Shiver Me Timber…

If I’m being honest, when I started our transition to healthier eating it had very little to do with the kids and everything to do with me.  I was fed up with feeling tired, unmotivated and squeezing into jeans because I refused to go up another size.  As I started making changes to my own diet I started to notice that I was much more focused and had a lot more energy than before.  This peaked my interest in the topic of food and how it effects more than just our weight.  This might sound silly and/or ignorant, but I had no idea the role food played in our brain’s ability to function.  The deeper I dove into the topic the more interested I became in how food effects our kids…especially as their brains are growing and developing.  Long story short, I’ve done A LOT of reading about pediatric nutrition and some of what I’ve found is really shocking.

What surprised me the most is that when I’m reading about what kids needs in terms of nutrition to grow healthy brains and bodies seems to be in stark contrast to what the USDA and other government programs promote as “healthy”.  The other day I stumbled across this article and was in absolute agreement with the author.  A peek at the obesity rates in the U.S. reported by the CDC reveal a disturbing trend about this epidemic.

In the article listed above the author discusses the importance of limiting sugar intake to keep insulin levels low and stable.  High insulin levels not only effects weight gain, but can lead to other diseases such as Type II diabetes.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 4 tsp (20 grams)/kids, 6.5 tsp (32 grams)/women, 9.5 tsp (42 grams)men. The average American consumes 22 tsp/day (that’s 110 grams)!  Last year as we were exploring healthier eating options, we recorded our average daily consumption of sugar. My kids were eating what I thought was “relatively” healthy, but when we got to the end of the week we discovered they were averaging close to 70 grams of sugar per day. It’s no wonder that 1 in 3 children born after the year 2000 will be diagnosed with Type II diabetes before they are 50 years old.

All of this is to give you a better understanding of the purpose behind this blog.  The other day I went to school to have lunch with my son and I watched the kids fill their trays with chocolate milk, an ice cream sandwich, and a processed cheese sandwich…most kids bypassed the fruits and veggies altogether. I came home and calculated the estimated sugar content of this lunch to be around 31 grams (remember the recommended sugar intake for kids is 20 grams/day.)  I was saddened to know the effect that food would have on these kids’ brains, moods, and behavior for the rest of the day. (I’m not saying this with any judgement…my kids ate this way for years.)  I can’t say I blame the school district because on paper it does look like they are meeting the daily recommendations.  In my opinion, the entire “nutritional system” in the U.S. needs an overhaul to reduce the amount of sugar consumed…especially by children.

So, now for today’s lunch!!  Can you believe that it’s March 23rd and we have a SNOW DAY!  We’ve had a brutal winter and so far, spring hasn’t been much better.  The kids were beyond excited when they woke up to the news that we were snowed in at home.  The boys have been on a pirate kick lately and I saw a cute pirate pizza idea on-line a long time ago (I wish I could remember where!).  I thought this would be a perfect lunch for this snowy afternoon.

Today’s lunch includes:  pepperoni pirate pizza, homemade “Twinkie” boat, (recipe from Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious cookbook and baked in this canoe pan), nuts/sugar-free chocolate chips, brocolli

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7 Responses to Shiver Me Timber…

  1. Jamie, I saw your photos of your lunches shared through a mutual friend on FB and I loved them. I am so inspired. My kids are older, but they never buy lunch at school and I am so tired of the same old stuff every day. I just bought the boxes you recommended and am going to start packing more variety in their lunches. I know I won’t achieve the level of creativity, but hopefully my 13 and 16 y/o won’t expect that although the 16 y/o would probably love it if I did. I already own Maria’s book and just signed up for her newsletter. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I just came across your site and I have to say you make absolutely the cutest lunches ever! It’s totally inspired me to make some for my boyfriend too (granted, he’s 29, but I know he’d get a huge kick out of it) :) Also wanted to ask what you do with all the sandwich scraps cos I noticed that you cut out shapes for most of the sandwiches. It’s a lot of waste no?

    • Jamie says:

      Thanks, Tina! That’s a GREAT question and you’ve given me an idea for a future blog post! Sometimes when I cut a sandwich with a cookie cutter it leaves little behind except for the crust. However, sometimes if I use a smaller cookie cutter or cut something out by hand I do end up with scraps. In those situations I have a set of mini cookie cutters from Pampered Chef and I cut little shapes out of the sandwich or at least out of the meat/cheese and put them in a container for my younger son’s lunch. I try really hard not to let the scraps go to waste.

  3. Sarah says:

    Have you seen Food Inc.? It helps to explain why the USDA often doesn’t promote the healthiest foods.

  4. Jaidean says:

    So I’m just starting into this journey really, but your first paragraph is exactly me. Every winter (so like 7 months of the year here) I get my winter blues and this year I wanted to see if changing up my diet could help. I def. felt a difference in energy. My son just started kindergarten and eats school lunches daily! I knew they weren’t the best, but yikes! Time for some more changes (and he would love these cute lunches every day…so fun)! So very interesting and thanks for sharing!

  5. Kelli says:

    Seriously super cute lunches!

  6. Thanks for your response, Jamie! When I do eventually have kids, I’m definitely making them lunches like this (and like my mom used to make us) instead of having them go for the junk they serve in school cafeterias. I remember how my high school caf used to serve up a whole dinner plate piled with french fries and it was actually one of the most popular “lunches” there. I bet if more parents did what you do, they’d also have fewer problems with kids rejecting veggies solely on the basis that they’re veggies (usually before they’ve even tasted it!).

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