Kids can make great sandwiches and serve them hot, cold, grilled, wrapped, rolled and open-faced. When kids use ingredients fresh from their organic container veggie garden, they can create the best tasting, healthiest creations. Kids can make seasonal sandwiches with the fresh produce, like herbs, avocados, salad greens, asparagus, or tomatoes as they become ripe in their garden. Organic whole grain bread makes great sandwiches. Kids can try organic sourdough, Italian, rye, pumpernickel, ciabatta, or pita bread to discover their favorites. Organic nut butters without added sugar and fresh organic fruit, dried fruit, or homemade preserves on organic whole wheat bread are perennial favorites with kids. Organic whole grain wheat, rice, or corn tortillas make the perfect wraps. Kids can stuff wraps with organic veggies and organic rice, quinoa, lentils, or beans. Roasting veggies like bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes add texture, color, and terrific flavor to the sandwich. Kids can try different condiments, like pickles, pesto, salsas, olives, hummus, chili, or chutney to add zing to any sandwich. The secret to a great sandwich is balancing the bread with the crispy, sour, salty, sweet, spicy ingredients.
Kids often think that food comes in packages and the source of food is the grocery store. The food industry is a massive collection of farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers who often choose profit over food quality. Crops are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides and foods are enhanced with additives, fillers, and dyes. The chemicals used in the process of getting the food to the store make their way into the land, water, and air as well as the people who eat the food. Kids that grow an organic patio veggie garden know that the source of food is the seed from which the plants grow. Organic crops are not grown with synthetic pesticides, synthetic or sewage sludge-based fertilizers, genetically engineered seeds, nor irradiated to kill bacteria. Farmers markets are a great source of local organic foods. Overly processed foods are not the healthiest choice even if they are organic. A fresh organic apple is healthier than organic junk food that has been processed, stored and transported. More and more doctors are practicing preventive medicine and encouraging their patients to eat whole organic food to prevent and cure many diseases. By purchasing organic products, parents can use their purchasing power to vote in favor of the organic approach to farming. Kids can find the source of food by growing their own organic garden almost anywhere, in a school garden, a community garden, or on the patio or roof.
When parents and kids discover the shocking ingredients in the meals at their favorite Fast Food place, they understand why there is a rise in diabetes, obesity, allergies, and other diseases. Sugar, artificial chemicals and colorings, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat are not ingredients to grow a healthy kid. With organic fruit and veggies growing in containers on their patio, kids can get food fast by picking an organic fig from the tree or tomato from the bush. Buying organic at the store is expensive. Large industrial organic farms continue to grow large monocultures of organic greens all over the world, bag them in plastic, and ship them 8,000 miles to big box stores, such as Walmart and Costco, leaving giant carbon footprints. Kids can grow a container of salad greens near the kitchen that bring the most nutrients possible from the foods, since plants deliver their full nutritional value when eaten fresh, and pick the outside leaves for dinner. Kids can get fresh organic in season produce at their local Farmers Market, where its fun to talk to the farmers that grow the food. Families can also join CSA programs and pay the farmers upfront each season for a weekly delivery of fresh produce. Kids get great satisfaction growing their own food in a patio, school, or community garden and develop a feeling of connection to the land and their neighborhood.
When kids plant their own organic container food garden on the patio, they will eat what they grow. Kids can grow a pizza garden in a raised bed or fruit trees in large pots. Urban gardens are springing up between strip malls and fast food places inspiring kids around the country to grow their own food. Community gardens are making a healthy difference as an inexpensive plot can produce food for the whole family. Healthy lunch boxes start with the organic ingredients from those gardens. Some schools, like Santa Paula High School, have local farms deliver fresh organic produce and local chefs working with students to create a healthy menu. But many schools still have processed, low nutrient meals provided by large food processing corporations. For a healthier lunch, kids can pack salads, sandwiches, and leftovers in insulated lunch boxes with reusable food containers that are BPA, PVC, and phthalate free, and dishwasher safe. Kids can find insulated stainless steel thermos, stainless steel utensils, and ice packs to create healthy meals they enjoy. Stainless steel and plastic systems are available with lots of sizes and shapes for dips, soups, sauces, puddings, and delicate foods. Kids can keep food warm by pouring boiling water into their thermos before filling it with soup or putting it in the freezer to keep their pudding cold. When kids grow an organic veggie garden, they can pack fresh, healthy lunches in reusable containers.
In the summer, kids can make an inviting organic melon ball salad for a snack, outdoor meal, or party treat. Thousands of years ago kids in Africa were enjoying watermelons. Watermelons are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and lycopene for a healthy cardiovascular system. Cantaloupe contains a broad spectrum of nutrients and is rich in beta-carotene. Kids can grow melons in their organic raised bed garden or get in season organic melons at their local Farmers Market. Honeydew melon is also rich in nutrients and is a pretty green color to make a rainbow melon ball salad with the red watermelon and orange cantaloupe. Small kids can ask an adult to cut the melons in half. Using a 2 inch cookie scoop, kids find it fun to make balls of melon. Kids can refill the scooped out watermelon skin with the melon balls for a colorful display.
Wraps are wonderful treats for kids’ lunches as they are delicious, portable, and varied. Kids enjoy organic whole wheat tortillas which make great wraps for kids to try new foods. Kids can be adventurous and stuff their wrap with different varieties of grains, beans, salad, and veggies. Gluten free organic brown rice wraps and organic multigrain tortillas make additional fun choices. The tortillas can be heated in the oven with organic extra virgin olive oil for five minutes to refresh them, taken out and sprinkled with nutritional brewers yeast for extra flavor, protein, and B vitamins. Kids can roast sliced organic veggies, sea salt, and olive oil at the same time and cook five extra minutes until tender. An organic whole wheat tortilla stuffed with organic salad, veggies, beans, and whole grains can make a delicious highly nutritious meal that can be easily eaten anywhere. Kids find that leftovers taste even better in a wrap. Parents with finicky eaters can introduce new veggies mixed in rice and their favorite sauce in a wrap. For adventurous Kid Chefs, wraps can be filled with almost anything, such as hummus and taboulli, a Mediterranean wheat salad, or roasted veggies and Quinoa, rich in nutrients and all the essential amino acids. Kids can take a wrap on hikes, picnics, and car trips. Wraps are perfect for a meal on the go as well as for school lunches.
Kids can make a quick and easy snack for parties or afterschool with a garden harvest of organic Swiss chard and a fresh organic baguette. Swiss chard is rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins and is not native to Switzerland but to Greece. Kids can wash several leaves of organic Swiss chard and cut the center stalk out of the leaf. Put 2 cups of chopped leaves in a blender with 2 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp organic walnuts, ¼ cup organic extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp fresh organic lemon juice, and ¼ tsp sea salt and blend until smooth. Cut slices of baguette, cover with the Swiss chard pesto, and serve.