My friend Naomi Devlin has an amazing profile. Having trained in London at the London College of Homeopathy, Naomi practices as a homeopath and nutritionist.
In addition to this, Naomi is also the mastermind behind the Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free events which began back in 2008 on her blog, Straight Into Bed Cake Free and Dried. As if the Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free event wasn’t great enough, from September 2012 through September 2013, GAHIGF is going Primal! I cannot wait to see all of the grain-free goodness this stirs up!
Naomi’s Low Carb Lunchboxes are a wonderful way to round-out our Healthy Lunchbox Series. I am so pleased she joined us this year.
Thanks Naomi! xo
____________________________________________Low Carb LunchboxesOver the years we have experimented with varying amounts of carb in our diets and found that, like our primal ancestors, we thrive on lots of plants and animals.For me, one meal can so easily be replaced with another at any time of day. Soup for breakfast? Fried eggs for supper? Why not? I’m just happy to eat what I like, when I like. I am lucky to be able to eat most of my meals fresh from the kitchen.For Finn and Nick however, the issue of lunch-boxes can present some challenges. For Nick, how to eat well and not get bored, or how to eat a bowl full of leaves and dressing on the train back from London? For Finn, how to eat well and avoid the incredulous stares of your fellow students as you produce yet more green from your tiffin tin and eat yet another piece of succulent chicken thigh with the skin bronzed and intact.My solution is to offer a mixture of salads through the shoulder seasons and summer, with days that include sandwiches made from nut bread or pancakes or a slice of juicy frittata. Maybe some egg crepe rolls and dipping sauce or an impromptu cheesecake (recipe below).When colder weather descends, a wide mouthed flask is unbeatable for Finn. It can contain soup and stew that stay warm right until lunch – perfect for dipping a buttered almond pancake or two.In the winter, when I make lots of tray bakes, Nick will just fill a jar with a generous portion and heat it up at work. This is brilliant if you have the facilities. The key is to always overcook and freeze anything you’re not going to eat in the next 48 hours. Instant fast food!I offer you a selection of links for tasty low carb lunch boxes, that won’t raise your blood sugar or have you reaching for a snack bar mid afternoon. Have fun!Grain Free Breads (more on the sidebar)Pecan and Apple Bread is perfect for cheese or ham sandwiches, spread thickly with some soft butter or thick yogurt.Carrot Pulp Bread, uses the leftovers from juicing to make a nourishing loaf that’s pretty versatile.Banana Bread - for a sandwich that thinks it’s dessert, try a couple of slices of this sandwiched with cream cheese and some extra walnuts.Pancakes for Dipping and Rolling Stuff Up In
Almond Pancakes - delicious any way if you ask me. Ideal spread with some paté, thick yogurt or creme fraiche. Great buttered and dipped into a hearty soup in winter. Make a ton and freeze, for instant mini pizzas when covered with tomato sauce and cheese (not Heinz ketchup though!).Pea Pikelets - little fluffy drop scones made with mashed peas, basil and nuts. Can be made with any mashable vegetable and are great hot or cold.Egg Crepes - the ultimate low carb wrapper for anything you can think of!Savoury Treats
Aubergine Crostini - throw away the bread and replace it with a slice of griddled aubergine. Melanzane parmigiane – eat your heart out!Cheesy Crackers - sable, cheesy biscuits. Store them in a high place or they won’t last five minutes!Courgette Frittata - a succulent, savoury wedge that is totally satisfying. All it needs it a handful of greens to make it a meal.Fresh Chorizo Sausages - struggling to find sausages that aren’t full of preservatives and cheap meat? Try these little spicy numbers, delicious dipped into something cool and creamy.Salads
A Salad For All Seasons - you can’t go wrong with a big bowl full of salad for lunch. Pop it in a tiffin tin or tupperware, smothered in a delicious dressing, with some satisfying protein and maybe some seeds in there. Yum!Cucumber and Poppyseed Salad - cool cucumber, chilli, lime, soy and poppy seeds make this salad incredibly moreish. Great with some cold lamb, roast meat or egg crepe rolls.Carrotslaw - make with carrot or red cabbage depending on your taste. Use mayonnaise or yogurt, or creme fraiche. Great piled into a gem lettuce leaf with a slither of cold meat or salami.
For soups, stews and broths – check out my sidebar.Instant Lowish Carb CheesecakePer person:a small handful of raw or unsalted roasted nuts – pecan or hazelnut are the best IMHO.salted butter1/2 tsp raw honeytwo heaped dessert spoons of Greek or dripped yogurthalf a banana mashed or a small handful of berries lightly squishedIn a food processor, grind the nuts to a finish crumb. Add honey and enough butter to make damp crumbs that will press together into dough, but not so much that they are sticky.press into a dariole mould (or small tart tin, metal ring etc) lined with a scrap of baking parchment.Spoon in the fruit and top with yogurt.Chill for a couple of hours and then dig in! Can be semi frozen for an iced version or made in a small round tupperware for a portable dessert.
My friend Kate from Eat, Recycle, Repeat loves to help others. To her, food is about more than what we eat, it is how we treat the earth and thereby treat our bodies in the process.
I love her statement, “I believe that what we put into this earth directly affects and impacts our health, so I enjoy foods that are environmentally-conscious: sustainably-raised and harvested, free of pollutants and toxins, and mutually beneficial for individual and earthly well-being.”
Today, Kate takes her earth-friendly balanced lifestyle and applies it towards her Healthy Lunchbox, a beautiful lunchbox indeed.
Thanks, Kate! xo
Wherever I go, my personal belongings bulge with homemade herbal tea (de-caffeinated tea is a rarity in Japan), reusable water bottles, and a packed lunch or dinner. It’s a necessity in a country unfamiliar with food allergies. Even so, I find the small effort of packing a lunch every day is a great investment in future belly happiness, as well as peace of mind.
I’m only responsible for one person, though, but with three brothers and one sister, I can imagine what moms are going through if they have to pack many lunches. I spent a year packing lunches for my 9 year old brother, and while I’m no expert, I got a glimpse of the challenges of packing an allergy-friendly, kid-appealing lunch that will actually get eaten and not brought home barely nibbled on. I refused to pack lunches for my teenage brother, though, who was always running out the door in the morning with a banana and something else totally insufficient to quell his superhuman appetite. I tried to encourage him to pack as much of his lunch as possible in the evening, to avoid the morning rush.
Of course I’m not smart enough to follow my own advice, but I wake up early enough in the morning to get something prepared and get out the door with at least my hair combed, or at least in a ponytail! I have a few tools that can make packing a lot more efficient and enjoyable, but I’ve basically accepted that I am the food bag lady. Happy but unfashionable.
Set Yourself Up for Success:
- Make your lunch, or several parts of it, the night before. If you’re rushed in the mornings, you don’t want to add to the stress!
Use Some Great Tools:
- collapsible silicone lunch box
- re-usable snack pouches
- glass jars for layered salads
- bamboo utensil set
- reusable tea mugs, tumblers, and water bottles
Ever since I saw it on Pinterest, I’ve become a huge fan of salads in jars. This works best with sturdy vegetables that can be pre-packed and won’t bruise if prepared ahead of time. That way in the morning, you can grab a jar and go! When you want to eat it, you can add your favorite dressing and shake! It adds a little extra fun to your normal lunch routine.
This jar has cabbage, okra, cucumbers, and broccoli. I’d also love to add some pickled red onion in there. Sauerkraut would work well too if you didn’t have cabbage. The smaller jar contains some basil from my window garden, pureed with garlic & olive oil.
Another salad that I enjoy, and one that kids might enjoy too, is the salad in a boat idea. By hollowing out a cucumber, using a spoon to remove the seeds, you can fill in the middle with tuna salad or lunch meal slices (I prefer Applegate), and then cover with the other half of the cucumber to keep things relatively mess-free. You probably want to avoid tuna salad if your school or work is really hot or doesn’t have good refrigeration. But the sky is the limit for fillings! I imagine most sandwich filling ideas would work well here, except for PB & J!
Not Your Average Midwest Tuna Salad
Makes 2 servings
1 BPA-free can of tuna
1-2 Tbs olive oil
3-4 small dill pickles or one larger pickle
3-4 leaves of basil, chopped
two slices of bacon, chopped
Chop the pickles into small pieces, and cut the basil into thin strips. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve in a cucumber boat or over a bed of lettuce. Serve with chopped hard-boiled egg or bacon as a garnish, if desired.
Before I became a blogger, Lexie’s Kitchen was one of the sites I visited most often. Not only are her recipes family friendly, her story, the fact that her family began their journey towards a whole food, helth-centric lifestyle because of her child seemed all too familiar.
Frankly, if it weren’t for my daughter being diagnosed at 17 months old with a severe dairy allergy, I would still be food naive.It’s because of my daughter that I engulfed myself in nutrition education, and because of the belief I gained and the education earned regarding the power of food, I was able to recognize when my youngest was having negative reactions to food I was eating while she was being nursed. It was because of this awareness when my own illness became too much that I told my doctor I needed to go on an elimination diet, which inevitably lead to me pushing to be tested for Celiac. And it was because of all of this that when my son who was on medication for ADD tested positive for glaucoma at 11 years old, I knew it was time to change his path, too. Finally, because of all of this he too has been able to heal. 18 months later, he is not completely out of the hole, but while he is at risk he is no longer testing positive for glaucoma.
And it all started with one child…
So when I reached out to Lexie to see if she would be interested in sharing her tips for packing a healthy lunchbox with you, I as thrilled hear her response! After reading her post, I know you’ll be just as thankful as I am that she said yes.
Thank you for joining us, Lexie! xo
It’s a treat to be here at And Love It Too. Thanks for having me Sunny!
Today I am giving you a peek into my kids’ lunch boxes and the home lunch packing “system” that works for us.
I have to say that I admire—and totally envy—moms with bento box super powers (like these). And what about those mamma’s whose kiddos gobble down collard wraps and zucchini kabobs? All hail!
I’ll admit, the lunches I pack may not be the cutest and could be a tad more nutritionally dense, but I’ve loosened up a bit. Getting it perfect was stressing me out waaaayyy too much. So I cut myself some slack. I figure I’ve got breakfast and dinner to load my kids up on green smoothies and quality protein. For lunch, if I can meet these three criteria, I’m happy:
- Lunch will include fresh fruit and vegetables—fresh produce should be a part of every meal. I want my kids to lean that at a young age.
- Lunch will include a treat—like a piece of dark chocolate, fruit leather or a healthy cookie wrapped in gold foil—to make lunch special and combat any feelings of “how come I can’t eat what the other kids eat.”
- Lunch will be eaten. I try to strike a balance between healthy and tasty. What’s the point of packing food the kids won’t eat? I want my kids to be focused and have energy at school, not zoned out in the corner because they didn’t eat lunch … because they didn’t like it.
Before school started I sat down with my kids and we made a list of the foods they like for lunch (we are gluten-, dairy-, egg- and nut-free). The list we compiled is taped to the fridge and provides me with quick inspiration when I’m too tired to think. At the top of this list are quesadillas—PB&J, pizza, and turkey.
Quesadillas are great finger food and easy to make gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. And when you think outside the box (or the tortilla), you can come up with some pretty tasty variations.
Quesadillas start with tortillas. The two brands we use are Food For Life and Rudi’s. Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas contain minimal ingredients and are thick and stout. Rudi’s new line of tortillas come in three flavors, Plain, Spinach, and Fiesta. They are the closest thing I’ve found to white flour tortillas and work fabulously well for wraps. If you’d like to make your own, here is a tasty recipe.
PB&J Quesadillas: Sunbutter sunflower seed spread and your favorite jam.
Layer filling between two tortillas and heat in skillet with a little oil until tortillas begin to brown and crisp up. Slice into wedges.
Our Lunchbox “System”
Finally, a lunch packing “system” that works for us.
The Sugarbooger Zippee! Lunch Tote line has been a proven winner. It is BPA, phthalate, lead and PVC-free and meets or exceeds U.S., Canadian and European safety standards. They come in a bunch of cute motifs and are priced right. They are insulted to keep food cool and are easily washed by hand or in the washer.
Into the lunch tote I goes:
The food—neatly compartmentalized in a Sistema Klip It Lunch Cube
Herbal tea or water in a 9-ounce LifeFactory Glass Beverage Bottle
An ice pack to keep everything cool (I like this one this one)
A napkin and, of course, a little love note!
Have you met my friend, J? Janie, otherwise known simply as “J” is a girl after my own heart. Despite challenges given to her from birth (Cerebral Palsy, surgeries, lifetime stomach issues), J has gone on to find her way through undergraduate and graduate school, two masters degrees and a teaching certification. One busy girl!
Recently, J revealed her site: I am J the Blog where she shares information on living a gluten, dairy, nut, chocolate and caffeine free life.
I am so happy that Janie volunteered to share some of her story with us, as well as her delicious lunch recipe below, which includes an amazing salsa verde recipe she and her mom crafted together (and given that I am a huge salsa verde addict, I am always happy to add another recipe to my list!).
Thank you for joining us, Janie! xo
I am so honored to be a part of the Healthy Lunchbox Series. I thank Sunny for emailing because it came at the right time. I’ve been having a lot of issues with dairy and her email gave me the confidence to confront my dairy demon and banish it! I have been strictly gluten free for months now but now to add dairy free has been an exciting experience as well as one that has lead me to an even stronger support system of friends and family.
To make everything gluten free is a piece of gf cake but to make it dairy free too? Challenge accepted! I enlisted the help of my Mom for the first part. She makes amazing salsa and I honestly have never made time to make it until now. It’s amazing how much your diet changes encourage you to take control of your eating. I am not a baker or cook but I am learning each and every day to not only love the process but to be creative and love healthy food. As a student, I have a lot on my plate and I am usually on the go so I need something I can setup quickly. I like lunches on the go to be simple so here is my Spicy Lettuce Wrap!
J’s Spicy Lettuce Wrap
Please adjust this recipe to fit your needs!
Part 1: Mami’s Green Salsa-Medium Hot
My mom and I experimented with this. Don’t worry though, mom didn’t do a thing! Like the big girl that I am I did all the work and my mom did all the guiding! Hehe! You may want to make this a day before. It lasts about a week.
- 10 Tomatillo (reduce to 6 for the really caliente version)
- 3 Serrano Chile
- Salt-to taste
- Cilantro-a small handful
- White Onion-6 to 8 small pieces
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Water (used when blended)
- Fill a deep saucepan or pan of your choice half way (or little more than that depending on the size) with water and bring to a boil.
- Wash all of the tomatillo and remember to take off the tomatillo leaves before using.
- Cut off the ends of the chile and throw away. Wash the chile as well.
- Once the water is boiling add the tomatillo as well as the chile to it. Check it every so often. The tomatillo needs to be peeling and looking like it’s becoming really soft and kind of mushy. The chilies get softer as well. It took around 20 minutes for me. It may be less or more time for you.
- After that, get your blender out and put in the tomatillo, chilies, salt, cilantro, onion and the 1 ½ tablespoons of water and blend to your desire.
- Place your sauce in a bowl of your choosing but don’t cover it until it gets cool. Once it cools, you can store it in the fridge.
- Use within 5 to 7 days. It really depends on you and how you see your salsa is doing.
- To wash the veggies, you can fill up a bowl with water, put in your veggies and sprinkle baking soda on them. Let them soak for around 2 minutes. Next, take them out of the water and wash them off with water and you’re ready to go!
Part 2: J’s Spicy Lettuce Wraps
This part is all based on how much of each ingredient you want.
- Romaine Lettuce Leaves
- Make Mami’s Salsa, your own, or use a bottled salsa of your choice
- Applegate Farms Turkey Bacon
- Applegate Farms Herb Turkey Breast Slices (optional)
- Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie Snack Pack OR Fresh Avocado
- Wash all the veggies.
- Cut your desired amount of tomato in small pieces and place it inside each of the Romaine Lettuce Wrap. (I used three wraps and small pieces of tomato)
- Use a spoon to put a small amount of salsa inside each wrap.
- Next, spread Wholly Guacamole or cut pieces of your fresh Avocado in it.
- To end, place one piece of the Applegate Farms Turkey Bacon on top of the existing ingredients and you’re done! Roll up or eat like a salad!
- You can use Applegate Farms Herb Turkey Breast Slices instead or in addition to the bacon.
- What I did was to transport is:
- Pick a reusable “lunch box” and put the wraps with tomato only on the bottom .
- Next, fold a piece of wax paper and put bacon in the middle and place it on top of the wraps.
- You will then put a napkin on top of that.
- Finally, put a little container of salsa and the Wholly Guacamole along with utensils on top, cover with lid and you’re ready to go!
- I like to drink Steaz in Super Fruit as a beverage along with some Smart Water.
I didn’t include sides on here but some good ones are:
- Carrots and all sorts of other veggies
- Grapes and other easy to transport fruits
- Tostadas including Tortilla chips
Optional with Fresh Avocado and Applegate Farms Herb Turkey Breast (right)
If you have any questions you can email me! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!
While her last post shared some great ideas on organizing lunchbox items and giving options to children, Jessica shares a lovely recipe that is perfect for your gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free child.
They look great!
Thank you again, Jessica! xo
Hello! It’s Jessica from Allergic to Air again! I hope you enjoyed my post last time about how my friend gets her picky kids to help her pick out their lunches! I don’t have a child taking lunches to school yet, but I’m definitely going to add that plan to my arsenal repertoire.
Sunny so graciously allowed me to have 2 posts, so I thought I’d share my go-to snack for school. I have to admit, while EVERYONE I know loves these bars, my son does not. I’m not sure why that is, but it might have something to do with the fact that he’s been gluten, peanut, tree nut, and egg free since before he was eating solids. Sometimes textures and richness throw him off, but I still get him to try these every time I make them. That said, these get rave reviews every time I make them and you would never even guess they are allergy free!
I have a variety of ways that I make these bars, but since I was thinking about fall and school starting, I wanted something warm and cozy. The maple and the chai do just the trick in getting me in the mood for crisp days to come. The hint of coconut from the coconut oil is just perfect! The edges of the pan get a little crisp while the inner bars are a little chewy, which means there’s something for everyone! They are perfect for tucking into a school lunch or saving for an after school snack. We may or may not have even used them as a breakfast on the go!
I hope you like these as much as my family (well, almost all of them!) does! You can also check out more variations on my blog!
Maple Chai Oat Bars
Makes 16 bars.
Free of gluten, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish
1 ½ cups gluten free oats
½ cup quinoa flakes
1 cup gluten free flour (I like a mixture of 1 part sorghum flour/1 part tapioca flour/ 1/3 part millet flour)
1/4 cup gluten free oat bran (I get mine from Montana Gluten Free)
1/4 cup ground flax seed or flax meal
2 TB ground chia seed (1 TB pre-ground)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp chai seasoning (see below)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
½ cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
4. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients.
5. Mix well using a fork or your hands.
6. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once for even baking, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.
8. These can be stored in the fridge or frozen for future use. But I doubt they’ll last that long!
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
Mix spices and store in an airtight container. Use in place of cinnamon and nutmeg in your favorite recipes!
Today, I am happy to introduce this wonderful Healthy Lunchbox post from my lone male participant.
You may be familiar with Brian, The East Bay Celiac from his site where he blogs about living and eating in the East Bay Area of San Francisco (one of my favorite places in the whole-wide-world!).
Or you may be familiar with Brian through this interview he did with me for BeBesty back in May, which is also celiac awareness month.
Either way, no doubt you know that Brian is great!
When I mentioned to Brian that he was the only man to have signed up for this event, he explained that he is the cook of the family and that he is used to packing lunches..so writing this post was right up his alley.
I love that Brian has been proactive in everything from his diagnosis to making foods that are safe for him to eat.
Thank you for joining us, Brian! xo
I love sandwiches. You name pretty much any kind of sandwich, and Iʼve probably had it
for lunch. Well, before I had to go gluten-free. That really killed my lunch sandwich
intake quota. But, it has opened my taste buds up to a lot of other lunch options. One of
which Iʼm happy to share below.
Iʼve recently gotten over a cold, and my normal lunches didnʼt really fit with a “get better
soon” diet. My go-to meal for lunch and dinner on a “get better soon” diet is soup.
When my wife and I first started dating, she made me her familyʼs version of West Lake Soup
once. It replaced chicken noodle soup in our household fairly soon thereafter.
One of the best things about this soup is that it goes well with just about anything -
breads, crackers, or by itself, itʼs a great meal to warm up the body just about anytime.
We typically serve the soup over rice, either freshly made or leftover. Because leftover
rice never turns out well by itself. However, placed in the bottom of a quart-sized bowl,
with 3-4 heaping ladles of soup, heated in the microwave for 4 minutes, and it is
perfection in a bowl.
As this is a lunchbox post, the soup can easily be taken to work or school in a thermos,
or microwaveable glass container. (Keep in mind that your little ones wonʼt be able to
heat up the lunch at school.)
Gluten-Free West Lake Soup
1 ½ lbs ground pork
2 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
2 Tbsp garlic salt (or garlic powder)
100oz gluten-free chicken broth
1 pkg of tofu
3 sprigs of green onion
Bunch of cilantro
1 cup frozen peas
2 egg whites
1.) Mix the ground pork, soy sauce, and garlic salt or powder, and set aside.
2.) Over medium-high heat, pour the chicken broth into a large pot.
3.) Cube the tofu, and finely chop the green onions and cilantro.
4.) Break up the ground pork into small chunks and place into chicken broth.
# NOTE: This can be down either with hands, or with a masher in the broth.
5.) Cook the pork until all of it turns white and floats to the top of the broth.
6.) Place the tofu, green onion, cilantro, and frozen peas into the soup mixture.
7.) Once the peas have cooked, stir the soup and drizzle the egg whites into the broth.
This will create wispy strips of cooked egg.
8.) Place rice in bottom of bowl (1 cup for a 1qt-sized bowl), ladle soup over rice and
Today’s post is unique in that this post does not come from a traditional blogger…
Rather, this post is written by one of the food an allergy experts over at a great new company, tasterie.
I was introduced to tasterie several months ago, before the official website had launched.
As it is with many of you, and undoubtedly as it is with the mother, pediatrician and food allergy specialist, Dr. Lama Rimawi, who founded tasterie, I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first.
Still, they offered to send me a sample of their products and I accepted.
Opting for a box that is free of the top 8 allergens, I was pleasantly surprised at how much they were not only able to squeeze into one box, but also with the variety and the fact that there was a bit of something for all of us.
While I am 99.9% paleo (meaning those yoga vive caramel apple chips were right up my alley!), my family is still on the tail end of their transition so treats like plentils and a gluten-free but grain-based banana bread are a rare occasion but a welcome treat for them.
Along with the product came quite a bit of helpful information and two fabulous top-8 allergy free recipes.
Given that there were a number of items in this box that we had never tried, and many which we can’t even find locally, I would say the $20 monthly investment would be well spent for many of us; especially those mothers who spend countless hours reading labels at the store (I know I am not alone).
Keep in mind, the monthly variety changes regularly so what I received may not be what you receive.
But if the quality of the box and the product contained within is any indication, you will be happy to have invested.
I am pleased to share this healthy lunchbox entry with you.
Thank you Jonae, thank you tasterie! xo
Back when I was a kid, I practically lived off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was a school lunch staple for me and many of my friends. I didn’t know it then, but peanut butter is actually a very healthy option for lunch. It’s packed with fiber and protein to help you feel full, and even though it’s high in fat, it’s high in monounsaturated fat – the good kind that helps reduce your cholesterol.
But when I was in school, very few people were concerned about food allergies. Today, the Centers for Disease Control suggests that 4-6% of children have some form of food allergy, and peanuts are one of the most common and deadly childhood allergies. As a result, many schools are completely banning peanut products. The means no PB&J!
So whether or not your child has a peanut allergy, chances are at some point you’ll have to plan lunches that don’t involve peanuts. Don’t worry! There are lots of delicious and healthy peanut butter alternatives.
1. Almond butter/cashew butter/Nutella – An obvious peanut butter substitution is a butter made from other types of nuts. These other butters are also high in fat, and Nutella is high in sugar, so watch portion sizes carefully. Also, beware: kids with peanut allergies aren’t necessarily allergic to other nuts, but they could be.
2. Soy butter or sunflower butter – Like nut butters, you can use soy butter or sunflower butter the same way you would use peanut butter. How about layering SunButter between banana slices to make adorable, bite-size “sandwiches.” You could also dip the banana bites in melted chocolate to make them even tastier – but you didn’t hear that from me. (Use dark chocolate! It’s good for you!)
3. Hummus – I wasn’t always a fan of hummus, but there are so many different brands and recipes out there, I just needed to try a few until I found a favorite. We at Tasterie love Robert Rothschild’s Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Hummus. The best thing about hummus is its versatility. You can spread it or dip it on everything from crackers to veggies. It’s also a great source of protein!
4. Guacamole – One of the few foods that stands up to peanuts when it comes to heart healthy fat is avocado. You could try a corn tortilla with guacamole and homemade salsa. Add a little shredded chicken for protein and a side of fruit and you’ve got a real power-packed meal on your hands!
5. Cream cheese – How is it that a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich with the crusts cut off can be both elegant and perfect kid food? It’s magic! Strawberries and cream cheese are a delicious combo, too. (Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter and turn Valentine’s Day’s lunch into something super special.) Lest you think cream cheese isn’t an option for dairy-free, Tofutti makes a soy-based cream cheese. Or you could try making your own.
There are lots of other spreadable options out there – from tahini to baba ghanoush, to other vegetable purees. Just use your imagination!
You’ve heard me (as well as other bloggers) talk about planned-overs and how they make for great lunches.
Well, sometimes lunch needs to be a prequel.
Sometimes a meal is just too good to wait until dinner…
When cooked overnight in a crock and you have a thermos ready to help keep it warm…
Well, let’s just say that it’s okay to grab some of your favorite dishes before you rush out the door.
This Paleo Eggplant Parmesan is no exception. Cooked overnight, your home will become fragrant and percolate with the aroma of Italian herbs and spices.
Trust me, you’ll want to take some with you…
And besides, you deserve a bit of comfort in your mid-day break.
Take it, love it, and savor it.
I know I did.
While the eggplant cooks nicely in the crock, but if you would like a little more crunch, feel free to lightly fry the eggplant in coconut oil before placing the cubes in the crock to finish cooking. And if you are aiming for a vegan version, simply leave out the sausage. No matter what, this is a delicious dish!
- Coconut Oil (just enough to grease the crock)
- 2 Medium-sized Eggplant (about 2.5 pounds)
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 c Almond Flour
- ¼ c Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 2lbs Italian Sausage (I buy mine from my favorite grass-fed beef vendor at the farmer’s market)
- 3 ½ lbs Tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- ¼ c Olive Oil
- 2 Tbs Garlic Powder
- 2 Tbs Dried Basil
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- Using 6-quart crockpot, grease sides and base generously with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Cube eggplant and place in large bowl. Drizzle with 2 Tbs olive oil and set aside.
- In separate bowl, mix together almond flour, Italian seasoning, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
- Sprinkle almond flour mix over cubed eggplant and lightly toss to evenly coat each cube.
- Pour eggplant mixture into crockpot.
- Layer Italian sausage over eggplant (you can slice the sausage, but I like to cook mine whole)
- Remove tops from tomatoes, slice and place in your food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Slice oven in to quarters and carefully add this to the blended tomato. Add in olive oil, garlic powder, dried basil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth sauce has formed.
- Pour over sausage and eggplant.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Serve as-is or with a side salad.
- Makes 10 servings.
Please be sure to join the rest of the Foodnetwork Summer Fest group for more ways to enjoy your eggplant these final summer days!
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