I am still waiting for the day that the boys come home from school and tell me how much they enjoyed their vegetables. Or, note the amazing flavor combinations that I so carefully put together.
I know that they enjoy eating my hidden vegetables in sauces, smoothies, tuna salad, meatballs or ground beef scrambles. But, put a bunch of vegetables by themselves and man, it’s like I am trying to poison them! Hilarious! Why is that? Now, this is not always consistent. At home, there are times that they will eat those obvious vegetables and there are times that a little bribery does the trick. (Yup, not afraid to do that at all!)
For this lunch, I tried something a little different. I used a new tortilla and had them build their own fajitas at school. Everything was cold because it all had to go in one lunchbox. I could not have hot chicken in the thermos and have ice packs for everything else. One option would be to carry the thermos separate but, if you have a six year old, you know that the simpler the task the better!
I DECIDED ON A REALLY YUMMY VEGGIE SAUTE using veggies from the garden supplemented with some great finds at the state farmer’s market. I piled them all in a large frying pan over medium heat with coconut oil. I did not sauté them in coconut oil because I knew they would be served cold. Coconut oil solidifies when cold so olive oil was a better choice here.
First, garlic from the farmer’s market.
Next a leek from the farmer’s market.
One adorable little beet from the garden.
Next, an equally cute little carrot from the garden.
Then some purple okra from the garden.
Red and green bell peppers, still warm from the sun.
A couple banana peppers from the garden.
Two perfect white eggplant from one amazing plant.
One gala apple from Whole Foods with some bad spots that I had to cut out. This was a great way to add a sweet flavor to the veggies.
All sautéed together, here is the finished product!
While I cooked the veggies, I baked two organic chicken breasts with a can of organic diced tomatoes in the oven at 350F for 40 minutes. I scraped off some of the tomatoes and added them to the veggie sauté.
I shredded the chicken and then added them to a bowl of raw chopped parsley and chives.
I chose raw because it was a unique texture and I wanted to see what the boys thought about this addition…I was hopeful!
I tossed the chicken with the herbs and this is the end result.
I splurged on these tortillas at Whole Foods (Thrive Market has a similar product) and cut them into triangles.
I shredded the cheese in my Vitamix from a block of raw milk sharp cheddar.
Their snack was a combination of nuts and fruit. I was a little more generous with their snack because I was pretty confident that they would not eat the chicken with parsley or the sautéed veggies at school. Sadly, they are still less than confident when it comes to eating complex food at home.
Cameron got soaked and roasted cashews with black olives. William got soaked and roasted pecans with black olives. Both boys had a fruit salad with organic gala apples, conventional green kiwi, lemon balm and mint with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Lemon balm, basil and mint are probably the most fabulous additions to fruit!!
I wish I would have taken pictures of how I used their leftovers. You know there were leftovers! I have some personal guidelines when it comes to school lunch leftovers from the boys…
SCHOOL LEFTOVER GUIDELINES>>>
There must be no visible evidence of them having eaten out of the container.
If they did eat out of the container, they must have used a utensil. (This automatically takes William out of the running as he strictly uses his hands.)
The food must be at the correct temperature…cold is still cold or warm is still warm.
Day one of leftovers all that Cameron and William ate at lunch were the tortillas and cheese. Their reason….they were afraid their buddies would say something about the veggies or parsley on the chicken. GRRRR!!! Poor guys! I told them that they can be the trendsetters and they should just tell their friends, “That’s not cool! This food makes me strong and super healthy.” It’s not clicking yet, but it will!
I repurposed the leftovers with: half of their chicken and vegetables became their snack when they came home and the other half became a side dish for their breakfast eggs. Day two, I moved the veggies to dinner and swapped in a fresh tomato with salt and pepper for lunch. They ate all of their lunch. Do you know why…because when they got home, they tried the chicken and liked how it tasted. That overruled their worries about their friends’ comments.
Don’t give up on real food. You are gifting your kids with an amazing start by modeling for them and cooking for them. Don’t be afraid to stay the course with real food. There are indisputable health benefits of eating real food. If you have a baby or a toddler, stick to it! Don’t cave in to giving them goldfish and Cheerios to pacify their tantrums. If you went that route but want to change. Don’t be afraid to try. Find some recipes or real, whole foods that they enjoy and start there. Build off of that and keep trying new foods.
I would love to hear from you about your favorite lunch box recipes!!