Packing A Lunch For School

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:

It is important for children to avoid the typical school lunch of luncheon meats and cheese. Typical school lunches are greasy, salty, and of poor nutritional quality. Lots of the great-tasting, healthful recipes in this chapter include soups, puddings, and salads, so make sure you have a small container with a tight lid that your child can open and bring back home in his or her knapsack or book bag daily. Kids like soup cold, even when not a school, so you don’t have to worry about rewarming it. If you child doesn’t bring home the containers you may want to buy some small disposable plastic ones.

Some children are happy to eat healthfully, but when it comes to school lunch they don’t want to look different from the other kids. Packing fresh fruit and a healthy bread with some nut butter and unsweetened fruit spread can be a quick option. My children love raw cashew nut butter. If using peanut butter, purchase a brand without salt and other additives. My daughters also like to take peeled orange or apple slices with their lunch. We cut the apple into four sections around the core, most of the way through, keeping the apple intact, and then wrap it in silver foil. This way it stays fresh, without discoloration, and they can easily separate it into slices.

Whole-wheat pita pockets are a great option for a bag lunch. Any of your child’s favorite healthy salad dressings can be used to line the pita, which is then stuffed with a slice of tomato and salad. You can fill them with almost anything, including dinner leftovers, bean and mushroom burgers, salad, avocado hummus, rice, potato salad, or fruit. Many of the recipes below can be used as is or stuffed into a while-wheat pita and wrapped in foil. My kids love avocado, tomato, and shredded lettuce with the Hot Russian Dressing (recipe below) stuffed into pita. If making pitas or sandwiches with sprouts and tomatoes, make a great healthy spread by mashing avocado with some mustard. Always pack some fruit with their lunch—add some cut-up pineapple, a peeled orange, a banana, or any fruit in season.
  • Hot Russian Dressing
1 small (4-ounce) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons raw almond butter
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ cup soy milk
3 tablespoons ketchup
Blend all ingredients together. Works well as a sauce for steamed leafy greens; as a condiment spread for lettuce, tomato, and avocado pita pocket sandwiches; and as a salad dressing. Serves 4-6.
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Comments (10) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Nicole - August 8, 2006 12:48 PM

Do you have a calorie count for this? Using a recipe analyzer, I came up with 71 calories for 2.4 Tablespoons. That seems like alot.

Kira - August 8, 2006 5:04 PM

That does seem high.... but I think almond butter is pretty caloric. I am going to go check at NATS (Nutrition Analysis Tool) and see.

Sue - August 9, 2006 5:03 PM

If a child is eating a healthy diet consisting primarily of whole foods, I don't think counting the calories and fat of almond butter is necessary.

Bobbie - August 9, 2006 8:54 PM

Children do need extra fat calories from whole food sources like avacado, nuts, soy, etc. because their brains are developing and this growth is dependent on dietary fats. Severely restricting fat in a child's diet can have damaging effects on brain development. As long as the diet is whole-foods centered, as Sue says, counting calories is not necessary.

deva - August 10, 2006 11:16 PM

i think that 71 calories is pretty good for 2 tbsp... considering that most commercial dressings are 120 calories or more for the same serving size

Matthew - August 11, 2006 7:11 AM

I think Nicole was counting calories because she wanted to try the dressing for herself. I do agree with you though, I don't think counting calories is the way to go when already choosing whole foods. Good thing too, since that dressing sounds really good, so I ought to make it soon! : )

Natalie - August 11, 2006 4:50 PM

heyy there! i have a question about the protein- i used to be a toaly carnivore but then i just lost intrest when i noticed how cruel it could be-but meat has lots of protien- how do i get the same intake of protien from these foods?

Ness - August 14, 2006 11:14 PM

Natalie, you do not need the same amount of protein as is in meat most likely. Your body can't even use it all anyway and protein is really in so many foods that you do not need to worry. Some good vegan sources are nuts, beans, seeds, grains, tofu, soymilk----quinoa and amaranth are good protein sources. Seitan is packed with protein. I am not totally veg, but I do know that protein fears should not hold us back.

Tina - August 20, 2006 11:08 AM

Almost all plant food has protein, so you don't need to worry about it. In western societies, we only see protein deficiency in anorexics. Most Americans get WAY too much protein!

jen - September 9, 2006 7:33 PM

i am curious about non-meat non-nut alternatives for lunch... i hate sending lunch meats, and the school's cafeteria is no-nuts (due to some extreme alergies) I am also on a Very tight budget, and my son is a bit pickey... i thought about beans, but i am not sure how to "disguise" them so he wont cringe...
any ideas on what to send him to school with?

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