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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!

10 Ways To Make Vegetables More Exciting

If your kids aren’t a fan, it may take a few tries and some exper­i­ment­ing for them to fall in love with veg­eta­bles, but don’t give up. With all of the col­or­ful vari­eties avail­able at your local mar­ket this spring, your fam­ily will be inspired to try them all. And when you get them home, here are 10 ways to put some excite­ment into those veggies:
1.    Roast. Cut veg­eta­bles into 1-inch pieces and toss with 1 table­spoon of olive oil, salt and pep­per. Roast at 425°F until caramelized, about 40 min­utes depend­ing on the veg­etable. Serve warm or cold.
2.    Grill. Whether out­doors or inside using a grill pan, veg­eta­bles cooked on the grill add a smoky, caramelized fla­vor to any meal.
3.    Fla­vor. Sprin­kle grated Parme­san, toasted sesame seeds, over warm vegetables.
4.    Dip. Infuse low-fat yogurt or puréed beans with fresh gin­ger, gar­lic, cit­rus and fresh herbs to cre­ate zippy dips for raw or cooked veg­eta­bles. 
5.    Purée. Puréed soups make a quick and healthy meal, and can be served hot or cold. Chop veg­eta­bles, cook in broth until ten­der (about 20 min­utes), purée with a hand blender, thin with addi­tional broth and sea­son to taste with herbs, salt and pepper.
6.    Stuff. Mush­rooms, pep­pers, zuc­chini, toma­toes and egg­plant, to name a few, make great ves­sels for stuff­ing. Add a med­ley of lean meats and veg­eta­bles inside the hollowed-out veg­etable, or slice into thin planks, stuff, roll and bake.
7.    Sauce. Coulis is a sauce made from a puréed raw or cooked veg­etable (or fruit). A roasted red pep­per coulis, for exam­ple, can be tossed with spaghetti squash or used as the base for salad dressings.
8.    Mash. Mix­ing your mashes can lead to excit­ing things. Try mashed cau­li­flower with mashed spring peas, or mashed car­rots with mashed parsnips for new fla­vor profiles.
9.    Salad.  Slice and dice what­ever raw veg­eta­bles you have in the house and make a “garbage salad” out of them.  Serve up with crisp romaine before din­ner (salad appe­tizer!) and your hun­gry fam­ily will devour them.
10. Embrace. Move out of your com­fort zone and try a new veg­etable once a month. Pos­i­tive affir­ma­tion, when it comes to healthy eat­ing and mak­ing veg­eta­bles a part of every meal or snack, will make the jour­ney to good health fun and easy.

Reading and Understanding Food Labels — for Kids!




We all know that the nutri­tional label is the “table of con­tents” for a food prod­uct. By scan­ning this handy box, we can learn fairly quickly whether the item is good for us or not. But our kids may not yet under­stand what a “trans fat” is or whether hav­ing “21% Daily Value of Sodium” is a good or bad thing! Teach­ing your kids a sim­ple way to read food labels will help them quickly decode whether the item is OK to eat!

The best place to learn about labels is in your local super­mar­ket. Take your chil­dren with you the next time you go shop­ping and have them try some of these exer­cises at the store or once you get home with your new purchases.

Tip #1 SERVING SIZE: Have your chil­dren por­tion out what they think is an appro­pri­ate por­tion for kids of their age. Then show them what the label lists as the por­tion size. Take out a mea­sur­ing cup and show them the dif­fer­ence. Learn­ing this crit­i­cal aspect of the label will set them up for a life­time of proper por­tion con­trol. Espe­cially with sug­ary drinks — often a bot­tle of soda doesn’t con­tain one serv­ing, but 2 serv­ings, which is very sur­pris­ing for many!

Tip # 2 TRANS FAT: Even though the FDA allows for any food prod­uct with .05g of trans fat or less to state it is “Trans Fat Free”, savvy eaters know that no amount of trans fat should be accepted. There­fore, teach­ing your chil­dren to find that line on the label might be mis­lead­ing. Instead, have them check that the item has 0g of trans fats, and that it does NOT have “Par­tially Hydro­genated Oils” in the ingre­di­ent list.

Tip #3 SUGARS: It’s true that fat doesn’t make us fat, sugar does. Stud­ies rou­tinely point to sugar as the major cul­prit in child­hood obe­sity. So kids can eas­ily scan the label for “Sug­ars” and aim for the low­est pos­si­ble amounts. When shop­ping for break­fast cereal for instance, have them choose 2–3 they like and pick the one with the least amount of sugar. (6g or less in cere­als would be ideal). As a bonus, your kids will get a lit­tle math work­out too! For instance, if an item has 12 grams of sugar, they can divide that by four to find out the num­ber of tea­spoons of sugar per serv­ing (4 grams of sugar = 1 tea­spoon). That means, a cereal with 12 grams of sugar will have 3 tea­spoons (or 1 table­spoon) of sugar PER serving.

Tip #4 FIND THE GOOD STUFF: Nutri­ents like fiber and vit­a­mins are good for our kids (and for us too!) So have them get excited about eat­ing foods that are high in fiber and vit­a­mins – which can eas­ily be found on the nutri­tional label.

With a lit­tle inves­tiga­tive work and a bit of fun, your kids can learn to be label sleuths and maybe get a lit­tle health­ier in the process!

SG

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Have a Healthy Halloween!

Have a Healthy Hal­loween! By: Saman­tha Gotlib, Co-Founder Whole­some Tummies

Hal­loween is def­i­nitely a kid’s hol­i­day– cos­tumes, par­ties and tons of candy. It is also a dreaded night for par­ents who try des­per­ately to curb the amount of sticky, choco­late or sug­ary treats that arrive home. Did you know that the aver­age child will con­sume 3 cups of sugar from Hal­loween candy? Now that is frightening!

So, how do you let your kids have a great time and enjoy the fes­tiv­i­ties with­out sac­ri­fic­ing their health (and their teeth)?

1) Set an exam­ple. Choose your own Hal­loween candy with a bit more care. Opt for mini pret­zels, nat­ural fruit roll ups, gra­nola bars or pack­ages of sugar free gum. Even bet­ter, avoid candy all together. Who needs another pack­age of M&M’s? Your house will sure to be the most pop­u­lar if you give out things like, spi­der rings, mini bub­bles or glow sticks this year!

2) Start the dia­log early. Talk to your child before the “candy buy­ing” rush starts in the stores. Ask them for ideas for some healthy treat ideas. Talk to them about divid­ing their candy so they can enjoy smaller amounts of it over a longer period of time.

3) Be firm when nec­es­sary. Set rules for Hal­loween night. Make sure your chil­dren know that all candy must be inspected at home before they are allowed to eat it. Know­ing up front will help stop any tem­per tantrums on the 31st!

4) Han­dling the left­overs. Encour­age your kids to make small bag­gies of the candy they want to keep and to donate the rest.

View Hal­loween as a great oppor­tu­nity to edu­cate your chil­dren about nutri­tion and help them make bet­ter choices on their own. Hal­loween is a fun hol­i­day that involves candy, but does not only have to involve candy. A night out, strolling the neigh­bor­hood with their friends is a won­der­ful part of childhood!

Family Festival 2008


We hope you all can make it on Sun­day, April 13th from 10am-5pm at Lake Eola Downtown.

The JCC is hold­ing their annual Fam­ily Fes­ti­val and this year will be their biggest ever. They are expect­ing over 25,000 peo­ple! (Whole­some Tum­mies will be exhibit­ing as well!)
mag­ine a full day of fun, filled with main stage enter­tain­ment through­out the day (pro­vided by Walt Dis­ney World) a sec­ond stage of inter­ac­tive children’s artists and pro­grams, an inflat­able for­est and numer­ous inter­ac­tive activ­ity areas span­ning the entire park! Admis­sion is free and open to the community.

Enjoy a day of fun and enter­tain­ment for the whole family!

There will be many activ­ity zones for you to enjoy.

- Tod­dler Town
- Work­shop Vil­lage
- Health & Safety Zone
- Teddy Bear Clinic
- Cir­cus Town
- Planet Earth & Go Green

The GO Green area sounds awe­some with Earth friendly crafts and activities!

Please come on out and have a won­der­ful, fun day at Lake Eola and stop by the Whole­some Tum­mies booth to say hello and grab some fun giveaways!

Everyone loves the nugget..

Great arti­cle from the Bal­ti­more Sun. I am guilty of this plea­sure as well. Chicken “nuggets” were a favorite of my child­hood and I still have a hard time not fin­ish­ing off the kids’ plates when they have them. What do you think? Do you think that even the “healthy” ones are O.K? I thought I was doing an alright thing buy­ing them from Whole Foods– organic, baked nuggets..but per­haps not?

We were strongly con­sid­er­ing baked chicken nuggets on the Whole­some Tum­mies menu so please share your thoughts!

SG

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nuggets, or not?

Chicken nuggets have got­ten more health­ful — even gourmet — in the last 25 years, but par­ents still strug­gle with whether to feed them to their kids

By Tanika WhiteSun ReporterOcto­ber 10, 2007Here’s a twist on an age-old ques­tion: Which came first, the chicken or the nugget?

After all, it’s hard for many par­ents to remem­ber a time when tiny din­ner plates dec­o­rated with car­toon char­ac­ters weren’t filled, in part, with golden-brown, roundish or boot-shaped objects, and accented with a col­or­ful dip­ping sauce.

Twenty-five years after McDonald’s intro­duced the Chicken McNugget to the world, the bone­less, bat­tered treat has clucked its way to the top of the list of kids’ favorite foods — no mat­ter if the nugget comes with fries and a toy in a lit­tle card­board box or is poured out of a bag from the fam­ily freezer and microwaved for a quick post-soccer-game, pre-bath-time meal.

Kids love chicken nuggets so much, says author Michael Pol­lan in his best-selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, that the fin­ger food is the rea­son chicken has edged out beef as the most pop­u­lar food in

Amer­ica.Frozen-food com­pa­nies sell bags of nuggets in kid-friendly shapes, such as dinosaurs. Many a restau­rant that offers a kids’ menu tops it off with nuggets. Yet nutri­tion­ists point to chicken nuggets as a prime cul­prit in devel­op­ing a taste for salty, fatty food among U.S. chil­dren, who are more likely now to be over­weight and unhealthy than ever before. And many a mom who might favor grilled chicken breast and salad with dress­ing on the side for her­self still strug­gles with feed­ing nuggets to her chil­dren.“They’re so easy, and they’re kid-sized, and some com­pa­nies even make them in fun shapes,” says Annelies Koob of Cock­eysville, the mother of a 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daugh­ter. “[But] I’ve really tried to phase them out of their life. I just don’t buy them.”Some try to bal­ance nuggets with more health­ful foods. Patrick Huff of Wash­ing­ton says he real­izes nuggets are “not the health­i­est thing in the world” for his 6-year-old daugh­ter, Syd­nei.“But she eats oat­meal for break­fast, so she can have chicken nuggets in the after­noon,” says Huff, an edu­ca­tor.Ann Cooper, author of Lunch Lessons: Chang­ing the Way We Feed Our Chil­dren, says, “McDonald’s has taught an entire gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren that that’s all they can eat. And they’re not going to eat any­thing else.”Joyce Wein­berg, a New York cater­ing expert, food-tour leader and mother of a 22-month-old, says, “Par­ents love them because they’re ‘hand-eating,’ and they do have pro­tein. And kids like them because they have a crunchy out­side and they taste good.”“But,” says Wein­berg, “you don’t want to clog up those tiny lit­tle arter­ies.”The ingre­di­ents for the McNugget, as described in Pollan’s book as well as the doc­u­men­tary Super Size Me, include dreaded trans fats, TBHQ and some­thing called dimethylpolysilox­ane. That lat­ter, long word is an “anti-foaming agent.” And crit­ics point to the fact that TBHQ is a deriv­a­tive of butane.“[Chicken nuggets are] not soda or candy, but that’s how high it ranks for me [on the list of bad things for kids to eat],” says Cooper, who writes a blog at lunchlessons.org. “It’s really bad and it’s really bad for a num­ber of rea­sons. Most chicken nuggets just aren’t good food.”

So what is a par­ent to do?

The good news is moms and dads aren’t the only ones to real­ize that the chicken nugget is here to stay. And in the past few years, many chefs, retail­ers, school-dining pro­grams and even fast-food com­pa­nies have come up with ways to make the fin­ger food more healthful.

Some have dumped the dark meat in favor of all-white meat breast pieces. Oth­ers have cut out the “chicken” in the chicken nugget all together, opt­ing for soy, veg­gie or tofu nuggets.

In a new cook­book, fun­ny­man Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jes­sica, says she hides veg­eta­bles such as spinach, broc­coli or beet puree in the home­made chicken nuggets she pre­pares for her three chil­dren, or she makes “faux” nuggets out of tofu and flaxseed meal.

“When I serve [tofu nuggets], my kids think they’re eat­ing chicken or cheese,” Sein­feld says in her book, Decep­tively Deli­cious: Sim­ple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eat­ing Good Food.

Per­due recently launched a baked whole-grain nugget made with white chicken meat toasted with whole-grain bread crumbs, says Chris Alexan­der, senior mar­ket­ing man­ager of Per­due Ready-to-Eat Chicken.

This past sum­mer, Ian’s Nat­ural Foods com­pany — which spe­cial­izes in more health­ful food choices for kids — unveiled what it calls the first ever organic chicken nugget, made with organic chicken and bread crumbs, and with­out bleached flours or hydro­genated oils.

Even some col­lege cam­puses have spruced up their cafe­te­ria menus to get fast-food-loving stu­dents to choose more health­ful chicken nuggets.

“Rather than pull run-of-the-mill, chopped, formed, who-knows-what’s-in-it from the freezer and drop them in the fryer, we now serve bone­less, skin­less chicken breast” carved into pieces, says Dave Furhman, direc­tor of din­ing pro­grams at the

Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity.Then there are oth­ers who have taken the chicken nugget to an even higher level: They’ve made it gourmet.“Absolutely,” nuggets are gourmet, says Michel Richard, renowned chef of the Wash­ing­ton restau­rant Cit­ronelle.“It’s one of the best-sellers in my new restau­rant, Cen­tral,” Richard says. The chef is even pre­sent­ing his recipe — com­plete with sea salt, thyme, peanut oil and poach­ing — at the Gourmet Insti­tute in New York this month.McDonald’s push to clean up the chicken nugget has made the fin­ger food even more pop­u­lar.In 2003, the mega-company switched its nugget recipe to one with all-white meat. The result, says Chris Mann, owner/operator of four McDonald’s restau­rants in Dun­dalk and Essex: “14 per­cent fewer calo­ries; 16 per­cent less fat; 20 per­cent less sat­u­rated fat and 32 per­cent less cho­les­terol than the old chicken nugget.”The move, Mann says, made the four-piece nugget offer­ing (the best-seller at Mickey D’s) a bet­ter choice calorie-wise than a grilled-cheese sand­wich, a hot dog or a slice of pizza. (But the four-piece box of McNuggets still has 1 gram of trans fats and the six-piece box has 1.5 grams, accord­ing to the company’s Web site.)The switch was a boon for the com­pany, as well.“You wouldn’t think that it would make a huge dif­fer­ence,” Mann says. “But the num­bers of chicken nuggets that we began sell­ing really jumped through the roof.”

Even more nuggets? The idea makes Cooper cluck her tongue.

“What if we didn’t have chicken nuggets?” Cooper, who also is the direc­tor of nutri­tion ser­vices at the Berke­ley, Calif.,

Uni­fied School Dis­trict, asks. “What if we just said, ‘OK. We want to roast or saute or grill chicken?’ Chil­dren do not need chicken that looks like stars and giraffes and dinosaurs. Just serve chil­dren real food.”

Our Entrepreneurial Adventure

Wel­come to our blog! We will update you on all things WT (Whole­some Tum­mies) and keep a record of our adven­tures to small busi­ness ownership.

For those not yet aware, Whole­some Tum­mies is a brand new, excit­ing kids’ food ini­tia­tive. We are seek­ing to change the way our kids view their school lunches and to assist those time starved par­ents every­where with a task that rep­re­sents noth­ing but a has­sle each day!

WT will pro­vide to your child each day a healthy, fun and deli­cious lunch that is deliv­ered directly to their school! We will use only fresh ingre­di­ents — never processed with no hydro­genated oils, refined sug­ars or arti­fi­cial any­thing. “The Dirty Dozen“
will always be organic, hor­mone and pes­ti­cide free — only the best for your children.

Imag­ine the day when you will no longer have to stare into the refrig­er­a­tor and think “What do I make for lunch today?” Imag­ine the day when your child will enthu­si­as­ti­cally look for­ward to lunchtime! With menu items such as Whole Grain Pizza Dip­pers with Veg­gie filled Tomato Sauce or Sweet Potato Pan­cake sand­wiches, lunch will never be bor­ing again.

We look for­ward to launch­ing this at your child’s school by Fall of 08. For more info, email us at info@wholesometummies.com.