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Back to school lunch box idea

September 7, 2011


Yes, I’m back after a long holiday away. I have to say that I really missed My Mezzaluna. It was a really strange experience realising how much this blog has become part of my life. I kept worrying that the few of you that do actually know I exist may give up on me. Thanks so much if you kept coming back looking for news only to find nothing new. I promise to make it all up. I have had so many experiences over the summer break that I can’t wait to share.

The boys have finally, after 2 months and 15 days gone back to school. I enjoyed the time spent together, but it was also time to get back to normality after such a long break. I think we were all ready for it. Over the summer quite a bit changed in our lives. The most profound being that Gianluca was tested for food allergies. With all his chest infections, wheezing and skin rashes my gut feel told me he was allergic to something he was eating. The results came back showing that he is severely allergic to gluten, eggs and dairy. He is also allergic, but not as severely to maize, millet, oranges, peaches, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, peas, red cabbage and lentils. My first reaction was one of relief. Now we could actually help him get better with food. This after all is my terrain. After a while the shock set in. What the hell was I going to feed him? Gone are cereals, bread, muffins, pizza, pasta, chocolate milk, yogurt, cheese on crackers, all the things he loves.

To make matters worse he also tested positive for candida. Now, as you probably know from my blog, I have been treating myself for candida for some time by following a candida diet. This means no sugar. It also means nothing that turns to sugar in your body, so no or very little carbs. Candida is the new 21st century disease brought on by the over use of antibiotics. antibiotics disrupts the flora balance in your gut. Once the good flora in your gut is over powered by bad flora like candida albicans your problems begin.

So, this summer my challenge has been to cook gluten, diary, egg and sugar-free. It is not easy, but I am up for the challenge. The most difficult meals are breakfast and lunch box ideas. After our very first morning of preparing lunch boxes I realised I have a major problem on my hands. I will have to cook more in the evenings so that I have left overs for the lunch box the next day. Sandwiches and wraps are no longer an option.

Rice is a grain that is gluten-free it is also one of the very few grains that are allowed on some candida diets. I am still figuring the whole grain/candida thing out. You can actually cook rice specifically for making the rice salad or just cook more than you need for your meal and use the left over for your salad. My kids love rice salad. It’s healthy and it looks nice too.

Over the years I have learned a few things about what to pack in school lunch boxes that kids will actually eat. In my previous life as a kindergarten teacher, I was always a bit horrified at what some kids got in their lunch boxes. You could bet your boots that after 20 minutes or so  after eating high sugar, refined carbohydrate snacks those kids would be bouncing off the walls only to come crashing down with lethargy as their blood sugars dipped again. That was my original motivation for starting this blog: to help parents feed their kids better. Ironically, it is now my kid that has health issues related to food. It looks as though you just can’t win them all!

My top tips for school lunches:

1. Get lunch boxes with compartments. That way you can put a few things into the box without them getting mixed up and messy.

2. For older kids you can get a Tiffin Tin like the one above for warm food and left overs.

3. Don’t give them too much, it’s only going to come back home.

4. Cut things up. Cut sandwiches/rolls into 2 or 4 pieces so that they can hold them without the insides falling out.

5. Cut fruit into bite sized chunks or give fruit like strawberries and grapes. If you cut an apple into pieces you can either dip the pieces into a bowl of water with lemon juice to keep them from discolouring or pop them into an airtight container immediately after cutting them.

6. Make sure they have a little from all the food groups.

Complex carbs (vegetables, whole grains), protein (slices of left over beef, chicken, ham, turkey or chunks of cheese) and

fresh fruit. If you’re sending juice make sure it is 100% pure fruit juice with no added sugar. You will need to read the labels.

7. Cook more for dinner so you have left overs for the next day.

Lunch Box Rice Salad

There is nothing scientific about this salad. There are no measurements. You chop up the vegetables into small cubes in whatever quantity you fancy.

I used the following:

About 2 cups of cold cooked rice, preferably brown rice

3 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into small cubes (or you can use cherry tomatoes cut into quarters)

1 large carrot, diced into small cubes

1 stick of celery cut into small cubes

2 small cucumbers, peeled if not organic, cut into small cubes.

1 small handful of freshly chopped parsley

6 or so fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 can of tuna, drained and broken up (optional)

A glug of olive oil

salt and pepper

Mix everything together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Taste and check seasoning.

I placed the rice salad into the bottom section of the tiffin tin and then placed cut up fruit into the top section. My kids love this. I hope yours will too.

By the way, this would make a great light lunch or even picnic food.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. Yasmin @ Red Panda Bakes permalink
    September 7, 2011 10:33 AM

    It’s good to have you back, Edwina! And what a fighter you are taking up this challenge. I look forward to reading about your summer!

  2. September 9, 2011 9:17 AM

    What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

  3. September 13, 2011 4:29 AM

    Right to the particular and well written! Why can’t everyone else end up like this?

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