Packing a Lunch

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I was packing a lunch for my son this morning and I flashed back to the night before when I was in the store getting the last of his school supplies.  I was peeking into other people’s shopping carts and scoping out what they were buying and wondering if what they were purchasing would wind up in a child’s lunch boxes.  Then I wondered what  influenced those particular selections.  Then I started to think of other possible alternatives for my son.  Here are the three questions I ask myself as I plan my son’s lunches:

  1. Will it “go bad” before lunchtime?
  2. Is it healthy?
  3. Is he going to like it?

I usually pack things like celery sticks, nut butters, grapes, and things like that.  I steer clear of processed foods.  Although my son has never complained, I would like to switch it up a bit.  Any suggestions?

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Pump Up Your Water

I don’t have to tell anyone how important it is to drink good, fresh water, but there are some that find that plain water is boring and tasteless.  I love water, but sometimes I like to “Pump it up”.

I like to add things to my water to change up the flavor and pack in a few extra health benefits.  I have a favorite that I like to drink after a meal.  It is also great post-workout.  Here is what you’ll need:

* I almost never use measurements, in this case you will want to use just a few sprigs of the herbs if you want the drink to be thinner.  Otherwise the drink will have a thicker stringier consistency.

iBourgie’s Green Breath Fresher

Filtered Water (reverse osmosis)

Cilantro

The juice of two lemons

Parsley

Fresh Ginger

A blender (I use a NutriBullet.  Find one that finely chops the herbs)

Place all of the ingredients in your blender and blend to your desired consistency.  I prefer to make my very thin.  I add a lot of water and about three sprigs each of cilantro and parsley.  .  Another added bonus to this is that it gives your the freshest breath!!  You can eat a clove of garlic and drink this down and no one will ever know.  Not only does the drink give you amazing breath, there are health benefits to consuming these ingredients.  All of these ingredients are helpful to your digestive system and are great for detoxing.

 

Make Your Own Breakfast Shake

It is said that the most important meal of the day is breakfast and for most of us the mornings are the busiest and most hectic part of the day.  We have to get ready get ourselves ready for the day and us parents also have to get our children ready too.  I also workout in the morning as well.  Those few hours before we actually walk out into the world are packed with tons of tasks that must be completed to ensure a great day, but we must make sure that our bodies are given the proper fuel to make it through.  My son and I don’t not enjoy eating food early in the morning so I have started making our own breakfast shakes that we can take with us and drink in the car on our way to start our days.  The breakfast shake I make has the same “base”, but I will sometimes toss in some “additions” depending on my mood.

If you would like to try it, this is what you’ll need:

*As with all my recipes, I rarely use measurements.  Mix according to your preferences

IBourgie’s Breakfast Shake

A blender (the single serve blenders work well and you can find them for around $20.  If you are making shakes for the whole family, us a larger one)

Almond Milk

A teaspoon of Coconut Oil

Cocoa powder (optional)

Ground flax seeds

Nut butter (almond, peanut, hazelnut, etc.)

Greek yogurt (vanilla or plain)

Blend all ingredients in your blender and enjoy!!  Vegans may substitute the yogurt for a soy yogurt, leave it out or add a banana to provide a thicker and creamier texture.  Also feel free to add a fruit of your choice.  This recipe is great as it is.  It is loaded with protein will keep you satisfied.

Kale Chips

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I love kale!!  My best friend turned me on to it a little over a year ago and I have been eating it so many different ways. I put it in smoothies, I juice it, I eat it raw, I eat it cooked, but one of my favorite things to make are kale chips.

Kale chips are a perfect low carb, low calorie, gluten free snack.  My family loves them.  We eat them in lieu of popcorn and potato chips.  The wonderful thing about them is that you can add whatever seasoning you want.  My favorite is lemon pepper.  I also love Cajun seasonings too.  If you would like to make kale chip, here is what you need:

iBourgie’s Kale Chips

kale

olive or coconut oil

seasoning of your choice

parchment paper

cookie sheet

Cut washed and thoroughly dried kale to desires size.  Then modestly coat the kale with the oil (This took a little trial and error. If you put on too much the kale will cook too fast and fry, then you will be left with little burned burned pieces). Next season to taste. Then lay the kale out on a cookie sheet covered with the parchment paper.  Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes on 300 or until the edges turn slightly brown.

Quick and Easy Tomato Soup

I am always trying to find ways to make use of everything I have.  Leftovers are never thrown out.  I came up with a great use for spaghetti sauce when you aren’t quite in the mood spaghetti, but you could not resist the sale your local grocery store had on marinara sauce.

I used my extra sauce to make a delicious tomato soup that all my family loves.  The wonderful thing is it is pennies per serving and easy to make in a pinch, and spaghetti sauce already has many of the spices and herbs added.  I prefer a chunky soup so I add a few extras.  Feel free to leave them out for a thinner smoother soup.  As I have mentioned in other recipes, I only use measurements when it is critical to the success of the meal.  Use much or as little as you need to accommodate your needs and tastes. Here is what you’ll need:

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iBourgie’s   Creamy Chunky Tomato Soup

Spaghetti sauce (I prefer Newman’s Own Marinara for its all natural ingredients)

Bell Peppers (diced)

Onions (diced)

Diced tomatos

Heavy Cream (optional)

Olive Oil or Coconut oil

Drizzle olive oil on the onions and bell peppers and saute until the onions are caramelized and set aside.  Then warm spaghetti sauce on medium heat until the desired temperature. Now you may stir in the heavy cream.  Finally add bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and onions.

This soup goes great with a salad, grilled cheese sandwich, or solo.  For a little added protein and texture you can throw in a little quinoa.  Also, if you are vegan you will ditch the heavy cream.  The coconut oil gives a nice creamy flavor without the use of dairy.

What’s for Dinner….or Breakfast or Lunch?

I love to cook, but I don’t always have a lot of time.  I also love to introduce my child to healthy options that he will also enjoy eating.  My best friend turned me on to a food that I had not  been very familiar with, but now I eat it almost everyday–Kale.  Her exact exact words were “Kale is King.  Kale is King”.  She actually said it twice so I felt I should at least try it.  She was absolute right.  Kale has so many good things in it.  It is super high in Vitamin K which  is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.  Kale is also has a  high concentration of vitamins A and C.

kale-benefits

Another food that I have fallen in love with is quinoa.  Quinoa is a great alternative to pasta or rice.  It high in protein and fiber and is a desirable addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.   It is also a great filler for soups, stews, and chili when you want to add more protein, without adding lots more calories and animal fats.  You can cook a large batch of quinoa and store it in the fridge and use it as needed, but I don’t recommend longer than 2-3 days.  It cooks fairly quickly so it can be prepared at a moments notice.

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I have a simple recipe that combines both of these two foods that I love and has become one of my 7-year-old son’s favorites.

iBourgie’s Quinoa and Kale

(I only use exact measurements when it is absolutely crucial to the success of the meal. In this case it isn’t. Use your own taste and judgment when planning this meal.  Tailor it to you needs.)

What you will need:

Kale

Quinoa (cooked)

Pesto optional (you may make your own or use store bought.  I prefer Classico)

Olive oil (about a teaspoon)

Water (about 1/4 cup)

Cook quinoa according to directions and set aside.  In a large bowl add the olive oil and toss in kale for an even coating. Lightly saute kale on medium heat with the water until it turns bright green.  Then stir desired amount of pesto to the quinoa.  Next you may add the kale to the quinoa or eat separately.  My son and I prefer to mix the two.

This is a great post-workout meal and it also tastes good warm or cold.