Friday, August 27, 2010
Lunch Revolution Blog Party and Faith's Little Chickie Bento
I'm linking this post up to the Lunch Revolution Blog Party, hosted by Notes from the Cookie Jar and Fed Up with School Lunch, so you'll get a little more of me chatting than a normal lunch post. The picture is a bit below with the details just below that if you are just wanting to see that part. :o)
Why link up? Well, both of these ladies are lovely Twitter friends of mine and they've let me guest post on their blogs, which is always pretty cool. But more so, they both have vested interest in improving food, school lunches and health for kids. Fed Up with Lunch features a teacher eating school lunch daily with her students to raise awareness of what kids are being fed at school. Look at the pictures, it's not pretty, and I certainly wouldn't have volunteered to eat it alongside the kids. Notes from the Cookie Jar hosts Food Revolution Fridays as well as her family's Food Revolution Road Trip this past summer, and now is heading into a year using as little processed food as possible. (I would have failed the Food Revolution Road Trip, we stopped often for clean restrooms and Diet Coke.)
Now where this all fits in with my blog? Well, I wanted to participate and told the ladies I would. :o) And, I think the idea of bento lunches fits very well with both ideas. It doesn't have to be fancy, the basic principles of little bites of lots of items and a good variety fit in really well with better lunches. Add in a bunch of bright colors (which tend to be fresh fruits & veggies) and you've got a much healthier and probably less processed carb meals than some of the interesting nugget/fry/corn combos posted on Fed up with Lunch.
Looking at a pretty typical lunch for my kids, it's not all homemade, organic, grown from scratch in my backyard type foods. Trust me, the kids would starve if that was the case--our zucchini died from the heat and the stupid bunnies keep eating my tomatoes. Our weekly groceries are purchased at a combo of Kroger, Aldi, and Sprouts, and occasionally at SuperTarget because it's the closest in an emergency. I also shop sales (produce is a big one, produce of the week at home is based on what is on sale that week, this week Sprouts had cantaloupe for 19cent/lb and honeydew for 99cent/melon, that's the fruit o' the week!), but can't be bothered with coupons unless someone hands me the specific ones for items I already buy.
I try to buy the healthiER versions when possible. Why an "ER"? Because it's not all homemade, organic, green, harvested by kumbaya-singing persons. We've made a lot of changes in the house overall, and if I can make an easy, cost-effective change, I will. We've tried more homemade healthiER dessert items (if sweet potato tastes like pumpkin, why not make mini cupcakes out of it?), making our own jams or buying versions that are made with real fruit as the first ingredient & minimal other ingredients. Ketchup is HFCS free now(thank you Hunts!!!), BBQ sauce will be as soon as I use out the ones I already have in the pantry. When the Annie's brand Mac&Cheese went on sale for $1 box, I stocked up. It's an emergency meal and great for pasta salads on the quick. I've also got everyone in the house on whole grain breads too. If you're in an area that sells Nature's Own, I highly recommend it. I switched everyone to White-Wheat first, then Honey-Wheat and Whole Wheat, now we're mostly on the Multigrain Sandwich Rounds.
Onto the lunch, this was a Faith lunch from the other day.
Taking a closer look, she has:
1.Two mini whole wheat pitas (Toufayan brand from Kroger, whole wheat, HFCS free) stuffed with homemade chicken salad. I used boneless chicken tenders and cooked then in a bit of chicken broth on low in the crockpot all day. I shredded them in my mini chopper, and mixed in a bit of mayo and a bit of ranch for flavor. I don't remember offhand which mayo/ranch I used, but I've gotten in the habit of reading the labels for healthiER versions, so a couple of teaspoons in the whole salad are not going to kill anyone.
2.A cheese chickie decoration - it's a mini cookie cutter that is sitting on a mini pita, so you know it's not that big. It's orange cheddar with a white cheddar wing and a single sugar eye for decoration. Regular cheese actually works better than processed cheese for decorating anyhow.
3. Several baby carrots (no dressing, just the carrots).
4. Green grapes, cut in half
5. Ripe strawberry, with another cute little chicken pick
6. 3-4 animal crackers (no idea what brand, something from Canada that my mom sent back with the kids)
Cute, pretty healthy, minimal treats, but lots of yummy foods, and it really didn't take more than a minute or two extra to present it in a cute box than to put it all in baggies, assuming one was making a lunch no matter what.