Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lunch Box Ideas: Healthy Meals for Schools

Since the kids and I have gone back to school, planning and sending in healthy lunches and snacks are quite a challenge.  I first started back in Sept trying to give myself a 30 day challenge.  I soon realized that was not about to happen with time to take and post photos. So, now many months later, I have enough photos to put together a post and hopefully to inspire some of you to send in healthy lunches.  Much of this stemmed from what I have seen in lunch boxes in the past and present, and wanting to have children eat real food for lunch instead of bars, squeeze pouch foods, goldfish, hot dogs, lunchables, or just same old mac and cheese, day after day.
I post some photos on Facebook when I can rather than waiting for a full post. 

Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

 Fried rice with fruit for snack and an orange.
 Home-made pizza with broccoli and pears.
 Breakfast for lunch with cinnamon swirl break, chicken sausage and half a banana.
 Don't remember, smoked salmon, fresh mango with salad, and yogurt with strawberries, honey and cinnamon for snack.
 Lunch of rice and beans with chicken and veggies with side of fruit.  Snack of grapes, crackers and black olives.
 Snacks of home-made yogurt cups with fruit on the bottom and cinnamon.
 Half hard boiled egg, parsley potatoes, toast and watermelon.  Snack of yogurt cups.
 Snack of home-made hummus, pita and olives.  Lunch of pasta with smoked salmon, herbs, and side of broccoli and grapes.
 Fresh tomato salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
 Grilled cheese with grapes, peach, and tomato salad.
 Home-made spring rolls with chicken and mango, watermelon. Snack of yogurt cups with fruit on bottom.
Home-made hummus with zataar, veggies and quinoa bean crackers.  Don't recall what's in the thermos for lunch.

 Pasta with almond cream sauce and chicken with steamed romanesco. Snack of fig bar and strawberries.
 Korean dumplings with dipping sauce and edamame.
 Snack of bean and rice crackers and green apples.  Lunch of sandwiches and steamed broccoli.
Lunch of bean and rice crackers, celery, store bought chicken and macaroni salad.

Lunch of smoked salmon, olives, crackers, tomatoes, and pears.  Snack of yogurt cups with honey, pears and cinnamon.
Lunch of home-made bacon and broccoli quiche with strawberries.  Snack of labne, cucumbers and fig bar.

Lunch: home-made quiche with cucumbers and pears. Snack yogurt cups with fruit on bottom.
 Kids lunch: grilled cheese with sauted zucchini. My lunch: salad with haloumi cheese, squash and tomatoes with pomegranate dressing.
 Beet cream cheese sandwiches with ham slices.  Fruit salad with raisins.
Lunch: spring rolls with chicken and mango, tomatoes and apples.  Snack: guacamole and chips.

 Beet cream cheese is made with roasted beets, cream cheese and a dash of salt whirled in the food processor.

Home-made chicken "nuggets" or fingers.  Thinly sliced breast meat marinaded in buttermilk, salt, paprika, and herbs overnight.  Drain and dredge in panko and herbs. Pan fry or oven bake. 

Containers and details: 
  • Lunchbots divided containers (bento)- note on that do NOT put them in the dishwasher as the directions say.  Our lids are almost fully peeled of color.  There are many newer styles.  
  • Kids Konserve round containers- great seal and do not leak- for now. Great canvas lunch bags!
  • Glass container are from Crate and Barrel but the lids are now loose, and they do leak. CB lets you buy them individually but Libby brand is available for 8 pack at Target.
  • Plastic ones from Container store and Marshalls. 
  • Thermos brand thermoses available at Target.  I found these the easiest for them to open and kept the food hot.  The newer (cooler ones) are really wide and too hard for the kids.  
  • Target spring/summer collection has cute and small plastic containers that are perfect for snacks and small lunches. 
  • World Market is another great place for tiffins and other small containers.  
  • Planetbox is great if your kid eats out of the container, but for us, this is really inconvenient since the kids take out and plate their food at school. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Montessori Child at School and Home (3-6)

I tried to recap my discussion with parents into their ages, work at school and things they can do at home and things parents can do with their children.  This is really brief and a bit all over, but I hope it can help.

Breakdown of the Primary 3 year cycle in development, abilities, and capabilities.
1st year: (2.5- 4 years)
  • Allow them to do more at home: chores, getting dressed, helping out, cooking, cleaning,
  • Read with them and read at higher levels
  • Don't interrupt focus and concentration
  • Help them develop confidence- key to focus, concentration, and good work habits
  • Children are able to play alone at home and give parents time to work and do adult chores.  They need to become aware of patience.
  • They are being exposed to the sounds, and possibly the 1-10 quantities and symbols
  • As they are closer to 4 they will be introduced to larger quantities and the decimal system possibly with addition
  • Depending on the child they will be exposed to the sounds and the cursive letters that correspond. We introduce writing before reading in Montessori.
  • We help them refine their large and fine motor skills especially their dexterity in the fingers and wrist- it's a preparation for writing. (At home: work with flour to make dough, very different skill than play-dough).
  • We also help them inhibit their movements by teaching them control and coordination.  This helps them with self control.
2nd year: (4-5 years)
  • They are internalizing their work, don't push
  • May not be as focused at school, but they are learning from the others
  • Quantities, number symbols, large quantities, addition, and possibly subtraction will be introduced (depending on the child).
  • There is a lot of repetition, this helps "incarnate" their knowledge.  The repetition and the material gives them a firm grasp of the concepts so that once the next lesson is given, they are ready.
  • They will be working with the golden beads for a long time, maps, and other sensorial/ exploration work.
  • The moveable alphabet and beginning of writing is introduced along with phonograms (2 sounds creating a third "ch")
  • many are straddling the younger years with the readiness for maturity
  • Allow for independence
  • Introduce them to the concept of consequences and follow through
  • Implement chores, rules, and agreed upon consequences before incidents occur
  • Read with them and help them recognize their sounds and numbers (when presented)
  • Help them become patient and understanding by not giving into them or turning to them when they demand your attention
  • Start game nights, family outings, family dinners and cooking

3rd year: (mostly ages 5+)
  • Be consistent on your "rules"
  • Invite children to come up with family chores, rules, grocery lists, and also their own consequences
  • Begin to enforce patience by setting timers, or giving timelines. Reinforce them and make sure they know it or understand it before walking away.
  • Needs vs. privileges: help them understand basic needs and what they are privileged with in their lives. 
  • Consequences can be certain privileges being taken away- they must know this before.  Do not react, but enforce prior discussions.
  • Limit media to weekends and even then to an hour or less
  • Read higher levels, chapter books and help them build vocabulary
  • Read and then ask questions about content.
  • Parents can take turns spending time with individual children and ask them what they'd like to do, spend time to get to know your child
  • This is the year of leadership in the environment, they blossom and it's sudden.  Once they are on a path of abstraction (less materials), they move quickly.
  • Children are ready for larger questions to be answered, very curious, very scientific, showing readiness for cosmic education/ Elementary
  • Children will be exposed to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Regarding media:  I strongly urge you all to put it away and allow it on occasion.  It is EXTREMELY evident who watches TV and also when they watch it in the morning.  It is a huge distraction in their mind and their focus and concentration on the materials are lost.  If media is not good for a developed adult brain, think of what damage it is causing the young developing brain. 

 Chores, refining fine motor skills, helping out at home.
 Experiencing nature, and playing on their own, time to think and be creative
 Writing before reading. Children write with the moveable alphabet
 100 board.  Children practice the sequence of 1-100  and explore by learning patterns in numbers.
 Helping prepare a classroom meal by peeling garlic. Refining fine motor skills and contributing to the community.
 Controlling their impulses by observing a friend with hands behind their back.
 Associating quantities of the decimal system with their symbols
 Working with flour and dough at home for refining fine motor skills and helping with chores.
 Counting 1-10 and associating a quantity with it.
A very young 3 year old refining his motor skills with nuts and bolts.
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