Monday, September 15, 2008

The ABC’s of Back to School

Recently I’ve been to several gluten-free conventions and have had the pleasure to either instruct cooking classes or lecture on how to eat well on a gluten-free diet. Inevitably, simply due to the large number of children diagnosed with Celiac disease, the question arises about what to send with our Celiac kids to school. Through my own experience and, it appears to be the same for many other mothers, this tends to be more of an issue for us, mothers (and fathers) than it tends to be for our kids. My son is very forgiving about gf bread and is ecstatic about special treats like gluten-free cookies. In fact, he gets so excited about his food that he wants to share it with all of his friends. That said, he is also quite comfortable with his standard favorites (much like most kids are having boring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches 5 days a week!). I’m not sure if my child is just unusually relaxed about this or if this attitude is fairly common. We parents, I think, struggle so hard to have their lives be "normal" and wish their diets could be like every other "average" kid. But let’s face it — our kids are truly special — and I mean that in the most positive way.

If you are discouraged with school lunches, bag lunches and so forth, I’d like you to think about the positives this diet offers your children. Being on the gluten-free diet actually forces your children to eat healthier. All the processed junk food is now on the forbidden list, many fast food, pre-packaged ‘quick’ foods are also eliminated from their diet. Your children now can focus on eating wholesome foods, largely organic, in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables. Think about it — most "average" kids are consuming copious quantities of junk that their bodies simply do not need and could also benefit by eliminating these ‘empty’ foods from their diet.

So let’s talk about lunch and what your child can easily take to school and enjoy with pride. Here are some great tips for your child’s next ‘sack’ lunch:

Purchase small hot/cold containers that will hold a single portion. This way you can cook an extra serving or two for dinner and pack a hot lunch serving in your child’s lunch.

For some unknown reason, children who usually turn up their noses to hard-boiled eggs will eat a hard-boiled egg if it is any other color than white or brown. Color a dozen eggs and slip one into your child’s lunch as a colorful and nutritious surprise.

Cut up fresh vegetables and include a small sealable container of dip.

Make extra popcorn for an evening snack and mix some with nuts for a snack for lunch.

Print this calendar out and stick it on your fridge for great lunch ideas. Quick and easy meals your kids will enjoy every day of the week.

Week 1:















Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Gf Macaroni
& Cheese

Apple

Chocolate
Hazelnut Cookies

Celery Sticks w/Peanut Butter

Colored Hard-boiled Egg

Orange

Popcorn w/Nuts

Boar’s Head lunch meat wrapped around cheese sticks and pinned together with colorful toothpicks

Carrot Sticks

Grapes

Strawberry
Bread

Hormel Mini Salami or Pepperoni

Cheese Slices

Blue Diamond Nut thin Crackers

Banana

Strawberry
Bread

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (made with the Gluten Free Pantry’s Favorite Sandwich Bread mix)

Gf Corn Chips

Apple

Decadent
Brownies


Week 2:















Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

GF Spaghetti w/ Meatballs

Carrot Sticks

Grapes

Chocolate
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Polenta
Pizzas

Applesauce

Chocolate
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chili & Hot Dogs

Gf Corn Chips

Orange

Lemon
Blueberry Squares

Colored Hard-boiled Egg

Cheese Sticks

Carrot Sticks

Apple

Popcorn

Gf fruit flavored yogurt (transfer to a thermos to
keep cold) mixed with fresh fruit

Corn Chips

Grapes

Chocolate
Almond Biscotti


Week 3:















Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Apple
Waffle
Sandwiches with Peanut Butter & Jelly

Red Grapes

Chocolate
Chip Cookies

Beef
& Noodles

Cherry tomatoes

Popcorn w/Nuts

Chicken
Nuggets

Gf Chips

Grapes

Chocolate
Chip Cookies

Chili
Mac

Cheese Slices

Blue Diamond Nut thin Crackers

Banana

Carrot
Spice Muffins

Taquitos

Gf Corn Chips

Apple

Decadent
Brownies


Week 4:















Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

GF
Pasta with Herb Cheese

Carrot Sticks

Grapes

Orange
Polenta Cookies

Polenta
Pizzas

Applesauce

Snickerdoodle
Cookies

Gf Chili

Gf Corn Chips

Orange

Snickerdoodle
Cookies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (made with the Gluten Free Pantry’s Favorite Sandwich Bread mix)

Apple

Popcorn

Pizza
Macaroni

Corn Chips

Grapes

Orange
Polenta Cookies


These menu ideas are just that…’ideas’. Don’t break your back trying to make each and every thing on this calendar. But instead use the calendar as a idea place to vary your kid’s lunches and keep them excited about their food!

We hope you and your kids have a great school year!!!

1 comment:

Nikki & David Goldbeck said...

Here's another ABC of interest:
A new resource being use to improve kid’s nutritional status is a new book “The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond.” Out only a few months and already being bought in quantity for class use. I hope parents and teachers interested in getting kids to develop a friendly attitude towards fruits and vegetables should take a look at it.
It is designed for kids of all ages as it is two books in one – children first learn their alphabet through produce poems and then go on to hundreds of related activities. Coauthored by best-selling food writer David Goldbeck and Jim Henson writer Steve Charney. More at HealthyHighways.com