Did you know the Mediterranean Diet was ranked #1 in “diets” by US News and World Report? Well, you do now. It was actually tied with the DASH diet, which is essential for those trying to lower their blood pressure with diet.
Has “diet” become a bad word? I don’t like to use it, especially for something like this, because it’s not a “diet” – it’s a lifestyle. Eating a mediterranean diet is essentially eating like a southern European. That’s my kind of food. The foods eaten in southern Europe/Mediterranean countries are tasty, rich, and nutritious.
When we think of foods in this area of the world, it’s a lot of fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta, olive oil, wine…can anyone argue with how good that sounds. They also have luscious desserts, but they are treated like desserts should be…special foods and not to be eaten as snacks.
The Mediterranean diet is not just reserved for adults. My kids LOVE everything about a Mediterranean diet. The meats, cheeses, breads, and veggies are so delicious – what kid wouldn’t love it? I think we need to stop insisting that our kids eat “kid food” and allow them to have the foods that adults enjoy for lunch.
I will be the first to admit that I do not enjoy packing school lunch. I’ve been doing it now for about 10 years and I have about 10 years left to go. Now I’m really upset, because this is the first time I’ve quantified this little fact. Augh – I should stop writing now.
I do it because I am not happy with the way school lunches have been viewed. Kid food. Chicken nuggets, pizza, tacos, canned veggies, canned fruit, and stale bread. I’m so mad that pretty much no progress has been made since I was in school a million years ago. If anything, it’s gotten worse.
I don’t pack anything for my kids that I wouldn’t eat. That means they are spoiled and I’m not ashamed to say it. I feel food should be enjoyed, not just something to provide calories. So, I pack a good one.
Here are a few basics when packing a Mediterranean lunch for the kids:
- Heavy on the vegetables. Tomatoes, snack peppers, cucumbers are good ones that kids rarely argue with
- Include a fruit and help your kids out. Cut up the apples and strawberries, peel the oranges, and if the grapes are big, cut them in half to reduce the choking hazard.
- Include a meat and cheese that they like. My kids love salami, but it’s not the healthiest, so I add it to something else to let them have it without feeling like they didn’t have a lot. So, for this dish, I kabob-ed it.
- You can add bread or whole wheat crackers if you feel your child needs more food
- Include some dairy. Cheese, yogurt, or milk are perfect – let your child tell you what they like, just watch the sugar. Sometimes I let the yogurt double as the dessert.
If you like visuals, here’s a handy dandy recipe video for you!