I’ve been paleo-ish for several years now. This looks like mostly meat, eggs, veggies, fruits, and other whole foods. We have a freezer full of elk and grass-fed beef. We cook 95% of our meals at home so they are almost 100% paleo, except I can’t seem to give up dairy. I’m a bit embarrassed that our cheese drawer was actually overflowing after I went shopping. Oops. I don’t worry too much because no one in our family displays any dairy intolerance so I don’t see too much harm in it. (Yes, I know, I know, I would be happy to debate this point and you are probably right, it’s not great, but I’m trying!)
Today I got on a cooking kick and made several paleo-ish dishes for the freezer, not only for the holidays, but to practice on some bulk snack ideas. Currently the 3 kiddos that are in school are eating school lunch. They seem to like it (probably because they can fill up on cheap bready goodness), it’s not super expensive and I haven’t had the time or energy to focus on figuring out how to mass produce lunch box meals. There was a year that I did that, and eventually the kids came home with uneaten lunches. Between that and including a pre-packaged snack bar, it was cheaper to pay for school lunch.
I am determined to figure out a way over Christmas break to start making lunches again, that are healthy, actually eaten, and cheaper, and in a way I can whip them together in only a few minutes each night. I can start to make my partner’s as well. Hopefully making 4 lunches at a time will be a money savings. Within 4 years we will have all 5 kids in school and an adult bringing a lunch to work, so I think that it will be worth it. Right now we are paying at least $150 per month for school lunch. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but seeing as our entire grocery bill for the month is under $1000, it is a chunk!
Today I whipped up a feta-artichoke-pepper egg casserole, 2 spinach quiches, paleo granola bars, jello squares made with grape juice, sour gummies, and, lest you think we are all perfect over here, good old regular sugar cookies. (Hey, don’t judge! We got a kit from a friend). The feta-artichoke-pepper egg dish smells AMAZING! (Thanks http://www.skinnytaste.com). We experimented with the sour-gummies (recipe from http://www.mommypotamus.com/homemade-gummy-stars/), making lime, lemon and orange. Surprisingly the lime were such a hit, it actually caused a toddler riot! Whoa. These little treats are good because they are made with natural gelatin, which is great for healthy guts and protecting them from food sensitivities. The gut is where many hormones are made, including serotonin and also where most of your immune system starts.
Coming up with a big master list of lunch box ideas is where I am starting. We are OK at also doing a routine shopping trip on the same day each week, getting everything necessary for all meals planned. I know, this sounds pretty organized coming from me but if I don’t stay on top of it, I melt into a useless blob of mommy-ness very quickly. I go from super efficient wonder woman to sobbing mess by 5 if I haven’t planned the meal nor have the ingredients necessary. A week for me is just enough planning that it doesn’t seem too overwhelming but it’s enough to cruise through the week and not be tempted to order out or grab fast food on the way home from a hockey or gymnastics practice. The other big must is small reusable containers or my favorite, bento boxes. Bento boxes are usually rectangular flat boxes that have dividers in them, with a lid that seals and keeps the foods separate.
The hardest part about sending a paleo lunch with the kids is that now nuts and peanuts are banned in all lunches, which I totally understand as I have a couple family members severely allergic, but it does put a pretty big dent in the paleo snack factor choices. The great thing about the interwebs now is how many recipes are out there, and I’m starting to find ones addressing this common mommy-problem.
I’ll keep you updated on my experimentation of the-pickiest-kids-on-the-planet-approved paleo lunch and snack ideas in the new year! I’m hoping it will be an improvement on their health and our wallet! Wish me luck!