Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Down with the Lunchable!

You may also enjoy my most recent Lunchables post

You may remember my post on my Tutoring from the Heart Facebook page a year ago about how to make your own lunchables for your children.  I shall expand on that here.  The video of Emmett from last year is the most viewed YouTube video I have posted to date.  You can find it below, along with a new video Emmett just made a couple of weeks ago about his current lunchable situation.  It is quite comical.  He was so happy about the Babybel cheese in the casing that he had to demonstrate it. 

Before I continue, let me offer an explanation as to why I am so obsessed with having happy and healthy eaters in my house (besides the obvious reason that I want them to be healthy and develop good eating habits).  I RARELY eat a meal with another adult.  I NEED sanity and fun when I am feeding my children since the alternative could quite possibly mean that I would need to be spoon fed meals in a special home for mom's who have had one to many meals with children under the age of 6.  I can see the homemade quilt over my lap now.  It feels so comforting.  I am looking out the window.  I hear birds chirping.

Here is an example of why I long to eat meals with adults.  Tonight at dinner, Emmett showed Carmen how he could kneel on the floor and strategically suck up a lone piece of spaghetti that was hanging off of his plate.  I am looking out the window.  I hear birds chirping.

And, we shall never forget the time a few years ago when Carmen was potty training.  You know where this is going, right?  We were "enjoying" our meal (whatever that means!) and we hear a peculiar noise.  We listened for several seconds to see if we could identify the sound.  Carmen says matter-of-factly, "I'm peeing".  Yes, and now, thanks to Carmen's candid forthrightness, I have no trouble identifying the noise.  Emmett tried to get down from his chair to get away from her, but he stepped in the pee on his way down.  Hence, meal time is over and the real fun up.  I am looking out the window.  I hear birds chirping.

I imagine that is sufficient explanation of how invested I am in this lunchable thing.  

Moving on...

I found a good article about the original Lunchable from another blogger.  You can read it HERE.  The ingredients and nutrition information alone are worth looking at.  I was so appalled at my students bringing these things to school when I realized the sodium content alone was through the roof! 

Last year,  I decided I owed it to my children to get creative and not fall prey to all the marketing to busy, tired, and over-scheduled families. 

So here are some ideas and tips to remember if you'd like to try the homemade, healthier version of the lunchable:

  • Definitely choose fun lunch tupperware.  The more compartments the better.  As you can see in the pics, I use Bento boxes and tupperware.  Changing it up from time to time keeps things new and fun. 
  • Making your own lunchable saves you money because you don't have to buy the more expensive individually packaged snacks and lunch items.  For example, I buy canned fruit and applesauce instead of the single serving packages.  Buy a block of cheese and cut it into whatever shapes and sizes you need to fit into your containers. 
  • Buy holiday candy on markdown for the small treat that you may include.  For example, I just purchased Valentine small chocolate hearts. Mini marshmallows go a LONG way...with my children anyway!  They LOVE marshmallows. I bought a big bag of strawberry heart mini marshmallows and I put 4 or 5 at a time in their lunchable.  
  • When building your lunchable, use the food groups as a guide.  Think protein, grain, fruit, dairy and dessert.  
  • Think of using different utensils.  For example, at dinner tonight, we had little meatballs. I dug out the toothpicks and Emmett had a blast using the toothpicks to eat his meatballs.  John was just fascinated with the toothpick and wanted to watch ME eat the meatball off of the toothpick.  He put the toothpick in his mouth, but there was no meatball on it.  Well, you can't win 'em all!  
  • Last but not least, involve your child in the process.  Look at nutrition information, labels, food groups and the like.  The other night at dinner, I realized I had no protein for the meal.  I said, "we are going to play, Guess the Missing Food Group!".  I turned it into a game.  When they guessed correctly that protein (or dairy) was missing, I gave handed them each a Baby Belle cheese to go with dinner.  To them it was a prize, and to me it was protein. 
Here are some ideas for what to include in your lunchable:
  • Dairy-  Babybel cheese and REAL yogurt, not all the artificially flavored and colored junk that is marketed to picky eaters (remember to buy the bigger containers as it saves money and you will be delving it out into little compartments or tupperware cups).  I was just looking up Babybel cheese and found an adorable idea here!
  • Grains-  Crackers, wheat bread cut up into fun shapes with cookie or biscuit cutters.  
  • Protein-  Hard boiled eggs, lunch meat cut  up into little circles like the lunchable or other fun shapes, hot dogs
  • Vegetable-  fresh vegetables and dippers are fun.  My children like carrots, green beans, red, yellow and green peppers, cucumbers and the like.  The point is to make it fun.  Emmett, for example, loves pureed carrots.  Try preparing the veggies in a different or unconventional way sometime and they just may eat them.  A healthy way to include a choice in the grocery store is to ask, "what color peppers would you like?"  This way, you are in control over the veggies, but the child has input, as well.  

Remember...It's all in the presentation and the containers!!  Sometimes just giving them the same food in a different way is what does the trick.  

Above you will see the newest edition of the homemade lunchable video.  My how he's grown.

Here is Emmett's video from last year where he explains the homemade lunchable for the first time.

John has joined the ranks of the lunchable crew.  This is the children just a few days ago eating their lunch.

Ah, little Emmett and Carmen one year ago with their first lunchables.  So proud that Mommy made their lunches with tender loving care. :)

You may also enjoy my most recent Lunchables post

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