Lunch Time

John has had the same lunch everyday for as long as he can remember.. honestly.. like all the way back to elementary school. When we were in college he was getting migraines and relatively quickly I connected it to the food he was eating- tons of processed, fake stuff. As I've mentioned before, I've been trying to eliminate processed stuff from our diets and I have noticed a HUGE difference in his headaches.. SO much less frequent and less hurty.

SO... John's lunches used to look like this- for YEARS on end:

A sandwich on white bread with deli ham and turkey and American cheese, a nutrigrain bar, an apple, a handful of Chips Ahoy cookies or Oreos and a fruit cup in sugar/high fructose syrup.

With a few changes and planning ahead, I was able to modify his lunches to look more like the image below:

A sandwich on local whole wheat bread with deli ham and turkey (Oscar Mayer now makes a line of deli meat & hot dogs that are preservative & nitrate free- for a decent price), American cheese, a homemade cereal and fruit bar (made with homemade jelly from local strawberries and added in flax seed and whole wheat flour), an apple (local when the season permits), 3 or 4 homemade cookies, using at least half whole wheat flour and half unbleached all purpose flour, a homemade and canned fruit cup made from real sugar and local, in season fruit (apples and peaches).

He still has all of the basic items the same, but more homemade and fresh, less processed fake stuff. It honestly does not take a ton of extra time. Once every 2-3 months I will spend a Sunday afternoon in the kitchen making 2 batches of cereal bars and 3 or 4 batches of a variety of cookies.

 I cut up the bars and put them in baggies in the freezer. He just grabs a bar in the morning and by lunch it is thawed. The cookies go in freezer bags as well, about 30 cookies per bag (approximately a week's worth). A bag of cookies at a time is dumped in the cookie jar and he will portion them out when making lunch in the morning before work.We still use plastic baggies, but I am in the process of making re-useable fabric ones for sandwiches, cookies and nutrigrains so we can eliminate that habit. In the meantime John will bring the baggies home from work and we reuse them until it isn't possible anymore.

For the fruit cups and jelly to go in the cereal bars, I follow the fruit seasons, go to the local farm and pick and buy the fruits. Again, it is really only an afternoon of canning at a time- 2 or 3 days a summer. Last year I canned 108 4 oz jars of apple pie filling fruit cups and 108 jars of peaches in simple syrup and cinnamon. We will eat fresh fruit in our lunches until it is out of season locally and then John switches to fruit cups. Canning 216 days worth of fresh and local fruit only took 2 afternoons. THAT'S IT. The jelly was another afternoon and we have JARS and JARS (and jars) of it. I use it in the cereal bars and John has lunch with it at least once a weekend.

Sometimes it is a pain to spend a Sunday in the kitchen, but I usually enjoy it and I just make several batches (usually while making other food for the week too) and know that I won't need to do it again for a couple of months and then I will have a migraine free husband, and hopefully be extending his long-term health by eliminating junk. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

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