Mar 15, 2007

brown bag begins

Routine can put a furniture clamp on one’s brain. Creative functions are put on hold as we attend our To Do List: drop by the post office, dry cleaners, hardware store, respond to email, phone the coach or teacher, fold laundry, clean car, dog, and kids, make dinner, transport kids to the gym or rehearsal or music---you get the idea. It is no surprise to me that coffee is such a long-term fad, where moms like me seek boosts of energy, spontaneity and inspiration.

So when it comes to finding inspiration during that lunch making moment, I was as uninspired as the next person. I am stuck in the muck too; that is how I realized you---and I---needed help. So I started researching online and with other lunch-makers, to compile a list of ideas so when our creative juices are on the fritz, we would have a resource to go to for truly inspired lunch making.

This way, when you look into the fridge and pantry and stand before them like a deer in front of headlights (been there, done that), you can close the door and blog on for some quick jolts of inspiration. Too often in the midst of routine, our creative juices fail us at that precise moment we need them.

We want our children to eat well, to be healthy and well-rounded in their diets. They should have variety, both for basic nutrition and for the exercise of their curiosity. Teaching kids to try new things today will open up a land of possibilities tomorrow. Note to children: taste buds beware, we are on a quest to educate, tease and excite you.

To help you, and myself, I asked many moms about the brown bag lunches they sent to school with their children. What would their children eat? How much did the lunch vary from day to day? What lunch goodies do you consider your best ideas? Any tricks of the trade? How do you incorporate vegetables into their lunch menu? Sometimes, especially on field trips, I walk around during lunch time and take mental notes of lunch contents. I ask the kids what they like, and find out what their parents put in their lunches.

My great fascination likely stems from the fact that I made my own brown bag lunch starting in kindergarten. I ate the same thing almost every day from kindergarten to high school. I had an apple or orange, bag of chips and a sandwich. The sandwich was peanut butter and honey or meat, cheddar, mayo and mustard. In third grade I skipped the sandwich for an entire year---you guessed it, out of boredom---and jealously eyed the Twinkies and Ho-Hos my neighbors devoured. I am glad I didn’t have a Twinkie a day, but I am acutely aware of being bored with one’s food. I want my children to eat healthy and enjoy the goodness of food. Life is short; lunch should be interesting.


Joanna said...

Lunch - that's leftovers, right? Cold, straight from the fridge, maybe standing up ...

GREAT idea Janelle


Erika said...

Very nice Janelle! My daughter goes back and forth on hot lunch and cold lunch at school. Our savior has been the Laptop Lunchbox. It has those compartments that help me pack just the right amount of food and make sure there is a good variety.

But I still need inspiration to steer away from the sandwich... I'll be keeping an eye on this blog.

janelle said...

joanna: I adore leftovers for lunch! And what is it about standing up? You too, huh?

Erika: Laptop lunches? Cool, tell me where to learn more!?

sally said...

I'm the owner of Simbree Energy Foods. Thanks for including Simbree on this list! My customers tell me that Simbree energy bites are a wonderful satisfying quick lunch especially with a piece of fruit and a cup of coffee.

janelle said...

Sally: great to hear from you! I only put product links that have been palate approved by myself and/or my children! We especially love your Oat Almond Pistachio Energy Bars!

bad home cook said...

Janelle is that you in this pic? You're gorgeous! I'm so glad you're doing this blog (blahg?). I need ALL the creative help I can get to feed my two nits. All my mom friends are getting this one. Thanks! It's bookmarked, baby!

Doodles said...

what a great idea janelle. husband and I are RV travelers and are always looking for healthly lunches and snacks. I'm gonna do something on my other blog so maybe we can share I need lot's of inspiration my friend. Good luck on this I'm gonna go search your site some more.

Amy said...

This is great! I can't wait to make lunch tomorrow. Thanks!

sally said...


Looking at your cookie ideas-SImbree Granola (any flavor) works great in cookie recipes!


Kristen said...

I am so excited about your new site. Look forward to reading your ideas!

janelle said...

Julie aka bad home cook: am blushing. Thanks for all the kind words: and promotion!!

Doodles: wonderful, please send me your ideas! Ditto on the inspiration!

Amy: music to my ears.

Sally: oh nice challenge---I better try the lunch box cookies with your granola! Whole Foods sells the bars, but I haven't seen the granola bites... they sound quite lunch-worthy.

Kristen: thank you, thank you!

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