Sometimes the most simple of things can be made even simpler when we take them into our own hands. All it takes is a quick glance at the ingredients of some popular food products to figure out that things might be not quite right.
I won’t get to heavy into the politics here but from my understanding our bodies can better utilize the energy from un-processed whole food ingredients. (Yes, there is salami in these bentos, but I am showing you how easy it is to source higher quality, lesser processed ingredients.) Here we pack our own lunches each day. We love our little Easy LunchBoxes bento style containers.
Come check out my 30 Days of Healthy Lunch Box Meals, a free downloadable PDF.
There has been a lot of focus on starting the new year off right with mindful eating. The great news is you have come to the right place. All year long we celebrate healthy, whole foods on MarlaMeridith.com. Why not take a few small steps and start packing your own lunch each day? Back in October I launched Project Lunch Box and you guys have been very excited about it ever since. You keep asking for more and more. I love your enthusiasm and commitment to this project.
By the way you can grab a Project Lunch Box button for your blog to if you feel so inclined to spread the word about all the fun & health. This is what it looks like…
There is a square one too if you desire that. You can size it any way you wish.
I love seeking out the best ingredients. These days you can find the finest of foods at stores like Trader Joe’s without putting a huge dent in your wallet. Farmer’s markets are always a great option for fresh, seasonal produce and artisan food vendors.
For ourselves and our kids we should treat ourselves daily to the best foods we can find.
No matter where you go and what you read you can figure out that foods that are closest to nature are the ones we should eat. Our bodies crave ingredients they can identify with. “Foods” that are pumped with hormones, antibiotics, preservatives and overly refined ingredients loose their vitality and become empty, useless calories. Not to mention toxic.
About a decade ago I saw the value of changing my diet for good. I cut out refined sugars and made every move possible to cleaner, more sustainable food choices. My skin cleared up, hair got shiner and it became easier to control my weight. My moods brightened and became more consistent too.
Without a doubt, our bodies and minds function much better with real food. Having trouble with your weight, hair, skin and moods? Try limiting those processed foods and hop over to the world of real food.
Let’s face it we are no longer living in the early 90’s when pockets were overflowing with huge amounts of cash. (OK that is a bit extreme) Some peoples pockets were.
These days it is in our best interest to spend money where it really counts. Places we can see great returns. Why not spend money on your greatest investment? Yourself and your loved ones. In our house a good part of the spending money goes into fueling our bodies with the healthiest, best tasting, high quality foods we can find. Organic, minimally processed foods are the ticket to happiness over here.
Purchasing bigger quantities of ingredients at the store you will not only save large amounts of money, but your body will thank you too.
Waste Not: Re-Use and Recycle
I cannot fathom dumping huge amounts of trash each day. We all ready make enough of an imprint. The least we can do is drink from re-usable containers (we like Sigg & Klean Kanteen) These bottles and containers might cost a bit more up front, but after using them for a few weeks you will gladly watch your expenses drop at the grocery store. When I am at school for lunch I see the trash bins overflowing with juice boxes, take out containers and store bought packaged meals. That is not cool.
Together we can help re-use, recycle and breath better air.
Here is a glimpse of where all that extra waste is going. It changed my mind for good and might yours as well. It is called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it will freak you out. Big time.
To think there is at least two zones in the Pacific where trash floats and collects. Each 2X the size of Texas. I’ll think about that next time I float in the ocean…or drink a glass of water, or throw out a piece of trash.
Mindful guys, we all need to be a bit more mindful. Just saying.
One Size Does Not Fit Most
As with everything in life you need to calculate your own budgets, taste preferences, time management and food choices. As a family of four we need to custom tailor foods to match our own needs and preferences. For example, my kids eat a heck of a lot more carbs then I do. They are little kids who burn through food at rapid speed.
We are not gluten free, nut free, grain free, carb free, vegan, vegetarian or fat free. I am pretty much sugar-free & my kids are a bit more tolerant of sugars than I am. We seek balance and it is that easy.
I do however embrace all kinds of lifestyles, food allergies and such. That is why you will find recipes that cross the spectrum of diet preferences. You will find recipes that are tagged: gluten free, nut free, grain free, carb free, vegan, vegetarian or fat free. A very good thing for those needing the choices.
Portion Control & Balance
Making your own lunch box and carefully selecting the ingredients encourages portion control. The size of the lunch you pack depends upon your daily caloric needs based on your age, fitness and dietary needs. You can ask your doctor or a registered dietician about all that stuff. I cannot provide that info here.
Do we eat salami every day? No. Occasionally sure. (I know that question will come up….)
We balance fat & carbs. We also eat lots of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. If salami is not your thing then use any other meat, poultry, tofu. Anything.
Eating great food fuels the soul, body and mind. It taps into joy whether we realize it or not. Selecting your own ingredients and letting your kids help too will encourage the consumption of foods that you never thought possible. When my kids have access to cleaned & cut veggies and homemade meals they eat it. When is the last time you put a tray of cut veggies on the table? Do it. You will see how quickly it is devoured.
Eating right is part of our very own Happiness Project. By the way, have you read that book by Gretchen Rubin? If so then you know how much the smaller things in life can impact the BIG picture. If you have not read it then you must. My Happy Posts derive from this concept. This sums it up in a nutshell (on the book cover) “Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun”
Finding happy in everything.
In this Lunch Box
Well you might be wondering what is in this lunch box…I thought you’d never ask! We love great cheese, artisan salami and fresh fruits & veggies. We also include some snacks in our lunch boxes because we like to keep energy levels big by eating every few hours. In these photos I have my recipe for homemade granola which I will be sharing shortly. It a great way to get some quick energy and it has no processed sugar in it.
Generally I purchase our food at Trader Joe’s, they have a big selection of natural foods at great prices. The companies listed below have large product lines, browse around their websites for offerings.
- Applegate Farms (organic salami)
- Creminelli (cured salami)
- Volpi (cured salami)
- Zoe’s Meats (uncured salami)
- Cowgirl Creamery (organic artisan cheese)
- Ile De France (a wide range of high quality cheese)
- Kerrygold (amazing cheese from Ireland)
- iGourmet (an online source for Charcuterie and more)
- 1 ounce unprocessed Cheese
- 1-2 ounces artisan Salami
- some gluten free, low salt Rice Crackers (or any crackers you wish)
- Leafy Salad Greens
- cut & cleaned Veggies
- fresh Fruit or Homemade Apple Sauce
- homemade Granola or Muffins
- We do not eat salami too frequently. It is part of our mindfully balanced meal plan. You can find it cured or uncured if you are concerned about nitrates. Even meats labeled as "uncured" are still "cured" with natural nitrates found in sources such as beets, sugar, celery and sea salt.
- Instead of salami you could use any other meat, poultry or protein source you desire.
- Watching your fats? Go with a low-fat cheese instead of a fuller fat one.
- 30 Days of Healthy Lunch Box Meals MarlaMeridith.com
- Annabel Karmel Books & a website on feeding babies, children and families
- Easy LunchBoxes Our favorite lunch boxes
- Gastrokid Chefs that understand the importance of creating little foodies
- Momables A great source for great bento box ideas
- The Happiness Project Find happy in everything
This post is linked up to TidyMom’s I’m Lovin It Fridays
MarlaMeridith.com mindful disclosure: None of the products mentioned have endorsed in this post to do so. These are my own thoughts, experiences and decisions. Do what works best for yourselves and your families. Nothing here is meant to be a debate, just good old life experience & realizations. If you have comments and concerns about mindful eating behaviors or health and diet questions please seek the help & guidance of a qualified professional.