Sigh..It’s That Time…

“[In school] children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”  – Margaret Mead

And I have been thinking so much that I think I’m going to pull my hair out.

Hehehe…did I scare you?

It’s that time of year again – school starts tomorrow and I have mixed feeling about it.  I’m excited because my little girl starts grade two, and I’m sad because my little girl starts grade two, and I’m frustrated because my little girl starts grade two.

With this new school year comes new experiences.  She’s becoming more independent, her character is shinning through more and she is a happy kid, skipping everywhere.  What a huge difference from this time last.

And with all of this, I can definitely say is that I am really struggling – with the school lunches.  What the heck to pack for her snacks in particular.  Most schools, including her own, have a nut free policy.  This significantly narrows down the choices of what to pack for her.   I can understand why it’s this way, and I don’t think it should be changed.  Also, her prognosis is good but we’re still not out of the woods yet.  So this means I have to be really careful with what she eats.

During the summer while being home with her it was easy to make sure she was getting her veggies and fruit and eating well.  Sure she had her treats but her diet was balanced, and the junk was a treat once in a while, not a daily staple in her diet.  I know it’s important with every kid to have a balanced diet, but even more so for her.  And her activity levels were up with swimming most days along with bike riding and just down right movement.  With the start of the school year, I am guaranteed that she will be sedentary at least eight hours a day, and therefore there is a stronger emphasis on her diet.

It’s unrealistic to think that she will have carrot sticks and apple slices for snacks at school every day.  If I packed that, then I would have a starving kid at the end of the school day, which is not a good thing.  And how could I expect her to have carrot sticks and apple slices every day when the other kids are having chips and other kinds of not so good food?  And what about the good ol’ protein to slow does the digestion rate?  What the heck do you pack if you can’t pack nuts?

So yesterday into the kitchen I went.

First I made a big pot of tomato sauce.  I cooked with it carrots, zucchini, peppers and a full can of kidney beans – yes, I said kidney beans.  When all the veggies were nice and soft I pureed them.  This is what the yummy sauce looked like.  (Today, my daughter is suffering the after effects of the sauce. pfffttt! hehehe).

Then I steamed squash and pureed it.  Now I can use it sneak into baking and meals and make them that much more healthy.

And then I did the same with cauliflower.

And once the sauce was ready, I made pizza sticks for her snacks.  Whole wheat dough, battered with rice bran, and topped with the healthy sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Then onto the cookies.  I let her taste the batter of these soft, chewy cookies and she couldn’t wait until they finished baking.  These chocolate cookies are made with dates, whole wheat flour, quinoa flour and chick pea flour.  Nice and healthy and with protein.  Well balanced.

At the end of the cook fest, this was the end result.  Now I have enough snacks for a month, ready-made sauce for a quick dinner, and easy access to purrees to give regular meals a nice healthy kick.

For someone who isn’t into cooking, I sure had fun yesterday.  I think I just may be getting the hang of it.  Move over Julia…hahaha, yeah right!

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