19 February 2011

Brown Bag lunches

Sometimes I get questions on what I feed Reece. Ever since he was little he's always had the same foods, or similar foods to what I eat. One of his first "whole" foods was actually sauerkraut. As my diet evolves, so does his.  I don't believe in feeding your children "special" foods. I do think that you allow your kid to become a picky eater. He isn't allowed to tell me that he doesn't like something before he tries it. You may have to introduce your kid to a food seven times before they like it. Yes, seven times. Sometimes that means reheating the same food at least twice. Reece is not a picky eater at all. In fact, he can be easily described as a "hearty" eater.

My personal philosophy on kid-rearing is that you need to treat them with respect like you would any other human being. This can be tough; I would like to elaborate on this more in another post.  This does mean that Reece is allowed his own opinion when it comes to food. I respect his opinions. Reece does not care for spicy foods. I love spicy foods. Usually I only cook anything spicy when I'm home alone. However, on occasion I cook something I want that is spicy but it's usually a compromise (and there are some spicy foods he likes).

I ask him if he thinks a dish needs something (Spice perhaps? More meat? Less broth? Cheese? A sauce? Butter?). My mom gets a kick out of his descriptions of food because he is so opinionated about it. He has told me that at certain restaurants he's "disappointed" in the food. I work to make his food experience better and I actively explain why certain foods are better for him. He is not to be rude when I cook something he doesn't like. After a meal if he doesn't care for it he simply says, "Mommy, that was ok for tonight but I would prefer if you didn't make it again." That's code for "I ate it, but I wasn't happy about it." I do also hear "I would love if you made that again, Mommy. That was awesome!" (i.e. Alfredo is is fav. right now.)

I don't always have time to make his lunch. I'm getting better about it, though. I like to put little notes in his lunch box to let him know I'm thinking about him too. The lunch and the note combined make for a nourishing meal for his body and his mind. I make a few different lunches for him. I like to rotate them because I don't want him eating the same thing every day. (How boring!) I do ask for feedback. (What did you eat first? What didn't you eat? Were you full? Is there something you would have liked to have?) I always want to know "why" for his answers. I hate the idea of him throwing away something or trading food. 

Ideas for his main course for lunch are:

Nacho salad (meat + cheese + sour cream + vegetable chips + lettuce and salsa mixed up)
Tuna salad (mayo + tuna + sardines) <- I would put spices but he doesn't want them
Crab salad (mayo + crab + spices)
Chicken salad – usually with a sliced fruit and crumbled nuts + mayo or dressing
Cheese + Meat, no crackers
Leftover soup
Here’s Reece’s favorite lunch:

Grassfed polish sausage (cooked and cut into little disks)
Homemade honey mustard -> really raw honey + deli style grey poupon stirred until mixed thoroughly (in a 1:2 ratio)

The raw honey gives him extra enzymes to boost his immune system and help digestion. Because the grassfed polish sausage is higher in fat + protein he does not have the wild blood sugar swings he would if he only ate honey on it’s own… Plus he’s just dipping it so he’s not eating a ton of honey. He really doesn’t care about the sides as much. Once he sees the polish sausage, he knows he’s in business.

The sides change too. But here’s some examples:
I give him at least 1 savory item in his lunch also. Examples of this are:

Cheese (usually raw from the farmer)
Vegetables and dip (not celery though… he dislikes celery)
Vegetable chips (usually with homemade dip)
Spiced nuts
Deviled eggs (although sometimes these are the actual meal if I put enough in there)
A small side salad + dressing (He loves this)
Savory mini doughnuts (I'll write a post about these later)
I've sent him bacon strips too. He likes that. (I do too.)

A few times a week I will give him 1 sweet treat (which is usually not really that sweet). Examples of this are:

Plain yogurt (organic always) + berries and nuts
Sweet almonds
Chocolate milk (from the farmer)
Homemade cookie
Grapes or another (low sugar) fruit
Apple + almond butter
A couple squares of dark chocolate

To drink usually I'll send him water, kefir smoothie, or  raw milk (which he loves). Over the next couple weeks I'm going to try fermenting more foods and sending him those too. He's been battling a more illnesses this year than in past years. It'd be good to boost his immunity now while he's overcoming some illnesses.
You get the idea, hopefully. It's pretty much what we have in the house. I usually make him his favorite lunch on Wednesdays... when I can. I try to make his lunches higher in carbs than I would eat (more vegetables, some fruit, and more dairy), because he doesn’t need to lose weight. He’s not using hormones to grow wide, his hormones are making him grow taller.** I feel he does better if it’s pretty balanced as far as leaning toward a lot of fat and more protein. He tells me he does better in class if he can think clearly. It's hard to concentrate in school (or life) if you're starving.

** I've noticed when he eats more home-cooked foods, gets CLO, and no gluten he grows. He's now up to my clavicle. I'm growing a giant. :D


  1. Do you have a good stainless steel thermos you send the hot lunch items in? I have a Thermos brand one and it does not keep the items hot for the 4-5 hours after I heat them on the stove in the morning. This is my biggest challenge when it comes to packing lunch.

  2. Love this post! Thanks for laying it out there. I agree that children become picky when adults cater to what they think children would want to eat. Really, kids will eat just about anything until grown-ups put a stigma on it!

    My 8 yo is a bit picky but we went through a patch of not eating well when he was about 4. I think that has shaped his tastes a lot and it's a long road back to whole, nourishing foods.

  3. YUM! What are sweet almonds?

  4. Hi Holly,
    Great blog! I couldn't agree more with your ideas about children and eating. My son is also a hearty eater. Then again, I didn't leave much room for the weird faces when trying something new. An open mind has always been a must. I too do not accept rude comments about food. He is certainly entitled to an opinion but not entitled to be hurtful. Consequently, I get lots of "this is sooo good mommy. You're the BEST cook in the whole world" followed by, "I'm full" with a plate half eaten when the above wasn't what he really thought. HAH! Gotta love it! If I mention that it's okay not to like it, he says, "Just because I don't like it doesn't mean I don't like you!" Well, anyway, I think it's an important aspect to learning about food, etiquette that is.
    I make his lunch everyday and like you, I do lean heavy on protein and fat for his growing brain and body. Children most certainly are NOT on a diet (from real food anyhow)!
    Keep up the great work mom and know you are not alone!

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with the philosophy of making kids try things and feeding them whole foods. However, I have four kids and while my first and third welcome whole foods, my second and fourth (the fourth is only 18 months old) have been picky since the day that solid foods were set in front of them. Of course, that doesn't mean that they get anything different from the rest of the family, it just means that mealtimes and snack times can be more of a battle with them, despite the table rules. All four have been offered the same foods and all four have varying degrees of responses. It's a fascinating study in human individuality! So, while I am 100% on-board with your house rules and what you feed your kids, I don't necessarily agree that parents are always the cause of picky eaters. Perhaps what you meant is that they perpetuate the problem by acquiescing to their children's refusal to try foods?

  6. Exactly! I am sure there are natural picky eaters out there. The children I've mostly come across are the ones where the parents bend to the child's will. My point was that I feel that if parents become "short-order cooks" they set a precedence.

    I do not envy your table wars. Maybe it will get easier as they get older.

  7. Sweet almonds are almonds roasted with raw honey or butter and some stevia (and usually cinnamon and vanilla). Occasionally I'll purchase some that are "dark chocolate roasted"... but I read Dana Carpenter's low-carb recipe books and figured it's pretty easy to roast your own roasted almonds. I probably could make "dark chocolate roasted" almonds too. (You could too!)