A Better Lunchbox – Week Three

This was a tough week. Sofie was eating pretty poorly. It made me wonder if eating at school with other kids was affecting her in a negative way, maybe there were too many distractions, maybe she was envious of the more snack like foods the other kids were getting with their lunches and so not interested in hers. But I finally figured it was simply due to her lingering cold…however, that understanding didn’t make it any less stressful and demoralizing for me. Stressful because it is so important for her to eat and at a minimum get the calories she needs each day. Demoralizing because it is hard to put love and effort into preparing food for someone only to have them not eat it. As you’ll see, it did affect what I put in her lunches. I wanted her lunches to be wholesome, but even more, I wanted her to actually eat them. And so you’ll see, snack foods entered this week – pretzels and cheese crackers. Funnily enough, even with those, she still didn’t eat much. It wasn’t until Thursday, when I cooked her a proper meal that she actually ate most of what I had packed. And to top it off, her teacher informed me that she had exclaimed about how yummy her lunch was! Most likely it was simply due to the fact that she was finally getting her appetite back…but I’ll let myself believe that is also had a little to do with my cooking. 

Monday 

The fresh English peas I used for this meal were so beautiful I had to include a picture. They are also so sweet, yet crisp and fresh tasting right out of the pod. We had gotten them just the day before at the farmer’s market.

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  1. Sausage fingers – sausage meat formed into small finger shapes for easy cooking and eating
  2. Pasta with goat and cream cheeses – whole wheat pasta sautéed for a minute with a little organic cream cheese and goat cheese
  3. Fresh English peas – from the farmer’s market
  4. Raspberries – organic from our Veggie CSA

Consumption: She didn’t eat much of anything. I think she wasn’t feeling well and just didn’t have an appetite.

Tuesday

I was getting a bit desperate since she didn’t eat much of anything at lunch or dinner the day before. I really wanted to be sure she’d eat something at lunch…and so we have variety, lots of favorites and even pretzels. I figured, she would at least eat them and the blueberries.

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  1. Pan seared pork chop – think cut boneless pork chops, pounded to tenderize, then dusted with garlic salt and then pan seared with a little olive oil. 
  2. Pretzels
  3. Carrots – organic, steamed
  4. Edamame – organic, steamed and lightly salted
  5. Blueberries – organic and local

Consumption: She ate a few pretzels and the blueberries. She clearly still didn’t have her appetite back.

Wednesday

Still desperate to have Sofie actually eat enough for a meal.

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  1. Sausage meatballs – sausage meat formed into bit sized meatballs then pan fried
  2. Edamame – organic, steamed and lightly salted
  3. Red pepper – organic
  4. Brown rice cake – organic
  5. Cheese crackers – organic

Consumption: She only ate one piece of rice cake and some of the crackers…and then one sausage ball when I asked her to since I got to school while she still had her lunch out.

Thursday

Sofie was in a bit of a mood this morning so I did not manage to take a photo of her assembled lunch. It was the first time we were almost late for school, and I really don’t like being late.

I’ve included a shot of some of the leftovers of the chicken and spinach fry I sent her to school with. It is a simple, flavorful dish which I love to give her since the combination and form mixed with rice means she gets protein, vegetable and starch in every bite. Especially good this week since she hasn’t been eating as many veggies as she should due to her cold. I cook the chicken and spinach together and set it aside. I like to keep the mixture, separate from the rice until it is time to get the meal ready. That way you can always combined it with fresher rice, since rice tends to get dry and less appealing more quickly in than the chicken and spinach which lasts a few days in the fridge.  IMG_6344

  1. Chicken & spinach stir-fry with rice – seasoned ground chicken sautéed with shallots and garlic with chopped fresh organic spinach mixed in for the last 2 minutes. Served with rice.  This meal should be served warm, so I filled a Foggo wide mouth thermos with boiling water to warm it up first. Then I mixed some of the chicken and spinach with rice I had made the night before, warmed it all up in the microwave, gave it another mix and popped it into the thermos to stay warm until lunch. Her school will microwave lunches, but I don’t want to send her to school with glass and I don’t want to microwave plastic. Pre-warming the food and keeping it in the warmed thermos seems to work well.
  2. Grapes and apple slices – both from our fruit CSA

Consumption: Finally, Sofie ate a great lunch. She ate almost all of her rice dish and half of the grapes and apple slices.

Friday 

How could you resist eating rice balls with those cute faces? I can’t help but smile every time I see them. They are pretty easy to make too. Last night I filled my rice cooker with rice and water and set the timer so there would be fresh rice by the time I woke up. It was the first time we used the timer and it worked out beautifully – we have an awesome rice cooker. I was able to make the rice balls, let them chill for a few minutes in the fridge to set up and then decorate them with nori cuts outs. The cut outs are simple too with the right tools, i.e. nori punches.

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  1. Chicken fingers – chicken dipped in organic milk, coated in seasoned whole wheat flour and then cooked in a frying pan in olive oil.
  2. Rice balls with nori faces – organic cooked rice shaped with a rice mold and then decorated with nori cut outs
  3. Carrots – organic, steamed
  4. Blueberries – organic

Consumption: She ate all of the rice, and told me proudly that she had when I picked her up. She also ate all of the berries, one bite of carrot and one bite of chicken. From where we started the week, this is a big improvement.

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