Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to Basics -Brown Bag Lunches

It's Tuesday, and time to chat about the basics
we've seemed to ignore as life has progressed.
Let's challenge ourselves to incorporate
 some of the basics back into our daily living.

Today's basic is all about...
Brown Bag Lunches

1. Choose simple, easily digested foods.

2. Have at least one vegetable and/or one fruit in the lunch.

3. Do not give valuable space to foods that do not serve your primary dietary needs.

4. Practice economy...Get the most in good health and body needs for your money.

5. Wrap / contain each article of food separately and place in an insulated bag.

LittleGirl's lunch bag...hey, it's brown! ☺
6.  Ice packs help maintain a safe temperature.

Try my IcePack Cover tutorial w/ Love Note Pocket!
7.  Use a thermos with a tight seal for beverages.

8.  Don't forget the silverware and napkins! Use the 'real' stuff...easy to wash up and re-use.

With the basics known, comes the question, "What should I pack? I need suggestions!"  These are ideas that have worked for us. While there are fabulous ideas for tortillas, tofu, and sushi in a kid's lunch, we've found we're less sophisticated in our palate. Sandwiches seem to make up the majority of LittleGirl's brown bag lunches.

1. Sandwiches - easy to prepare, and easy to carry
    Use good bread. And I know it sounds crazy; however, day-old bread works better for brown bag lunches than fresh, soft bread. No soggy sandwiches! Ideas for sandwiches...
  • Peanut butter - a staple in many kid-friendly diets. ☺
  • Chopped egg - with a dab of mayo and some horseradish for a little zing!
  • Meat - as long as you can keep it chilled
  • Cheese - my kids like their cheese sandwiches with mustard ☺
  • Bacon w/shredded lettuce and mayo - yum!

2. Fruits and Veggies
Lunch needs a fruit and/or veggie. It would be boring without these! While fresh fruit and vegetables are best, canned is a good substitute. Ideas for fruits and veggies...
  • Orange
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Canned - Pears, Peaches packed in lite juice
  • Chopped veggies - Carrots, peppers, celery
  • Lettuce and spinach, shredded for easy consumption served with a bit of dressing.
3. Sweets
We're all about sweets in moderation. We believe a small sweet rounds out the meal. ☺ Ideas for sweets...
  • Cookies - Oatmeal and Snickerdoodles are a favorite for us!
  • Cake - Dense cakes pack best...think Spice Cake, Pound Cake, Carrot Cake
  • Pudding - Tapioca, Butterscotch, Vanilla...all easily prepared the night before school
4.  Beverage
Milk is the obvious choice. Kids need calcium. We've found packing our own milk ensures LittleGirl gets a wholesome beverage. We don't have to worry she'll be choosing the "Chocolate" and sugary option if she were to purchase milk at school. ☺ Other beverage ideas...
  • Water
  • Decaf Tea

Now you have the basics for brown bagging your lunch!

What is your favorite brown bag lunch?
Why do you love it?

Happy Tuesday!

Linking up with...

With the new school year looming ahead, my mind has turned to the Brown Bag Lunch. LittleGirl rarely eats a school-provided lunch. (Soapbox Moment...I've seen the lunch. Um, yuck-o. I wouldn't eat the pale, greasy food from the school lunch. Why subject my child to it?...Soapbox Moment complete).

There is an interesting chapter in Everyday Foods, a home economics textbook from 1944, regarding the brown bag lunch. It provides some commonsense advice that I find is still relevant today. Some excerpts from the book regarding suggestions for pleasing bag lunches:

p. 223 - From the standpoint of health, the school lunch is no more important than any other meal, but it is more difficult to provide the right foods for this meal and to serve it in a wholesome setting.

p. 225 - A growing body needs more building materials than an adult body needs.

p. 230 - Do not try to have many kinds of food in one lunch. Including too many foods in one lunch makes it difficult to have variety from day to day. 
Image from Emily in the Kitchen

With this in mind, how do we provide a wholesome lunch that is budget and kid-friendly? Here are the basics of brown bag lunches...

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