Meal Plan Monday: Less Packaged Food

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Do you ever fall in the packaged food rut? We are there.

Ever since we discovered my son’s allergies I’ve been relying on packed food for often. BA (before allergies) we ate a lot of beans, grains, fruit, and veggies with a constant supply of nuts and nut butters. We cut out all beans since he showed some intolerance to those tested but are hoping to reintroduce soon. We also had to remove several grains, some veggies and fruit and all nuts. That leaves me a bit perplexed but my son is feeling so much better and his skin is looking and feeling great. He has had a few cross-contamination episodes that have caused flare ups but I really want to establish and healthy baseline so I can accurately gauge the effect of foods we reintroduce.

I’ve been attempting sun butter sandwiches with gluten-free bread but he will only take a few bites. Sometimes he will tolerate the bread but never the sun butter. I’ve tried a few different brands to no avail. He will occasionally eat sun flower seed kernels.

He loves GF noodles and will happily eat them anytime they are served. I’ve never liked serving my family a lot of pasta but it is an easy food for a 2 year old.

I’ve also been giving my kids unsweetened applesauce, mostly to get them to take their probiotic (it’s a powder that needs to be mixed in something). I also load it with chia seeds and hemp seeds.

I don’t consider any of those too bad, my only concern is they take up a large portion of their calories instead of whole food. My biggest concern is the large number of products like fruit strips, GF cereal and cereal bars I’m now buying.

I’m hoping to move away from those easy convenience foods and back to whole foods, while also avoiding those foods my son has an intolerance too. If you have tips or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments. You can see the full list of the foods my son is avoiding here.

Salad and GF Pasta

Meal Plan

Breakfast

  • Overnight Oats (for me)
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes
  • GF Muffins
  • Toast with fruit and sun butter
  • GF Cereal

Lunch

  • Veggie Stuffed Pita
  • Veggie and Hummus Sandwich or Wraps
  • Garden Salad
  • Baked Potatoes with Steamed Greens
  • Leftovers

Snack

  • Veggies and hummus
  • fruit
  • smoothies
  • Chips and avocado
  • applesauce with seeds

Dinner

I’m trying to add more greens to my meals. We have 3-4 meetings this week in the evening so I may not be cooking much but I’ll have a plan on the days I can.

Have you taken a Meal Planning break this summer? I’m always tempted too and I may from time to time but I always do better with a plan.

 

 

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Comments

  1. BarefootJacq says:

    Adding a big green smoothie to our morning routine has been my favorite way to get more greens in (for my youngest anyways, my oldest doesn’t like the texture). Also making snack bars myself with things like dates, seeds, dried fruit saves a bit of cash and I feel better that it’s less processed.

  2. My sister and I recently moved in together and have been menu planning somewhat haphazardly. We made veggie burgers and kale salad this weekend, enough to last 4 nights total, and we made extra buckwheat (an ingredient in the burgers) to use in a fried-rice-style dish later in the week. We also made pesto and plan to have it on a socca-crust pizza. I think we should manage to squeak through to the weekend, when we get to do it all over again!

    Have you considered doing homemade applesauce, or would the texture bother your kids? Warm, chunky homemade applesauce was a favorite among my siblings and me.

    • I have leftover rice I’ve been using to throw quick meals together but I should try buckwheat to mix it up a bit.

      I make homemade applesauce in the fall when apples are plentiful but this time a year it is a little too expensive. I can get large containers of unsweetened applesauce at Costco for a much better price. Thankfully most of the time he eats raw fruit well including a few apples a day.

  3. Kristen says:

    I try to avoid processed foods by having lots of quick/easy recipes I can make with ingredients on hand. My favorite is tofu scramble with mushrooms and an allergy friendly pancake recipe like this: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/03/08/vegan-gluten-free-vanilla-blueberry-buckwheat-pancakes/
    Good luck!

    • Oh Kristen, Those pancakes look like heaven! Thanks for introducing me to them. My son loves pancakes so I’ll have to give them a try. I always keep blueberries in the freezer to add to my batter. I haven’t had the best luck with GF pancakes though. They are ok and my son will eat them but they aren’t anything to write home about.

  4. My toddler had a blast making spaghetti squash with his class (they’re trying a new fruit or vegetable each week this summer). He got to scrape the strands out with a fork while his teacher held the squash half. Since your son loves noodles, I’d try that out with some sauce that he likes. We’re adding it to our summer meal rotation, too, since you can either microwave or roast it (we do roasting on our grill in the summer).

    Also, it’s not clear if you’re using packaged applesauce, but it’s super easy to make unsweetened applesauce yourself. I just use a modified version of Alton Brown’s 10-minute microwave version, i.e., no honey, butter or cognac, and a cup of half unfiltered apple juice and half water.

    Lastly, my toddler is/was a huge fan of fruit strips and fruit snacks, but he’s really gotten into eating dried fruit bits, like raisins, dried blueberries and cranberries. That might be a good replacement for you, too.

    Happy eating!

    • Hi Lorena, Thanks for the tips! I had forgotten about spaghetti squash. The last time we had it we all liked it ok but it made a huge mess. Next time I’ll slice it up before I scrape it.

      I’ve been using packaged applesauce from Costco, it is unsweetened and pretty inexpensive. Not as healthy as homemade but cheap and easy. I used to make my own and will again in the fall when apples are less expensive. When I make it I only use apples and a little water and that is it. We all love it.

      My kids are big raisin and dried fruit fans. I just have to watch the cross-contamination. Raisins are easy because we can throw a few boxes in my purse to pull out when we are in the car. That is really when they eat most of the processed stuff. At home I offer fruit or other real food. The packaged snacks are mostly for in the car. I’ve never given them fruit snacks but they love the fruit strips.

      thanks again!

  5. A few meals I make for my family that would work for your little one are these:

    I stuff avocados with a combination of the following ingredients depending on what I have on hand: quinoa, salsa, bread crumbs (could do GF), corn, sundried tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, and a type of cheese (though I know you don’t do dairy, that is the one thing I am having trouble giving up!). I stuff the avocado and bake it at 350 until the mixture browns.

    Also, I make a butternut squash with sauteed onions and garlic all pureed together and usually a quinoa as a side dish. I mix the quinoa in the soup to make it easier to eat for my little girl.

    Hope that gives a few more ideas to your wonderful menu!

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