Alison is a registered dietitian, board-certified in oncology nutrition, and a cancer thriver. Her expertise in oncology nutrition and personal experience with her own cancer diagnosis and its treatment provide her with the unique perspective of being able to relate to her clients on an entirely different level. Her content is consistently focused on evidence-based guidelines and seeks to increase the awareness of the power of nutrition to complement traditional cancer therapies.
Back-to-school is just around the corner – I can’t believe it! Although my daughter isn’t school age [yet], we pack her lunches because at least three days a week she’s eating at Grandma and Grandpa’s or Nouna’s (Greek for, “godmother”, and Eleni is lucky enough to have Lauren as her nouna!)
We strive for Eleni to have a variety of foods throughout the week. Truth be told though, that girl could live off bananas, sweet potatoes, and toast if we let her! So, it’s important to us to provide Eleni not only with healthy, plant-based meals, but also quick & easy options! While a good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a fair go-to, it doesn’t take long before she gets (understandably) bored with it.
So, today we’re bringing you our top five easy-pack lunches along with our favorite new traveling container, the Origami Tote Kit. I’ve actually been eyeing up this lunchbox for quite a while now! Not only does it have a very unique, origami-inspired look, but the designers at ECOLunchBox also have a whole line of eco-friendly products for all your snacking and storage needs.
Eco-friendly, chic and affordable? Needless to say, we love it.
Now, before I share the healthy lunches, I feel the need to explain WHY we have steered clear of classic plastic containers and bags. And the answer may not be obvious.
It has been found that 90% of our exposure to a chemical called bisphenol A, or better known as BPA, comes from everyday food related items. These items include, but are not limited to: food storage, canned foods, and beverage containers. BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical. (1) It’s even found on cash register receipts!
You’ve probably heard that BPA negatively impacts our health before, but do you know why?
BPA is actually a weak synthetic estrogen. Not what you were expecting, right? Actually, exposure to excessive amounts of estrogen can increase the risk of hormone-receptor-positive cancers….so, we want to try to and steer clear of BPA whenever possible.
As if the risk of cancer wasn’t scary enough, a study found that pregnant women with high levels of BPA in their urine were more likely to have daughters who showed signs of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression. (2)
I know. Not cool.
Another common chemical compound found in food containers and everyday plastics, are fast-food take out containers. Unfortunately, researchers from George Washington University found that individuals who eat outside of their home on a regular basis (e.g. fast food, take-out, etc.) have 35% higher levels of phthalates in their bodies. And just like BPA, phthalates are hormone disruptors which are linked to infertility, birth defects, difficulty losing weight and once again, cancer. (3)
So what’s a family to do?
We know what you’re thinking; how could anyone completely avoid plastic? You’re right–it’s practically impossible to be 100% plastic free. But what we can do is control and reduce our levels of exposure.
And that’s how our journey with ECOLunchboxes began. Not only does it limit our exposure to BPA, phthalates and other toxic chemicals commonly found in plastic containers, it’s a fun product our daughter loves to bring to Grandma’s house!
Okay, onto the foodie stuff…drumroll please!
3. Bean & Avocado “Quesadilla” Wrap with Vegan Parm + Mixed Berries + Non-Dairy Yogurt
4. Avocado, Chickpea, & Pesto Sandwich + Melon + Whole Grain Crackers
5. Quick Hummus & Quinoa Wraps (see recipe below) + Raw Vegetables + Fruit & Green Snack Bar
Makes 4 Wraps | Ready in 15 Minutes (if that!)
4, Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Grain Wraps (or tortillas you have on hand)
1 cup cooked quinoa or desired grain (farro, barley and brown rice are great options)
2 cups fresh spinach (or a green your kid will most likely eat )
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
Avocado, diced (optional)
Splash of lemon juice (optional)
Spread 1/4 cup of hummus on each wrap (or tortilla). Then top with 1/4 cup quinoa (or other grain). Then top with a handful of spinach (or other green) and with tomatoes.
If you plan to use avocado add it to the wrap and splash lemon juice on it so prevent the avocado from going brown by lunchtime.
Yes, it’s that easy.
If your child isn’t into one or two of these ingredients, switch it up! If they like sweet peppers, add those. If they like cucumbers, add those. Just keep it easy and healthy!
Greger, M., MD. (2016, August 8). Re: How to Avoid the Obesity-Related Plastic Chemical BPA [Video blog comment]. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-avoid-the-obesity-related-plastic-chemical-bpa/
Exposure to Chemicals in Plastic. (n.d.). Retrieved August 6, 2018, from http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/plastic
Dining out Associated with Increased Exposure to Harmful Chemicals Called Phthalates. (28 March 2018) Retrieved August 6, 2018 from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/gwu-doa032318.php
This blog post is not sponsored by ECOLunchbox or Thrive market, but does contain their affiliate links. All other links are products we love. All opinions of the products are our own. If you purchase something through affiliate links, Wholesome may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. The commission goes towards the cost to keep our blog running we can continue to provide you with evidence-based research and practices to prevent, manage, and reverse chronic disease.