Monday, September 21, 2015

Yummy Lunch Club Sobeys' Cooking Event!-- Plan It! Pack It! Eat It!...


Coming off a week worth of daily challenges to breakout of the lunch box conundrum (Thinking Outside of the Sandwich Box, Make Once, Eat Twice, Creative Leftovers and Compartmentalize) has taught me some valuable lessons and a week of good eats for the kids:

- I packed my son's two favourite foods-- Caesar salad and imitation crab meat in a Crab Caesar Salad Wrap and it came back untouched. I couldn't understand since I made similar wraps in the past that he enjoyed. After questioning how he liked each of the components ie; was it too much garlic? texture? the new wrap lavash? I found out it was simply because the wrap was flavoured-- the sundried tomato taste did not agree with him, so I know to use plan whole wheat next time. It pays to break it down and do some sleuthing because often it could be just a small change to turn it around or your kids will be missing out on a lot of goodness!

- Bring your kids grocery shopping. Engage your kids in the kitchen to help prepare the food with you. This will give them a sense of ownership and pride, and more likelihood to eat it and enjoy it. 

- Get them to be creative with you and ask how they would serve leftovers differently. A fun bonding exercise over dinner, and one that puts them in the driver seat to eat leftovers again in a lunch they created.

- Serve foods your children already like and give them healthy options to build around their lunch and snacks.

- Have fun packing a bentou box. We eat with our eyes first and what a feast it is for the senses when the lid comes off. A great canvas to build together and go crazy with the themes. skies the limit...

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I think we all know kids are more likely to eat their school lunch if they helped to prepare it so let’s have fun teaching them how to do just that! Plan It! Pack It! Eat It!...

Toronto Food Revolution Day Ambassadors Carol Harrison, RD and Monika Strzalkowska are hosting a hands-on kids cooking class suitable for kids 7-12 years of age (along with an accompanying adult) on Saturday October 3rd at Sobeys in Mississauga. For more details and registration see here.


Photo Credit: Carol Harrison

Here is a new recipe updated on Yummy Lunch Club-- Veggie Cheese Muffin Frittatas. This is definitely a great and convenient recipe to stock in your freezer to make packing lunches easier. Busy homework nights are those nights you’d breathe a bit easier knowing you had a head start on lunches :). This recipe will be part of the hands-on cooking event. Come join us-- I will be there and I look forward to meeting/seeing you and your kid(s).

Veggie Cheese Muffin Frittatas

You may have read the story about my dreadful packed sandwich when I was in Middle School.  Well for fun, I shared my story and fielded out who could relate to my lunch bag woes growing up and I got some pretty good responses-- some lucky, some not so lucky... Enjoy!

Jay Greengrass: I made ours for the whole family from when I was 10, and it was either cheese sandwiches or processed sausage on white plastic bread. Yuck! I think that's the chief reason that as a parent I trawl the internet regularly to find good ideas for something quick and different for my kids' packed lunches (veg sticks, flatbreads, various homemade dips, soups in a flask, etc.)

Giuseppe Relleno from California, US: I had to take my lunch because all we had were vending machines. Since this was quite a few years ago, the standard lunch for me was a bologna sandwich on white bread (wheat bread did not exist), cheese sandwich on white bread, or a pimento cheese sandwich on white bread. I always had a thermos filled with milk or orange juice, and sometimes there was a homemade cookie thrown in as a surprise. I don't recall any fresh fruit of any kind.

Julie Ann Cockburn from Oregon, US: I often had cheese, crackers, and sliced summer sausage. I also remember those "Packable" brand lunches - sort of a highly processed, really bad tasting version of a bento box - again, a lot of cheese and crackers. I certainly had a lot of hot school lunches, too, although they didn't leave much of an impression.

What I remember most though was the horrific hamburgers they served when I was in elementary school. I still feel queasy when I think about them. They smelled terrible, were rubbery and thin and funky textured, and were served on white buns that stuck to the surface of the burger. Even as a kid, I thought they were horrible, and chose to just eat the French fries (which weren't very good, either) when that was the option of the day.

Shyamala Vishnumohan from Perth, Australia: Coming from a predominantly vegetarian background, I remember those days where Mum could not afford the highly priced veggies. So she packed a simple fried rice made using left over rice where she sautéed onion and tomatoes with cumin, ginger and turmeric. I find the simplest meals prepared with love is one of the healthiest and purest meals on earth!

Prachi Grover from Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Ok it is weird but I don't remember having a single lunch box that I didn't like. I should be calling up my mom this very minute and thanking her now that you've asked this!!!

Amy Baker Wambold, Arizona, US: I unfortunately am a product of hot school lunches. Lucky you Amy!

Mardi Michels, Toronto: I don't remember not enjoying my lunches that mum packed. Sure, they weren't the most innovative but they always included some kind of sandwich, fruit and a (mostly homemade) treat. I think it's easy to look back at what we were eating even 10 years ago and laugh or be horrified but think about how far our knowledge has come since we were all at school... I am sure if our parents knew what we did they might have made different choices.

And I think this one made me laugh the most-- I can't decide which of our tales is worse :): 
Karen Didier, Toronto:  I only had to start eating lunch at school when I hit Grade 8-- my Mom's favourite lunch for me was Wonder white bread spread with smoothly Kraft peanut butter and topped off with….wait for it…. a big hunk of iceberg lettuce.. she would put the second slice of bread on the sandwich and then smash it down with her hand to make sure it "stuck" together. Then it was then wrapped in waxed paper and put into that brown lunch bag! To this day no PB ever touches my lettuce and as for Wonder white, we split up!!!




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