strengthing families from within
By Adam &
How to take your lunch
on a culinary adventure
irst, please allow me to
apologize. Most FamFitter
articles have been penned
by my wife, Kristin (aka
“The Smart One”). She is in
her first year as a full-time
special education teacher, taking a few college
courses, coaching elementary cheerleading
and killing it as a mom like always. So, for now,
you get me.
This even busier lifestyle we’ve taken on has
given me the opportunity (sarcasm) to help out
with a few more duties around the house. Aside
from writing this article, one area in which I
have enjoyed helping is with the kids’ lunches.
When I started, my routine consisted of getting
up and then trying to throw whatever I could into
a lunch box. If there wasn’t time for even that, it
was cafeteria lunch for my crew. This lasted until
my oldest son challenged me to think differently.
Elias, a freshman in high school, is very serious
about whatever sport is currently in season.
He’s always putting in extra work trying to get
an advantage. (We are diligently working on
getting him to apply that same enthusiasm
toward his schoolwork.) Not getting enough
out of school lunches or what I was packing, Eli
asked if there was a way to not only get more food
20 EXTOL : FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020
in the lunch box but he wanted healthier food
as well. This was not a request I was expecting
from a 14-year-old, especially one who shares
my love for doughnuts, pies, cinnamon rolls...
Well, you get the point.
I began thinking about the protein (chicken,
lean beef, etc.) and how I could supply veggies
that would be welcomed. I started with some
simple dishes like chicken & rice, pork tacos,
spaghetti (pasta made with garbanzo beans) and
meatballs. These were usually things I could put
together from what we ate for dinner the night
before. A saving grace is that he has access to a
microwave in the high school, which allowed
me to be a little more creative.
Soon our oldest daughter, Sydney, and Kristin
were eyeing Eli’s lunches. These two are not picky
by any means, but if food is not cooked to their
liking, you may often get a bit of an upturned
nose. To my delight, they loved my lunch-packing
as well. Thus, I found myself having to figure
out how to put together three reheatable, to-go
lunches for not one but three people every day.
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept
of food prepping, but let me just reinforce how
great it is. I cook on Sundays for the week and
make lunches not only for Kristin, Sydney and
Eli but for myself as well. I have made a habit
of spending part of the day cooking several
proteins, some veggies, a baked-good and batch
of granola. It feels good knowing I can give my
loved ones a little help on their busy weekdays.
You may recall we have four children. I know
at least some of you are thinking I’ve completely
ignored my younger two, Molly and Brahm.
Well, only slightly. They ask me to make their
lunch as well, but I am not yet able to give them
the same treatment since they do not have
access to a microwave in elementary school. I
do tell them that if they’d like me to pack their
lunches, I won’t pack junk.
This policy did not go over well at first, but we
have evolved to a point where they are packing
their own lunches with some supervision. Where
Brahm and Molly tried before to pack chips,
pretzels, popcorn and crackers (you know, the
four main food groups according to kids), after
some initial coaxing, one of the first things they
look for now is even salad (!!). This might be
my favorite part of our school lunch culinary
adventure: seeing all my kids expanding their
pallets and trying to make more conscious choices
without a push from this parent.
Here are a few of our favorite dishes: