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Ask the Expert: Back to School Meals

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CafeMom is excited to welcome Debbie Koenig to Inside the Kitchen! She's here to answer your questions about easy dinners and lunches for the upcoming school year. 

Debbie Koenig is an award-winning food, diet, and parenting writer, and the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals & Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents (William Morrow, 2012). Her blog, focused on family-friendly cooking, is also called Parents Need to Eat Too. Koenig lives in Brooklyn with her omnivorous husband and their stubbornly non-nivorous six-year-old son.

One mom who asks a question will be entered to win a copy of Debbie's book, Parents Need to Eat Too! Debbie will be answering questions until August 10th. 


Giveaway rules:

  • The Ask the Expert: Back to School Meals giveaway starts 7/30/12 at 1pm (ET) and ends 8/10/2012 at 11pm (ET) (the "Giveaway Period").
  • Enter by replying to this post with an appropriate comment during the Giveaway Period.
  • Multiple entries are permitted and encouraged, as it increases your chances of winning.
  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing of all eligible entries to each receive a copy of Parents Need to Eat Too.
  • The random drawing shall occur on or about 8/12/12.
  • No Purchase Necessary.
  • Open to US, DC, and PR residents 16 years and older.
  • Void where prohibited. Click here for the rest of the Official Rules.
by on Jul. 30, 2012 at 1:25 PM
Replies (51-60):
0Kit0
by New Member on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Are there any lunches that don't require a microwave?

0Kit0
by New Member on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:47 PM

We do a lot of sandwiches and things you can put in a thermos. So, lunch is often make it the morning of. Are there any meals we could make ahead of time?

DebbieKoenig
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:56 PM


Quoting periwinkle163:

 My son gets tired of the same old same old in his lunch, I try to mix it up, but would like to add hot foods this year. Any tips on keeping it safe and warm enough to eat in the lunchbox? Also any tips on which warm foods hold well?

An insulated food container--one made to keep hot foods hot--should do the trick! We have a Thermos Funtainer that's served us well. A couple tips:

  • Before putting in the food, fill with hot water for a few minutes. Pour out just before you add the food. This will help maintain the heat longer. 
  • Make sure the food you're putting in is really hot--too hot for your child to eat at that point. Even the best container will lose some heat by lunchtime. If you put the food in at your kid's preferred temp, it'll be cold by then.

As for what types of food hold well, I'd go more for soupy, stew-y things. The liquid seems to help everything stay at a nice temp. Chunks of food wind up cooling down too much, in my experience.

DebbieKoenig
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM


Quoting angie2568:

 How do you feed 3 kids with eczema that have allergies and take zyrtec, have sensitive stomachs and are very picky without repeating the same foods daily?

Oldest @ 14-d, will really eat any meats, shrimp, green beans not other veggies, eats strawberries and grapes no other fruits. 8 yr old son - will only eat nuggets, hot dog, mashed potatoes, fries, ham if he can get it smashed into potatoes and 1 greenbean takes him an hour to eat - - he has gone alittle over a day without eating bc I tried the you will eat or go to bed hungry with only water and bread to eat/drink. 4 yr old - he will eat most of what I give him.

The issue is we dont really know what causes the flair ups of eczema to be worse bc the allergy tests came back as them being allergic to all things so I do the zyrtec.  They use the lotions to stop itching.

Any suggestions?

Wow, Angie, that's tough. I have two thoughts: First, what does the allergist say about what they can & can't eat? I'm not clear on that part from reading your post. And second, get your hands on a copy of Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter, which I linked to in a previous post above. 

It sounds like you've fallen into the trap of catering to each child's wants, which is a tricky place to be! How much of this is likes/dislikes, and how much is medical necessity? That has to play a pretty big role in the way you proceed.

powow65
by Kimmy the new cook on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:05 PM
Gl to all
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
DebbieKoenig
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:16 PM


Quoting things4us5:

Our oldest will be starting school this fall, we also have a 3yr old, a 2yr old, and a week after school starts will have a newborn also. I'm on bedrest until the end of my pregnancy....how in the world can I make the changes of rutine easyer on ALL my children? I'm a SAHM and they are used to having 3 homecooked meals a day...

Oh my gosh, I want to come over and cook you dinner! Which makes me wonder: Do you have a support system of any kind where you live? I'm part of a group here in Brooklyn that uses a site called MealTrain (there are others like it, too) to organize the delivery of home-cooked meals to new parents. Most of the time we don't know the family we're feeding--it just feels good to do something nice for someone. Perhaps there's somebody in your life who could organize something like that for you? They could sign up to bring dinners or lunches--whatever you need.


DebbieKoenig
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:19 PM


Quoting LovesFredric:

Do you meal plan? If so, how would you recommend getting started & what are some best practices. The whole thing seems so intimidating to me, but I would like to be better organized in this area!

I don't meal plan--I tried it, but it turns out that most of the time I don't feel like eating the meal I'd planned to make! I'm fickle that way ;)

One system I know of that does seem to work for most people: Rather than planning specific meals for each night of the week, designate Monday as Mexican night, Tuesday as pasta, Wednesday as chicken, etc etc. You're not restricting yourself too much ahead of time, but when each day arrives your possibilities are limited to the category you've designated. I find it much easier to come up with an idea when I can immediately cross out entire types of food, kwim? That might be a good way for you to get started with planning--it's kinder & more forgiving, I think.

rookie-bride
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:54 PM
•You can make a batch of soup once a week. It will stay hot in a thermos if you make sure that it is piping hot when you put it inside in the morning. Make sure that it isn't one of those plastic ones though invest in the $8-$10 metal thermos you can find them anywhere like target or walmart. •Celery filled with peanut butter •bruschetta- just small thin toast pieces with feta cheese, chopped tomatoes and basil- make it a fun thing purchase a small basil plant for your windowsill. Pack the items separately like a lunchable (to make it fun) •Hard Boiled egg- Kids will eat this if you also make it fun...coloring eggs doesn't have to be done just at Easter! •Baby Carrots and Ranch dressing •Peaches and cottage cheese (seperate containers or one of those ones that have a divider in the center •Cereal These are just some ideas. I do not advise Lunchables. Our stomachs are designed to handle only one serving of red meat per week. Birds and fish can be eaten 3 x's a week. The best nutritional advice that I can give you is the 80/20 rule. Our bodies are designed to need 80% alkaline foods (leafy greens, grapefruit (the only fruits that is alkaline based) and most veggies except for tomatoes) and 20% acidic foods (the common american diet, this is why so many ppl are on Prilosec) Acidic foods are lemons and citrus, tomato sauce is acidic, meat is acidic. If you are interested here is a website with a list. http://www.ehow.com/list_7246044_list-alkaline-foods-acidic-foods.html
rookie-bride
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 4:04 PM
You can make a batch of soup once a week. It will stay hot in a thermos if you make sure that it is piping hot when you put it inside in the morning. Make sure that it isn't one of those plastic ones though invest in the $8-$10 metal thermos you can find them anywhere like target or walmart. Celery filled with peanut butter bruschetta- just small thin toast pieces with feta cheese, chopped tomatoes and basil- make it a fun thing purchase a small basil plant for your windowsill. Pack the items separately like a lunchable (to make it fun) Hard Boiled egg- Kids will eat this if you also make it fun...coloring eggs doesn't have to be done just at Easter! Baby Carrots and Ranch dressing Peaches and cottage cheese (seperate containers or one of those ones that have a divider in the center Cereal These are just some ideas. I do not advise Lunchables. Our stomachs are designed to handle only one serving of red meat per week. Birds and fish can be eaten 3 x's a week. The best nutritional advice that I can give you is the 80/20 rule. Our bodies are designed to need 80% alkaline foods (leafy greens, grapefruit (the only fruits that is alkaline based) and most veggies except for tomatoes) and 20% acidic foods (the common american diet, this is why so many ppl are on Prilosec) Acidic foods are lemons and citrus, tomato sauce is acidic, meat is acidic. If you are interested here is a website with a list. http://www.ehow.com/list_7246044_list-alkaline-foods-acidic-foods.html
pampire
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 4:54 PM
Does non-nivorous mean he refuses to eat?
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