Back to School

Kids 9-resize

Ahh, back to school.  Fresh haircuts, new backpacks, sharp outfits, and the sunniest smiles from our children.  Most parents will beam with pride.  Even more so for parents seeing their kids off to school for the first time.

Back to school is a time for new beginnings and a great time for our little ones to start forming good eating habits.  After all, teaching them to like good nutrition is a way to empower them for the rest of their lives!  Better not wait until the New Year to make smarter decisions– now is the perfect time for kids to hit the reset button.  New beginnings = new habits.

“That’s great and all,” you say, “but back to school is a busy time for most.”  After school activities, parent / teacher meetings, and homework.  So. Much. Homework.  If you’re a working parent, surely you’ve got homework of your own too!  No wonder our kids end up with a bologna sandwich or a PB&J on one too many days… Most parents don’t have the luxury to make healthy, diverse lunches with fresh ingredients.

Fortunately, there are solutions. In Orange County, California, The Lunch MOB delivers to schools around the area.  Kids from participating schools have access to delicious lunch entrees and healthier snack options perfect for after school programs.  For lunch, students have a selection of yummy entrees like Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs, Crunchy Fish Soft Tacos, Mediterranean Flat Bread Pizza, and California Sushi Rolls.  For the traditionalists, Mac and Cheese or Chicken Strips.  Take a quick tour of our menu!

If you live in Orange County and want healthier options for your kids, please help The Lunch MOB spread the word by requesting us at your kids’ schools.

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The Lunch MOB was founded in Irvine, California by a mechanical engineer and a 6th-grade math and science teacher– parents who genuinely wanted to help other parents.  Learn more about Jonathan and Aileen here.  

Healthy Recipes for Kids Part 2

In our last post, we presented you with some incredible tasting, kid-friendly meals. Well, if you loved last month’s post, there is more where that came from. Sit back and enjoy as we present Healthy Recipes for Kids Part 2.

Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Portobellos

For this recipe, the elements of vegetarian lasagna filling are used. The ingredients include ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and spinach. Mix these ingredients together and then spoon into roasted Portobello mushroom cups. For the best results, very large Portobello caps are recommended. Place in a 350 degrees oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the spinach is heated through. Be careful not to overcook the mushrooms. The meal can be served with tossed salad and a whole-wheat dinner roll. Spaghetti tossed with marinara sauce can also be used in serving this amazing dish.

Fish Sticks

This recipe can be prepared at home just within the same amount of time as that of a box of  frozen fish sticks. The difference is that home- made ones taste better and are much more nutritious. Create a full meal by serving the fish sticks with roasted new potatoes, lemon wedges, coleslaw and a drop of tartar sauce.

To prepare, choose your favorite fish such as talapia or halibut and cut into strips. Dip fish strips into an egg wash and then into seasoned panko. Place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the sticks are golden brown and flaky on the inside.

Crusted Cornmeal Chicken Nuggets

Your kids will love these nuggets paired with their favorite dipping sauces. To create these little masterpieces, cut chicken breasts into bite size chunks. Dip chicken into an egg wash and then into seasoned cornmeal. Place on a foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. This is a great way to create a delicious crunch without having to fry the chicken in oil. The meal can be served with carrots and steamed broccoli.

Burgers Around the Cheese

This recipe is a neat take on the traditional cheeseburger. Rather than placing the cheese on top, we put the cheese in the middle! Choose from any hard or semi-hard cheese such as Asiago, Parmesan, Gouda or a mixture of cheeses if you prefer. Form your burger around the cheese and grill as usual until juices run clear. This dish can be served with any of your favorite summer picnic foods.

We hope you enjoyed our two-part series on healthy recipes for kids. Here at The Lunch Mob we take great pride in providing fun, nutritious meals that kids will love to eat. It has been our experience that when food is prepared with only the freshest ingredients combined with a fun presentation, kids simply cannot wait to take a bite. If you are looking for a nutritious and affordable lunch time solution for your growing students, please consider checking out The Lunch Mob. We would love to talk with you and tell you more about our incredible lunch catering program.

Healthy Recipes for Kids Part 1

School children are a special demographic indeed. In order for their healthy minds and bodies to function properly throughout the school day, they need proper nutrition. The Lunch Mob offers parents the option of having us provide wholesome, nutritious meals for their children to enjoy during their school lunch hour. We provide a plethora of different foods that school cafeterias may not have access to and we use our healthy recipes to prepare the foods in such a way that your child feels they are getting a meal straight from your kitchen. Our school lunch options help your children develop healthy eating patterns at a young age so that they may develop the habit for life.

We love helping parents provide nutritious meals for their children at school so much that we wanted to present a few healthy options for you to create at home as well. Below is the first part of a two-part series that presents 7 healthy recipes for children to try at home. They are kid-friendly and help children develop a love of whole grains and healthy foods. The recipes are also simple to prepare, naturally lower in calories, rich in vitamins and rich in minerals.

Chicken Fingers in Almond Crust

This recipe replaces the deep-fried and batter-dipped nuggets which is not a healthy food choice.  To prepare, coat the chicken tenders in a seasoned almond and whole-wheat flour mixture, then place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the juices run clear.  This recipe contains almost half the fat of traditional breaded chicken tenders making it a healthier choice.

Gnocchi and Chicken

This recipe is great as a weeknight comfort meal for kids. Start by bringing a large pan of water to a rolling boil. Add the gnocchi and cook while frequently stirring for two minutes. For the next one or two minutes, stir in peas and cook until the gnocchi become tender.

Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts into chunks and coat with flour. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Transfer the chicken to pan, sprinkling with 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and salt. Continue cooking chicken for 5 minutes while occasionally stirring until slightly brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest.

Next, add one tablespoon oil to the pan and then add chopped carrots, celery, thyme, onion and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender while stirring occasionally for 7 minutes . Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and stir in about 1 cup of broth. Let the broth thicken and then add the cooked chicken. Add the peas and gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes while gently stirring until the gnocchi are hot.

BBQ Baked Beans and Sausage

The key to helping make baked beans healthy it to choose a brand that has the lowest sugar and sodium content. Simply heat the beans and add your favorite cooked lean sausage (we like turkey sausage) and some collard greens. Cook on the stove until the sausage is heated through and greens are soft. This meal can be served with cornbread and coleslaw if you choose. This meal is a great source of fiber and protein.

If you enjoyed these quick and easy recipes, stay tuned for our next post where we will give you 4 more meals your kids will love!

 

School Lunch Program: How to Deal with Picky Eaters

Is you child a picky eater? Most kids go through some period of time when they refuse to pick up the fork. Some are worse than others, but it’s something that just about every parent has to deal with at some point. They can be particularly difficult when it comes to anything healthy, ESPECIALLY veggies. If this is something that you have struggled with as a parent, you’re in luck: the school lunch program, The Lunch Mob, is here to help with some tips for parents with picky kids.

Sometimes Full Really Does Mean Full

It’s important to respect your child’s appetite. Children often know when they are full. Kid’s aren’t as good at ignoring signals from their body as adults (like when you’re tired but ignore it). Notice how your kids often overreact to a minor scrape or injury? When their body tells them something kids notice! It’s the same with food. A kid who says that they are full, unless they’re just lying, really is full and should stop eating. It’s important for kids to learn to respect that signal from their body telling them to stop eating. So unless you think your little one is trying to pull a quick one on you to avoid that broccoli, let the veggies stay and respect that they are full.

Follow A Routine

Creating and following a particular feeding routine is a good method of breaking through picky eaters. It enables the child’s body to know and expect big meals and little snacks. Begin by setting time for meals and snacks that you adhere to strictly. If a child refuses to eat at that set time, make them wait for the next serving: they won’t miss it next time. One part of your routine is already set: lunchtime at school. A school lunch program like The Lunch Mob provides kids with healthy meals at a set time every weekday.

Be Patient

It may be frustrating when you are trying to introduce new foods so patience is required. Children have very strong senses. When they try a new food, it is sometimes the first time they have ever had anything resembling it. There’s not a lot of food experiences for them to relate things to. Be patient with them, and maybe try adding in foods that are similar, if not exactly the same, as other foods they like.

Make It Fun

Children often learn well through playing and having fun. It is, therefore, important to incorporate these during meal times. Have your kids help you cook or even make trying new foods into a game. These tactics may work in making your kid warm up to the idea of something new.

Involve Them When Ordering From Our School Lunch Program

Carry your child along when going for shopping at the grocery store; give them a chance to select their favorite fruits, vegetables, and other healthy meals at The Lunch MOB. Have them help you cook so that they see the process and know what they are eating. If they help, they may also feel invested in the idea that it will be something good.

The Lunch Mob is school lunch program that offers all sorts of healthy foods for your child to choose from. With over sixty entree options, The Lunch Mob, is a school lunch program that will keep your child healthy and happy.

Photo credit: Together Counts

The Lunch Mob: Health Food Delivery In a Class Of its Own

Kids are known for having a sweet tooth and tend to reach for any candy and sugar in sight. Unfortunately, these candies that children love so much are high in refined sugars. These sugary treats can have a very negative impact on the oral health of children as they tend to consume them like their life depends on it. There are a variety of tasty, colorful, and healthy food options that can strengthen their teeth and improve their oral health. The Lunch MOB provides a convenient Orange County school lunch program option, cost effective meal delivery service that specializes in a provision of healthy, tasty foods, and ingredients that are packed with important nutrients and elements necessary for healthy growth and development of children.

HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS

  1. Citrus Fruits

The spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, Melvin Pierson, DDS states that different types of bacteria present in a child’s mouth can cause gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. Citrus fruits which are high in Vitamin C such as Oranges, Lemons, Papaya and Strawberries annihilate these bacteria, while supplying needed collagen to the gums. While citrus fruits are essential for the child’s teeth, the fruits citric acid can temporarily deface the tooth’s enamel. This loss of enamel leaves the teeth susceptible to erosion caused by brushing. Dentists recommend that kids wait for at least half an hour before brushing their teeth after they have filled their stomachs with citrus foods or meals. The Lunch MOB, a Orange County school lunch program provider, specializes in only the best, carefully selected farm fresh fruits that are guaranteed to boost kid’s oral hygiene.

  1. Dairy Products

Cavities are caused by acidity brought about by certain starchy foods and carbohydrates like potatoes, breads, and pastas. These foods, once ingested, break down into sugars that feed oral bacteria in kids mouths that aid bacteria. Calcium, Phosphate, and Vitamin D, which are found in dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, or milk work themselves in with plaque and stick to the teeth. This in turn allows the nutrients to increase the Phosphate levels. The end result is the reduction of acidity, repair of damaged enamel, bone rejuvenation and reduction of tooth decay.

  1. Healthy Vegetables

Family Dentist, Jimmy Wuu, DDS of Santiago advises that vegetables are good for naturally scraping away the remains and remnants of plaque from the corners and hard to reach places of kids mouths. He also elaborates how these crunchy foods should be encouraged by parents because of how they mechanically cleanse the mouth when chewing. The Lunch MOB, the top Orange County school lunch program provider, takes care of the ordering, cooking, billing, delivery of these healthy meals effortlessly from a certified commercial kitchen. The meals are carefully wrapped with all the hygienic standards implemented and delivered in warm and fresh conditions. All their meals come with a beverage choice, fresh fruit, or vegetable a snack.

  1. Nuts and Seeds

Oils found in nuts and seeds primarily strengthen the teeth enamel making them more resistant to cavities. Pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds contain the necessary active ingredients and also contain calcium which aids in the protection of bones.

  1. Sugar Free Gum

Saliva naturally loosens plaque while increasing the number of natural antibodies in the mouth. American Dental Association states that chewing on a piece of sugarless gum for more than 20 minutes after meals can help prevent tooth decay.

Unhealthy “Foods” to Avoid

Sugary and sticky foods only enhance damage to enamel and they can be controlled if not avoided. Some of these foods are

  1. Fruit drinks with high fructose syrup
  2. Bubble gum
  3. Raisins
  4. Sweets and hard candy
  5. Carbonated drinks and sodas
  6. Caramel and chocolate
  7. Potato chips
  8. Honey
  9. Taffy

If you are searching for a Orange County school lunch program, The Lunch MOB has over 60 unique scrumptious entrees of fresh salads, vegetarian dishes, and tantalizing fruits and health snacks. They offer a wide range of foods that cater for every taste bud and strive to always introduce new delicacies. Their meals contain no preservatives and are all handled by their well-trained team.

Orange County School Lunch Program: Parent’s Can Be NUTS About Food Allergies – Why You Should Too

Orange County School Lunch Program: Parent’s Can Be NUTS About Food Allergies – Why You Should Too

Every parent of a school age child will attest to how common food allergies have become. Did you know that 25% of food related allergic reactions were in children with no known allergies?

This means that while a child may not have had a previous reaction, the parent should still be ready for the possibility. If a child has had even a minor allergic episode in the past, they are significantly more likely to have a major episode in the future. Orange County school lunch program providers like The Lunch MOB are working to eliminate these types of reactions by providing allergy safe food; unfortunately, not every lunch room is that lucky today. By leaving major allergens on the menus, the school districts are creating an environment that tempts children to eat food that they may have a serious reaction to. There is no way to predict when or where a child may have a food related reaction.

One of the most important things to teach children is to respect other children’s boundaries. Young students may not realize how serious a food allergy can be and pick on those with an allergy. This can lead to isolation, teasing, and bullying. In the worst case scenario, a child may eat a food that they know is not good for them in order to feel like part of the group. By teaching your child to respect their peer’s boundaries, you eliminate the opportunity for bullying. These lessons can be reinforced by working with a Orange County school lunch program provider like The Lunch MOB to create fun, allergy friendly meals that will be safe for your children to share. By providing foods with no known allergens, you will reduce the probability of causing a food related reaction in a child.

A recent study found that one in three children has been bullied for their food allergy. Food Allergy & Research Education (FARE) works to educate both parents and school districts about how serious an allergic reaction could be. This seriousness was illustrated after a first-grad Virginia student, Amarria, died after eating a peanut. The legislation at the time did not allow school staff to give a child another’s medication, even in time of crisis.

The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act provides special grants to schools that stock the medication necessary to stop a serious allergic reaction. FARE helped push for the Epinephrine act in 2011 when food allergy research was on the rise. They were able to push through the legislation in 2012 with the help of concerned parents. Now that this legislation has passed, children like Amarria could be saved by the epinephrine that is stocked in schools around the country.

There are now hundreds of groups that work to educate family and children with allergies. They explain how to turn down tempting foods, how to choose what to eat when going out, and many other aspects of eating with a food allergy. Orange County school lunch program companies like The Lunch MOB continue to support education about food resources in schools. These companies pack and provide lunches that are allergy friendly and still kid-approved.

While you may not have a child with an allergy, your food choices still have an effect on children who do. If you are concerned about the food quality in your school, speak to the principal about a Orange County school lunch program like The Lunch MOB who will ensure all children have safe, healthy lunches.

Photo from Food Allergy Ninja

You Won’t Believe What Soda Can Do To Your Kids

As a provider of fresh and organic food, that is dedicated to titillating your child’s taste buds while stimulating their healthy development, The Lunch MOB , one of Orange County’s leading school lunch program providers, has been engrossed in research bringing light to foods that should be kept away from our loved ones. As a parent, establishing an enjoyable dietary routine for your child may be difficult. This is why you need full clarity as to what foods you need to limit your child’s consumption of, however enticing it may be.

Recent trends in the soda industry targeted at young kids have suggested steering towards the artificially sweetened stuff may be the best option for your child. This has drawn criticism from many about the drawbacks of these sweeteners as well as children’s soda consumption. On the other hand, those whose kids frequently drink the beverage feel reassured they have been provided with an alternative that may be healthier for their little ones. In the midst of this debate arose the results of a study published in The Journal Of Pediatrics, which established a clear correlation between soda consumption and aggressive behavior in children.

Can Soda Make Your Child Aggressive?

The study, conducted on 3,000 five-year-olds from around the country, observed that almost half of the children (43%), consumed at least one serving of soda a day. The study involved the mothers filling out information about their children’s diet, habits, and behavior over the course of two months.

The level of aggression their children displayed was measured on a scale of 1-100, 50 being the benchmark for average aggression levels while anything above 65 suggested worrisome aggressive behavior. The lead conductor of the study, Shakira Suglia of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public health, claims anything above the latter level (65) required an evaluation of the child for possible pathologies of violence and aggression.

Kids that drank no servings of soda scored on average 56 on the aggression scale, as opposed to a 62 for those that reportedly consumed about four servings a day. The relative similarities in all other factors relevant to the study – the tv the kids watched, the candy they ate, the hours of sleep they got – suggested a clear link between the amount of soda they drank and their aggression scores. Higher aggression levels were characterized by tendencies to destroy other children’s toys, get into fights, or attack people.

What Does This Mean For Your Kids?

Though the research shows clear patterns of aggression in kids consuming soda in high quantities, discernible differences are only present when the consumption is frequent and excessive. There is no true evidence that occasionally drinking naturally or artificially sweetened soda will have a nefarious effect on your child’s behavior. As we at The Lunch MOB attest with our carefully crafted meal and school lunch program plans, an occasional treat will neither harm your child nor decrease their interest in healthy foods. Variation is key.

Related Article: The Top 6 Snack Ideas Your Kids Will Love

It must however be noted that treating your child to their favorite soda needs to be done within reason. Besides encouraging hyper-activity, the high levels of sugar in soda can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other life-threatening issues if consumed often. Meanwhile, artificial sugar increases appetite, contributes to unhealthy dietary choices, and can become addictive.

Striking The Right Balance

As soda has no key nutrients that will help kids grow optimally, The Lunch MOB believes they shouldn’t be considered essentials to accompany your child’s meals. We think that in teaching your child to enjoy natural alternatives, you divert their interest from the soda they may have grown to love too much and steer it towards scrumptious healthy snacks involving fruits and energizing, natural sugar.

You may also consider planning when your kids should be treated with the beverage to avoid sharp peaks of energy in your child that could lead to aggression or loss of attention. Allowing soda on weekends will give them something to look forward to and they will actually be able to play the energy boost away. Should you lean more towards non-sugary alternatives, make sure they are FDA approved. It is also advisable to pick the drinks with the lowest caffeine content, as it is addictive and has a much stronger effect as a stimulant on children. Sodas do not hydrate anywhere near as much as water does, and so aren’t the best option when your kids are exercising. Though vitaminized water may appear a good option, eating The Lunch MOB’s highly nutritious meals would already provide your child with all the vitamins and energy they may need.

For more information on how The Lunch MOB helps students and parents prevent this problem, or if you are interested in any Orange County school lunch program, contact us today.

Photo from FoodBeast.com