I got this book from a McGraw-Hill voucher I received from a dear friend who knew that I’m crazy over books In the spirit of a healthful diet for my toddler, I was attracted by the tagline:
How to Plan, Prepare & Pack Stress-Free Meals Kids Will Love
Unlike other how-to books, this one is written specifically for parents who have concerns about diabetes, weight issues or food allergies.
The book has 4 sections:
1. Get Ready! – discovering your child’s food likes and dislikes, basics of nutrition and applying what you have learned into meal planning
2. Get Set! – Guide to planning meals that includes lunchbox packing, creating a kid-friendly kitchen, a quick list of nutritious breakfast-on-the-go for mad Mondays and menu rotation charts with a guide to keep your child on track to nutritious eating.
3. Go! – Over 60 recipes for lunch, snacks and treats
4. More food for thought - resources, product sources and websites
Written by an early childhood educator (McClendon) and a freelance writer (Shauck), the book is written in a chatty and witty style, which is sure to make you laugh as you plan these meals WITH your children.
In memory of her sister who died from diabetes, McClendon’s desire “to improve the health of future generations in a fun way” shows as she includes jokes, cartoons, graphics, quips and quotes throughout the book.
Involving children right from the start, the book has lists of fruits, vegetables, dairy/non-dairy products, proteins, legumes and meals for parents to interview their children on food preferences.
Tapping into child psychology, she advises parents to approach the interview a seasoned marketer/salesperson would i.e. chose the right time, place and person for the job. Also, a handy tip is to ask for the child’s top favourite foods in each group.
I like Section 2 especially about packing the lunchbox as it has simple ideas for breakfast, 6 tips on how to “counter junk food jealousy” and also “7 ways to encourage picky eaters”. The best is to let the picky eater prepare the food – he’s been eating cheese, peanut butter and butter sandwiches because he spreads them on himself!
I have only tried out the “Chocolate Chip Cookies” recipe, which didn’t turn out too well because I substituted brown sugar for white sugar (couldn’t find fructose). I now know that you can get fructose from organic shops.
Other recipes I want to try are:
- “Asian Pasta Salad”,
- “Tangy Chicken and Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce” (sounds like a Western version of satay),
- “Paul’s Savory Steak Soup”,
- “Spicy Mac n Cheese with Broccoli” (minus the spicy),
- Laticia’s Pozole de Pollo (Chicken Hominy Thick Stew),
- “Fruit Leather”,
- “Eskimo Ice Cream”,
- “Great Anytime Sweet Potato Knots” and
- “Whole Almond Milk”.
The selection above is only skimming the surface as many of the recipes require an oven and Western/imported fruits, nuts and other ingredients. For the average family in Asia, healthy eating may turn out to be a big budget affair.
Let me try out these recipes above – I’ll definitely share if they turn out good ok?
Get your copy: The Healthy Lunchbox by MARIE McCLENDON & CRISTY SCHAUCK