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Brown bagging it, For on the go “health conscious” families

By   /   August 19, 2009  /   Comments

A Healthy Albany, written by Kristen Taylor.

It’s a cozy thought to send your child to school every day with a homemade meal lovingly packed in their lunchbox. Sweet, yes. However, with today’s hectic mornings of single parents or both parents working, finding the time to get quality food in that Hannah Montana pouch may be your biggest obstacle.

Kitchen efficiency is my job and my passion. As I find myself back in my old café I am realizing once again that everything runs smoother when you are prepared. The stress is the same whether you are running out of carrots with the juice bar line to the door or scrambling to find the peanut butter as your child’s bus pulls up to the corner.

Stress is definitely one of those morning evils that can wreck the rest of your day, but don’t throw in the towel — or the brown bag — just yet! The same ease of laying out the days clothes the night before can be achieved with school lunches.

Lately, I have discovered that a week’s worth of clothes and a week’s worth of lunches are even better. (Call me slow, but I’m getting there.) There are so many shortcuts you can take to properly set yourself up for an easy breeze of a morning without compromising the quality or nutritive value in your child’s food.

My child loves to eat pancakes (from scratch) for breakfast. It’s so much fun to do this together on lazy weekend mornings but making that happen on a Monday is a joke. So we take advantage of our weekend time and make a huge batch of each. It’s the same mess to clean up and only takes about twenty minutes longer. I then layer them in freezer containers with wax paper between.

Another trick is making each meal count. Rather than regular white flour pancakes we use flour that has more nutritive value and then I always pack it with even more protein power. Grinding healthy nuts such as walnuts or almonds in a food processor and storing them in the freezer makes a super fast way “beef” up any meal!

On your next school morning when the alarm doesn’t go off and minutes matter, try popping a frozen homemade walnut pancake with fresh chopped bananas on top — drizzled with maple syrup — and watch your child smile!

An easy breakfast leaves a bit more time in the kitchen for packing a lunch. I once heard Tony Robbins, an inspirational life coach, jokingly say, “Warning: Dates on the calendar are closer than they appear.” We all know when Monday is rolling around so why does it shock us each week?

A little bit of prep time before Monday hits is the key. Even if your kid is hooked on PBJs, you can still stir the peanut butter and the jelly in one big container and store it in the fridge. Grabbing one jar is easier than two.

For better health value, try sneaking in various nut butters instead of peanut butter such as almond or walnut. If you toast their sandwich bread (which, please tell me by this point, is not white flour) you can add even more goodness by spreading a thin layer of coconut oil before adding your PBJ mixture.

Many fruits are hearty and can be pre-washed and kept ready to go. Red grapes, bananas, apples, pears, oranges are Mother Nature’s way of blessing the lunch fairies. I adore food that comes grown in its own biodegradable packaging!

Kids like to dip. Spreads and salad dressing can be made up for the week ahead. Be careful of conventional bottled and packaged versions that may contain MSG and high sodium. It’s amazing how fast carrots and celery will disappear when they have something yummy to dip them in! It’s an added bonus when the dip is healthy itself, like hummus.

Last year I slaved in the kitchen, but we ate very well. This year is a fresh new start with fresh new shortcuts and much less stress. At this rate, I’m hoping by college I’ll really have it down!

Do you have any healthy FAST lunch ideas to share? E-mail me at Kristen@beegreenfoods.com.


A Healthy Albany, written by Kristen Taylor.

Kristen Taylor is a raw food chef and author. She is known for her creative food passion and enjoys turning favorite traditional dishes into bedazzling raw food delights. She is the owner of Bee Green Foods based out of two locations: Albany, Georgia and Tucson, Arizona. Kristen travels spreading the joys of the raw food movement. She teaches classes and specializes in personal chef services and lifestyle coaching. Find her online at BeeGreenFoods.com.
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  • Published: 2201 days ago on August 19, 2009
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  • Last Modified: January 28, 2010 @ 10:20 am
  • Filed Under: Health
  • Tagged With: Health, organic


  1. [...] Bown Bagging It. For on the go health conscious families, The Albany Journal August, 2009. [...]

About the author

Kristen Taylor is a natural lifestyle expert who teaches and writes about whole and raw foods. She is the owner and creative genius behind the national organic brand Bee Green Foods. She authors the popular blog, THE BUZZ, a journal of raw and organic foods. http://beegreenbuzz.blogspot.com/

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