Tag Archives: BPA

Top 10 Lunchbox Tips

TOP 10 LUNCHBOX TIPS
It’s not easy pack­ing school lunch.  In fact, it gets old and bor­ing r-e-a-l fast!   After a while, think­ing up orig­i­nal lunch­box ideas (that don’t break the bank) can feel impossible. 
From the very begin­ning, our mis­sion at Whole­some Tum­mies has been to make kids’ foods that are fresh, nutri­tious, and excit­ing.  In our quest to achieve this tri­fecta, we have come up with hun­dreds of ideas to cajole even the pick­i­est eater along the path to healthy eat­ing.  After all, it’s not nutri­tion unless they eat it.
With those goals in mind, here are our Top 10 Lunch­box Tips to help you pack fun and nutri­tious lunches for your child.   Happy packing!
1.     Get Cre­ative With Leftovers
Use left­over chicken to make a Chicken Cae­sar Wrap or a Chicken Soft Taco, or a Naked Chicken Parme­san.  Left­over din­ner veg­gies could make the base of a Pasta Pri­mav­era or even a Teriyaki Stir Fry.  Always try to repack­age them as a new dish so your child doesn’t get bored.  Don’t let left­overs go to waste!
2.     Make a Bento Box
What is a Bento Box?  A Bento Box is a multi-compartment box used to con­tain the dif­fer­ent courses of a meal.  Instead of pack­ing the tra­di­tional entrée and two sides, make a lunch out of a vari­ety of small snacks.  Think Tapas for kids!   Hard­boiled eggs, box of raisins, apple or other fresh fruit, hand­ful of crack­ers, tuna fish or chicken salad, pasta salad, veg­gies, dips, and more!  With a Bento, any­thing goes.
3.     Pack Home­made Soup
This is always a big hit with kids.  Kids love soup, espe­cially with some­thing crunchy like crou­tons of Asian noo­dles on the side that they can add when they are good and ready.  A whole wheat bread­stick or whole grain crack­ers go per­fectly on the side!  Visit our Feb­ru­ary blog post for some easy kid favorite soup ideas
4.     Pack a Hot Entrée
Kids tire of the same old – same old Turkey Sand­wich every day (not to men­tion most deli meats are loaded with nitrates, which we need to min­i­mize in our children’s devel­op­ing bod­ies).  Even Peanut But­ter & Jelly can get old day after day!  Keep lunch excit­ing by pack­ing a hot entrée — pasta, stir-fry, meat­balls, hot left­overs, even scram­bled eggs, French toast, or oat­meal in your child’s ther­mos for lunch.  If you have trou­ble keep­ing the food inside the ther­mos hot, make sure to pour with boil­ing water first and cover for at least 10 min­utes before fill­ing with hot food.
5.     Make Fresh Sides
Use a vari­ety of cre­ative, in-season choices every day so your child looks for­ward to the fresh sides.  Exam­ples include:  car­rots and cel­ery with ranch, red pep­per and hum­mus, apples and peanut but­ter, side gar­den salad, pears and vanilla yogurt, edamame, cucum­ber slices and herb cream cheese.  Keep them guess­ing!  You may want to invest in small Tup­per­ware con­tain­ers so you can keep sides sep­a­rate and eas­ily serve dips with fruits and veg­gies.  A prod­uct like Rubbermaid’s BPA-free Lunch Blox works great.
6.     Don’t Get Stale
Mix it up! Get cre­ative!  Don’t fall into a rut with lunch mak­ing.  The worst thing you can do for your child is give in to her demands to eat the same lunch menu every sin­gle day – doing so will guar­an­tee a picky eater.  Make a promise to your­self never to pack the same lunch within a sin­gle cal­en­dar week, and you’ll be well on your way to rais­ing an open-minded and adven­tur­ous eater.
7.     Sub­sti­tute Sandwiches
Instead of two slices of bread, try a wrap, a salad, or a hard taco shell.  Do slid­ers, crack­ers, or just roll-ups (no bread) to mix things up a bit.  Don’t let your child get too com­fort­able with what goes in the lunch­box – keep­ing them on their toes keeps lunchtime excit­ing, fun, and always a surprise!
8.     Go Around the World
Pick a day each week and go with an inter­na­tional theme – Mex­i­can, Asian, Cuban, Ital­ian, Indian, French, etc. – theme all ele­ments of the lunch­box that day and even include a note about the ori­gin of each.  Make it edu­ca­tional so your child learns some­thing new.
9.     Include a Surprise
Kids love sur­prises!  Even more so when it’s a spe­cial note from home, a favorite photo, a sticker, a reminder about an upcom­ing event, a spe­cial toy, or even a spe­cial treat.  Insert­ing just one sur­prise item inside the lunch box can help make your child’s day extra spe­cial.  After all, isn’t that what this is all about?
10.  Get Cre­ative with Drinks
This is one area of the lunch­box that often goes unmen­tioned.  Drinks can take a child’s lunch from mediocre to awe­some so make sure to stock your pantry with some spe­cial all-natural choices, includ­ing fla­vored seltzer waters, fil­tered juices, fruit smooth­ies, or spe­cial water bot­tles.  A spe­cial drink takes lunchtime to another level!
Feed­ing chil­dren well at lunchtime and at every meal offers a unique oppor­tu­nity to teach val­ues such as:  adven­ture, risk-taking, sus­tain­abil­ity, and com­pas­sion.  Expos­ing kids to these qual­i­ties at an early age instills con­fi­dence to try new expe­ri­ences in life, which in turn builds self-esteem — one of the great­est gifts we can give to our children.  
Chil­dren who care about the foods they eat are also role mod­els for their peers.  They are lead­ers at school and proud to take a stand for health­ful eat­ing and mak­ing good food choices.  These lead­er­ship qual­i­ties often carry over to other aspects of life as well. 
Make Lunch Mat­ter, and your child will make it mat­ter, too!

Healthy Habit #4: Cook at Home

Con­ve­nience.  When it comes to food for our fam­i­lies, it can be a four-letter word. Eat­ing out has become an Amer­i­can fam­ily tra­di­tion, and it’s trend­ing up.
We already know that restau­rant food is often higher in sat­u­rated fat, sodium, and calo­ries than a home­made meal.  That’s why many of us will inten­tion­ally choose “health­ier”, full-service restau­rants over fast food when we need a break from home cook­ing. How­ever, did you know that full-service meals are often nutri­tion­ally infe­rior to fast food?  
A sur­pris­ing study con­ducted by the USDA uncov­ered that con­trary to com­mon per­cep­tion, meals and snacks con­sumed at full-service restau­rants are not nutri­tion­ally supe­rior to fast food.  In fact, full-service meals tend to be higher in fat, cho­les­terol, and sodium on aver­age than their fast food coun­ter­parts.  That means even when you think you are choos­ing a health­ier restau­rant for your fam­ily, you may be sadly mistaken.
It’s a shame that so many restau­rants lack the fresh, nutri­tious menu items that we serve in our own home kitchens.  As busy par­ents, we all have days where we need a break from our kitchen oblig­a­tions.  Why does the restau­rant indus­try fail to pro­vide us with the solu­tions we des­per­ately seek?
One word – cost. 
Costs of Pro­vid­ing Fresh Food
It costs pen­nies for restau­rants to serve up a plate of fries, and quar­ters for them to serve up a side salad.  Pic­ture the sim­plic­ity in this sys­tem:  1.  Remove bag from freezer.  2.  Open bag.  3.  Place con­tents in fryer.  4.  Put timer on.  5. Take con­tents out of fryer.  6.  Salt food.  7. Por­tion.  8. Serve.  That’s under 5 min­utes from start to fin­ish.  That’s why you’re hit with a $.75 charge when you ask to sub your child’s side of french fries for a fresh fruit salad!
Per­haps instead it’s a pre-bagged entrée or soup that the restau­rant re-heats, cuts opens, and serves…. I saw this exact activ­ity last week at one of my absolute favorite “healthy”, nat­ural and organic family-friendly restau­rants.   My son pointed it out – we were both shocked.  This restau­rant was microwav­ing pre-bagged veg­eta­bles until hot and then served them on top of pasta.  Voila!  Pasta Pri­mav­era!  A seem­ingly fresh and “healthy” meal pre­pared in an unfresh, unhealthy (but light­en­ing quick!) way.
At another one of my family’s favorite, “healthy” restau­rants, I’ve seen an indi­vid­ual bag of mac­a­roni and cheese microwaved for each child that orders it off the Kids Menu.  Those of you already well-informed about the dan­gers of microwav­ing in plas­tic bags know that it’s not such a great idea (espe­cially for kids).  I won­der how much BPA was ingested by kids eat­ing mac and cheese that day?
All these are rea­sons why we at the Whole­some Tum­mies (WT) Café are ded­i­cated to feed­ing fresh foods to your chil­dren.  We do not use microwaves.  We do not use fry­ers.  We don’t cut cor­ners.  Our meals are made from scratch every day, not poured from a bag.  We cut our fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles daily.  Doing all this extra work takes time (which costs money).  When we mix our salad dress­ings from scratch, pre­pare batches of house-made soup, or make your child’s lunch from scratch in our local kitchens — 5 min­utes becomes 30 min­utes.   
Why do we take the extra time?  We do it because we are intensely dri­ven by our mis­sion to pro­vide fresh, nutri­tious, and excit­ing foods to every child, every­where.  Our mis­sion moti­vates us to earn your trust so that we may have the priv­i­lege of feed­ing your chil­dren through­out their school-aged years.  It’s an impor­tant call­ing, and we take it very seriously.
Unfor­tu­nately for all the tired par­ents out there who need a break from the monot­ony of home cook­ing, few restau­rants feel as strongly as we do about fresh, from-scratch cook­ing.  So…if you want to feed your fam­ily pure, nutri­tious food at an afford­able price your best bet is to dust that apron off and put on your chef’s hat.  If you want some­thing done right, some­times you just have to do it yourself.

Time for soup!

It’s a daily rit­ual for most fam­i­lies with school-age chil­dren. Kids come home from school, throw their back­packs on the floor, and inquire frantically….”What’s for snack? I’m starv­ing!” With five school days a week, it’s impos­si­ble to con­sis­tently answer this ques­tion (or is it a demand?) with a fully pre­pared response and an equally pre­pared snack menu. Read on for heavy-duty ammu­ni­tion to help you fight the daily snack time battle.

As busy par­ents, we know the drill. With hec­tic after school sched­ules and our pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with plan­ning the three main meals of each day, snack plan­ning becomes an after­thought. And yet, this is our golden moment! Our time to shine! Snack time offers a “Carpe Diem” oppor­tu­nity for us to present our chil­dren with well-balanced, nour­ish­ing foods at a time when they are hun­gry and most open to eat­ing them.

Our advice? Be strate­gic. Use your children’s snack time hunger to your advan­tage. Enter….Homemade Soup.

What bet­ter cold weather, after school snack then a hot (ok, maybe warm) bowl of soup? Just a few hours once a week ded­i­cated to prepar­ing a giant, freez­able batch of home­made, kid-friendly soup rewards you with weeks of ready-to-go, sat­is­fy­ing snacks. Soups freeze well and last for up to a week in the fridge, mak­ing them both a quick and a nutri­tious snack. They can also be used for lunches or healthy, pre-dinner appe­tiz­ers. Here are some of the soups our kid cus­tomers love the most:

Broc­coli Ched­dar – A true com­fort soup, and a deli­cious and creamy way to get the kids eat­ing their broc­coli. Using reduced fat milk makes this recipe lower in fat. Also, this is a quickie — only 30 min­utes to make! One of our cus­tomers’ all-time favorites.

Chicken Noo­dle – One of the things we love about chicken noo­dle soup is the broth. Our trick? We puree the veg­gies in this soup and mix the puree back into the broth to thicken it and pro­vide amaz­ing fla­vor. If you use car­rots, the soup turns a beau­ti­ful orange color (a bright color that kids love!). Use hi-protein or whole wheat noo­dles and there’s almost a day’s worth of nutri­tion in each bowl!

Meat­ball Soup – This is our ver­sion of Ital­ian Wed­ding Soup, with a name that kids under­stand and a food kids love (meat­balls are a big hit with most kids we know). You can use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef for a lower fat soup, and whole wheat bread­crumb instead of white. We also love this soup because of the spinach fac­tor and the fact that it’s loaded with pro­tein to sus­tain your child’s energy level for hours.

Tomato Soup – Another clas­sic, and full of antiox­i­dants! Only 10 min­utes to prep. Make this recipe low-fat using low-fat milk instead of half and half. You can also use fresh or pack­aged toma­toes. If using pack­aged, try to find a brand in a paper con­tainer rather than alu­minum can. Stud­ies have shown extremely high lev­els of toxic BPA in canned products.

Tor­tilla Soup – We love this chicken-based soup. It’s full of veg­gies and pro­tein, and with crunchy corn tor­tilla chips sprin­kled on top, kids will love it too! You will need a good chicken stock as a fla­vor­ful base, a sprin­kle of taco sea­son­ing, and lots of kid-favorite veg­gies like corn and black beans.

All good soups start with a good soup broth or stock. You can eas­ily make your own stock from scratch by boil­ing chicken, beef, or just plain veg­eta­bles with a few of your favorite herbs, onion, gar­lic, and some salt and pep­per. Strain the broth and use as your soup base. The remain­ing meats and veg­gies can be used in another dish. If you don’t have time to make stock from scratch, you can always use store bought broths. We pre­fer an organic option as they are guar­an­teed not to con­tain MSG like many con­ven­tional broths. We also like low sodium choices.
Home­made soups offer another great way to increase your child’s ACCESS to healthy foods and improve their eat­ing habits. Nutri­tious and ver­sa­tile, soups are sat­is­fy­ing and a quick and easy snack…especially this time of year. Don’t for­get to add crunchy crou­tons or tor­tilla chips on top!

Packaging Commitment

We are fully com­mit­ted to sourc­ing pack­ag­ing that is earth friendly and recyl­cleable. This is a core tenent of our beliefs and we will strive to make as lit­tle waste as pos­si­ble with our lunches.

Hope­fully by now you have learned about HD Plas­tics, BPA’s (and the dan­ger they impose) etc. Here is an excel­lent recent arti­cle on the use of BPA’s in baby bot­tles. New Born Free makes excel­lent baby bot­tles that are com­pletely free of BPA’s and I would highly rec­om­mend them!
_____________________________

Bot­tles linked to health risk
Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 8, 2008

BY JIM WRIGHT

STAFF WRITER

Most plas­tic baby bot­tles sold in the United States could be haz­ardous to a baby’s health, accord­ing to a new report by a coali­tion of envi­ron­men­tal groups.

The report, “Baby’s Toxic Bot­tle,” found that when the poly­car­bon­ate plas­tic bot­tles made under six major brands are heated dur­ing nor­mal use, they leach Bisphe­nol A, a hormone-disrupting chem­i­cal that has pro­duced adverse effects in animals.

Some of our research showed that leach­ing also occurs at room tem­per­a­ture, and it becomes worse over time with more and more use,” said Rebekah Scot­land, leg­isla­tive asso­ciate with NJPIRG.

Scot­land said con­sumers should use glass baby bot­tles, plas­tic bot­tles that are adver­tised as “Bisphe­nol A-free” or polypropy­lene bot­tles labeled with recy­cling code No. 5. Plas­tic bot­tles with Bisphe­nol A typ­i­cally are stamped with a “7” on the bottom.

The report, released Thurs­day by NJPIRG and other coali­tion mem­bers in the United States and Canada, was based on a study of the six most pop­u­lar brands of baby bot­tles — Avent, Disney/The First Years, Dr. Brown’s, Even­flo, Ger­ber and Play­tex — pur­chased in nine states. The study found that Dr. Brown’s baby bot­tles leached the high­est lev­els of the chem­i­cal, while Avent bot­tles leached the least.

The report, which echoed the find­ings of a Cal­i­for­nia study of a year ago, called Bisphe­nol A “a devel­op­men­tal, neural and repro­duc­tive tox­i­cant that mim­ics estro­gen and can inter­fere with healthy growth and body func­tion” — a claim that the chem­i­cal indus­try strongly rejects.

Steven Hent­ges of the Amer­i­can Chem­istry Coun­cil dis­missed the report.

Poly­car­bon­ate baby bot­tles have been safely used for decades, and the sci­en­tific evi­dence sup­port­ing the safety of those prod­ucts has been reviewed by many inde­pen­dent, gov­ern­ment and sci­en­tific bod­ies world­wide,” he said. “Every one of those reviews sup­ports the con­clu­sion that these prod­ucts are safe and that there is no risk to human health.”

New Jer­sey Assem­bly­woman Linda Green­stein, D-Mercer, said she is draft­ing a bill that would require man­u­fac­tur­ers of plas­tic baby bot­tles and toys con­tain­ing Bisphe­nol A and cer­tain phtha­lates to use the least toxic alter­na­tive instead.

As a result of the study and pre­vi­ous research, the coali­tion is peti­tion­ing retail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers of poly­car­bon­ate baby bot­tles to switch imme­di­ately to safer prod­ucts and to phase out bot­tles con­tain­ing Bisphe­nol A.

E-mail: wright@northjersey.com

Most plas­tic baby bot­tles sold in the United States could be haz­ardous to a baby’s health, accord­ing to a new report by a coali­tion of envi­ron­men­tal groups.

A new report found that when some plas­tic bot­tles are heated dur­ing nor­mal use, they leach a chem­i­cal that has pro­duced adverse effects in animals.

The report, “Baby’s Toxic Bot­tle,” found that when the poly­car­bon­ate plas­tic bot­tles made under six major brands are heated dur­ing nor­mal use, they leach Bisphe­nol A, a hormone-disrupting chem­i­cal that has pro­duced adverse effects in animals.

Some of our research showed that leach­ing also occurs at room tem­per­a­ture, and it becomes worse over time with more and more use,” said Rebekah Scot­land, leg­isla­tive asso­ciate with NJPIRG.

Scot­land said con­sumers should use glass baby bot­tles, plas­tic bot­tles that are adver­tised as “Bisphe­nol A-free” or polypropy­lene bot­tles labeled with recy­cling code No. 5. Plas­tic bot­tles with Bisphe­nol A typ­i­cally are stamped with a “7” on the bottom.

The report, released Thurs­day by NJPIRG and other coali­tion mem­bers in the United States and Canada, was based on a study of the six most pop­u­lar brands of baby bot­tles — Avent, Disney/The First Years, Dr. Brown’s, Even­flo, Ger­ber and Play­tex — pur­chased in nine states. The study found that Dr. Brown’s baby bot­tles leached the high­est lev­els of the chem­i­cal, while Avent bot­tles leached the least.

The report, which echoed the find­ings of a Cal­i­for­nia study of a year ago, called Bisphe­nol A “a devel­op­men­tal, neural and repro­duc­tive tox­i­cant that mim­ics estro­gen and can inter­fere with healthy growth and body func­tion” — a claim that the chem­i­cal indus­try strongly rejects.

Steven Hent­ges of the Amer­i­can Chem­istry Coun­cil dis­missed the report.

Poly­car­bon­ate baby bot­tles have been safely used for decades, and the sci­en­tific evi­dence sup­port­ing the safety of those prod­ucts has been reviewed by many inde­pen­dent, gov­ern­ment and sci­en­tific bod­ies world­wide,” he said. “Every one of those reviews sup­ports the con­clu­sion that these prod­ucts are safe and that there is no risk to human health.”

New Jer­sey Assem­bly­woman Linda Green­stein, D-Mercer, said she is draft­ing a bill that would require man­u­fac­tur­ers of plas­tic baby bot­tles and toys con­tain­ing Bisphe­nol A and cer­tain phtha­lates to use the least toxic alter­na­tive instead.

As a result of the study and pre­vi­ous research, the coali­tion is peti­tion­ing retail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers of poly­car­bon­ate baby bot­tles to switch imme­di­ately to safer prod­ucts and to phase out bot­tles con­tain­ing Bisphe­nol A.