood or energy, a craving for something salty could mean that you need to add more salty foods to your diet such as miso soup, sea weed salad, and sea salt. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs. Your body knows best and is always trying to create balance.
Products like refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and drugs (which have little or no nutritional value) confuse our body. They throw the body off-balance and can create serious cravings as it tries to get what it needs to restore internal harmony. The more your food is whole and healthy, the easier it is for your body to stay in balance and provide you with a happier, healthier life. No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of your body and its needs can tell you. Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential. It takes communication, love and time to cultivate a relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.
The next time you have a craving, be accepting of it but before you give in take a look at what your body really wants. When you have to have a hamburger, do you really need more iron or are you stuck in old patterns? Do you really need the afternoon ice cream cone or Starbucks coffee or are you just running yourself ragged and need a pick me up? Do you really need that chocolate bar or do you just need to lower your stress and give your body more rest and relaxation?

Try these tips next time you have a craving:

– Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes. Try to close your eyes and breathe deeply for a minute and ask what it is that you want.

– Desconstruct your craving and eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you are craving sweets, before you succumb to your craving try to eat some rich, creamy yogurt, a banana or add more sweet or root vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes to your diet.

– What is out of balance in your life? Are you stressed and reaching for food out of comfort, routine or boredom? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving? If you just have to have your afternoon latte, are you running at too fast a pace and need to slow down? Are you getting enough rest and sleep? Take the time to really think about your life and what you need to feel more in balance.
– When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it but take notice of how you feel afterwards. Do you feel better or worse after you eat it? If you have been craving a steak, for example, and have one and feel better then perhaps you need to add more iron-rich leafy greens to your diet such as spinach, broccoli or kale or perhaps you just needed that burger. If you feel worse, however, then realize that this was just a craving and make a different choice the next time.