Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nourishing Portable Food Challenge

One of my favorite Nourishing Blogs is having a Nourishing Portable Food Challenge. In light of the fact that I pack lunch for 2 children each day and they both have different requirements and likes/dislikes (my son cannot have dairy) and I often pack my own lunch for a meeting or whatever, I figure I can share some ideas and maybe figure out a recipe to post too.
You can check out all the ideas for healthy, nourishing portable foods at
Usually when I pack lunches I use the Laptop Lunches Lunchbox System I love these lunchboxes as they help with portion control and it is waste free which is good for the environment. They are plastic, but are made of the safer type plastics that aren't supposed to leach, for kids I really find plastic to be a necessity. The food presentation is wonderful because they are based on the Bento box style of Japan. When the child (or adult) opens the case, the food is ready and looks appetizing, things also keep from getting squished as they would in a plastic baggie.
I frequently make sandwiches for the children with all-natural lunchmeats or a healthy nut butter and raw honey with slices of organic banana, or sometimes an organic jam.
I also frequently pack homemade trail mix. This is my favorite portable snack as it is made with a variety of crispy nuts (nuts soaked in salt water overnight, then dehydrated to help break down the enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid and other anti-nutrients and make them more digestible), organic dried fruit, and a few organic chocolate chips. It is easy to pack and gives them a good balance of protein and carbs to keep them going. Also, if they don't finish their lunch, this is usually something that they an snack on after school too.
I often put either apple sauce (for my son) and yogurt for my daughter with some fruit on top (in the picture it is some organic tart cherries with organic vanilla yogurt. I also put either vegetable or salad. In the picture it is kale for my son and a salad for my daughter. I also frequently put some pieces of cheese or salami or other meat with a few organic crackers (or sometimes without the crackers).
I also frequently send stew, chili or soup in a thermos. The kids always love that. I only send water most days, once a week they can have juice, chocolate milk or kombucha.
I often do a "lunchable" type lunch instead of a sandwich. I just roll up or cut with a decorative cutter pieces of meat and cheese and put those in with some veggie sticks, cut up fruit, maybe some olives, pickles or sauerkraut/kim chi and crackers. The kids love these finger foods.
I also frequently use leftover dinners that may be good cold. Cold pieces (off the bone) of roasted chicken with some hard-boiled egg and maybe cheese pieces along with veggies and fruit. Frittatas are great too, as they are good warm, room temp or cold. They can be cut in a wedge and eaten on the go easily too. They can be any meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and can include a variety of ingredients. Meatloaf is also good cold too.
Many friends and family have told me my meatloaf is great. Here is my recipe (the amounts are not real exact as I usually just throw it together), I put frozen organic corn in the middle of the loaf as my dad always did that and the kids get a kick out of it, but if you are planning to use it for a lunch (sandwich or sliced) that does not work so well, so just leave it without the "surprise in the middle"
Lisa's Meatloaf
Note: These amounts are approximate as I just eyeball it (however, it is 2lbs meat)
2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (if very lean, add some type of oil/fat to the mixture)
1 small or half a medium onion, pureed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Penzey's beef roast seasoning (or use you favorite beef spice blend or other spices)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon organic worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
sprinkle of garlic powder or 1 small glove grated (or finely minced)
1 tablespoon organic tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons salsa
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thouroughly with hands (I find that works best to get it very well homogenized). Cover rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat and mound meat mixture into a free form loaf shape. (If doing a corn surprise in the middle, mound the bottom of the loaf, build up some sides, place frozen corn in middle and cover with remaining meat mixture).
Topping mixture: Mix 1/8 cup of ketchup with 1/8 cup salsa and pour over top of meatloaf to cover completely.
Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Note: You can also shape the meat mixture into muffin tins and divide topping over them, reduce baking time to compensate (they will end up with grease puddled into the bottom of the tin, so remove immediately from tin to avoid them soaking it in or getting too soft at the bottom).

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