Tag Archives: lunch

Lunch Log, 2nd Edition

4 Apr

A few years ago, after a conversation between Sophie and her cousin Grace, we realized that when it comes to lunch, someone else’s always looks better.  To help the girls keep track of what they liked about their own lunch, and what they spied in someone else’s lunch that looked particularly tasty, we created The Lunch Log.  Like every great worksheet project, they used it for awhile until it lost its luster.  Over the past two years, we’ve pulled it out and used it occasionally, usually when the lunch whining became particularly strong.

Recently, we’ve been talking about tracking food again, but this time for a different purpose.  For quite some time, Sophie has had stomachaches, and we can’t quite figure out what is causing her trouble.  We’ve tried adding more of certain foods into her diet, cut back on other things, and encouraged her to drink lots of water.  Some days are definitely better than others, but we’re not seeing consistent results.  In conversations with friends, I know that there are lots of families who are having similar experiences.  It’s easy to spot the connection between what you eat and how you feel, but identifying foods that are causing trouble takes some time and diligence.  It is a slow and tedious process.

Fact: There may be a direct connection between stomachache reduction and worksheet completion.*

*Totally not a fact.

While no worksheet has been scientifically proven to cure stomachaches, tracking what you eat and noting how you feel after doing so can certainly help to make the connections between food and the way your body feels.  By writing it all down, we’re reducing some of the mystery and giving us the tools we’ll need to pay attention and find patterns.

Tracking is easy – simply complete the worksheet after each meal.  If your child is a pretty good reader and writer, let them do the writing and add details as needed.  At the end of the day, use the Recap section as a way to identify whether there was enough variety in the foods consumed to provide the nutrients needed for wellness and growth.  Overall, the goal is to create an awareness between what you eat and how you feel, so don’t worry too much about 100% accuracy.  Unless 100% accuracy is very important to you, in which case I apologize that I’m using LUNCH to represent ALL FOOD CONSUMED REGARDLESS OF THE TIME OF DAY.

lunch log_diagram_v2_Page_2

Items you will need:
• Mini binder (holds 5.5” x 8.5” sized pages)
• Adjustable 3-hole punch or hand-held paper punch
• Scissors or paper cutter
• Pencil
• Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
• Printed cover and inside pages (see links below)

Print it:
Lunch Log, 2nd Edition – Lunch Log Cover, Instructions, Inside Pages
Lunch Log, 2nd Edition – Inside Pages Only

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Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

8 Nov

A few years ago I went through a Squash Soup phase that was so prolific that it has taken me that long to want to eat it again.  Although it has taken awhile, I’m glad that my hunger for it is back because it is one of my favorite fall foods.  Squash soup is such a great way make the transition from summer produce into fall foods – it is healthy, hearty but low in calories, and full of vegetable goodness.  While I love a good soup, I also love feeling like I’m eating a lot at lunch.  Sometimes if I ONLY have soup with nothing else, I find myself snacking practically before I’m done doing the dishes.

Today I balanced the healthy soup with a side of crunchy baguette topped with the creamy goodness of goat cheese.  Not wanting to blow a bunch of calories with too much bread OR cheese, I mixed the goat cheese with mustard to give it a boost of flavor, and spread it on the bread.  After a light toasting, the result was a perfect complement to the slightly chunky soup.

Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1 c. soup, quarter baguette

SOUP
1 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 c. chicken stock
3 c. butternut squash, roasted and slightly mashed
2 T. fat-free sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

CROSTINI
1 small baguette (approx. 7-8 oz.)
2 oz. goat cheese
2 T. dijon mustard
2 T. water
1 t. chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cook until transluscent.  Add chicken stock and squash.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low for 10 minutes.  Using a hand blender, puree slightly so that it thickens but is not yet smooth.  Add sour cream and stir until well combined.

While the soup is cooking, cut the baguette lengthwise and into quarters, for a total of eight pieces.  In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, mustard, water and chives until smooth.  Spread about a teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture onto each baguette.  Place in oven and heat for 5 minutes.

Serve soup with two crostini.

Estimated Calories:  285 cal/serving

Print it: Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

Notes:
– Since Sophie swears she hates squash, I decided not to bother making this recipe non-dairy.  In this recipe I used fat-free sour cream, but I’ve also used dairy-free sour cream with great results (adds about 15 calories per serving).
– You can use any kind of squash you like, I just happen to like the flavor and texture of butternut.  A single butternut squash contains about 3 c. worth of squash, but a little more or less won’t make much of a difference.
– If you choose to just make the soup and omit the crostini, one cup of soup is only 110 calories per serving.
– When I made this soup, I had already roasted the squash.  If you haven’t, and you don’t know just what to do, see Related Recipe below.  Super easy.

Related Recipe: Roasting a Butternut Squash
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
– Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out all of the seeds and guts.
– Place the squash open side down on a baking sheet and bake until tender, usually around 45-60 minutes.  You’ll know it is done when you can poke it with a fork or knife.
– Remove from oven and flip open side up to cool for about 30 minutes.
– Scoop out all of the insides and either smash with a fork or puree until it reaches desired consistency.
– Squash can be used immediately or placed in baggies and frozen.

Lunch Log

5 Aug

This week, we had a conversation about packing school lunches that went something like this:

Grace: My mom packs peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day.
Sophie: Mmmm, that sounds good.  My mom packs different stuff every day.
Grace:  Mmmm, I love different stuff.

The lesson to learn from this exchange is this: Someone else’s mother always makes the best lunch.  So, what’s a kid to do about it? Get a new mother?  Unlikely.  Hire a personal chef?  Fat chance.  Eat Lunchables every day?  Nice try.

Lunch Log
Write it down! Keeping track of what is packed and consumed can help kids to learn more about their own eating habits, the foods that appeal to them, and helps to them to start to understand what they need to consume in order to be strong and healthy.  It also gives them a way to tell you about the foods they love, the foods you should stop packing because they end up in the trash every day, and the good loot that other kids get in their lunchbags. 

The Lunch Log provides you and your child with a way summarize and talk about the contents of each day’s lunch.  The top section includes the very basics – the date, who packed the lunch, an area to list the contents, and a box for drawing/photos/diagrams.  Younger kids can focus on drawing the contents of their lunch and add words as they become more proficient writers.  Older kids might use this space to create food collages, write recipes used to create an item in the lunch bag, or to paste a photo.  Much older kids can leave this space blank in protest of having to bring a lunch in the first place.

The middle section of the page focuses on nutrition and balance by using two simple concepts – vary the colors of your fruits and vegetables each day as a way to mix up the kinds of nutrients you consume, and try to pack something from each of the major food groups in each day’s lunch. 

The bottom section is where the kids get to let loose and tell you how you’re doing, and how much better someone else’s parent is at doing the same job.  You can use or ignore any of the comments in this section, but pay close attention to the last bit – it might give you some new ideas for lunchbag items.

Items you will need:
• Mini binder (holds 5.5” x 8.5” sized pages)
• Adjustable 3-hole punch or hand-held paper punch
• Scissors or paper cutter
• Pencil
• Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
• Tape or glue (optional)
• Printed cover and inside pages (see links below)

Printable Pages:
Cover, directions, and inside pages
Inside pages only