Archive for May, 2013

It Counts!

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

calorie counted lunch

Summer is coming! I suppose for many summer is already here. I live in New England though where summer takes awhile to settle in. I do smell it coming in the air. The lawns are being mowed, the annuals are being planted, vacation plans being made and school is almost out. Yes, summer truly is coming!

Summer means more time outdoors and more time in shorts and bathing suits. For me this is all the more reason to watch what I eat! Plus when the heat is on one tends to eat less.  I try to make my calories count (when I’m good). So I am looking for ways to lighten up my food.

For example:

Using sandwich thins instead of regular bread. The sandwich thin pictured above is whole wheat and just 100 calories compared to the 80ish calories per slice that most breads are.

Using a lemon hummus to dip my fresh veggies, this is just 50 calories per 2 tablespoons compared to the 110 calories of 2 tablespoons of a ranch veggie dip.

Measuring my condiments with measuring spoons. 1 tablespoon of a typical mayo has 90 calories! If I were to squeeze the bottle right onto my sandwich I am sure I would use that and more so I measure out 1/2 tablespoon. I just don’t seem to like the reduced calories mayos so I’d rather measure and use carefully.

All in all this lunch comes in around 500 calories and includes: a chicken cutlet sandwich with mayo, cherries, red peppers, carrots, snap peas, lemon hummus, Naturebox Guacamole Bites and Beanitos Chipotle BBQ chips.

For me this is a good calorie allotment for lunch. You should adjust your calories based upon your needs! I like to use my Easylunchbox (container shown in picture) as a guide. Once you know your calorie goal you can assign each compartment an approximate calorie amount.

Looking to add calories? Try adding a slice of ham and/or cheese to the sandwich. Use regular bread.

Looking to skim calories? Skip the bread and serve your chicken over or wrapped in lettuce. Sub out the mayo. Swap the Guacamole Bites and Beanitos for popcorn.

Most importantly this lunch had variety, great flavor, was filling for me and kept me from consuming twice the calories in less healthy options at a fast food place!



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His & Hers Leftover Lunches

Monday, May 27th, 2013

his hers leftover lunches

My family had a lovely long weekend. It was actually quite cool and rainy here for most of the past week but finally today the sun came through. Like I am sure so many others did, today we had a grilled feast and spent some time outdoors in the backyard. The little boys soaked themselves in the water table and I worked on my container garden. At last maybe summer really is coming!


Poppyseed chicken – I sliced my whole chicken breasts in half lengthwise (you could buy cutlets) and marinated overnight in Drew’s all natural poppyseed salad dressing (that is not an affiliate link).

Zucchini – the zucchini was cut in 1/4 inch thick circles. I sprayed both sides with cooking spray and then sprinkled with salt, pepper, chili powder and italian seasoning.


his leftover lunch

His lunch: My husband’s chicken and zucchini lunch is served with just sliced strawberries as a fruit and an assortment of Naturebox snacks (also not an affiliate link).

hers leftover lunch

Her lunch: The snacks and fruits were flip flopped in my lunch! I got more fruits and less snacks. My snack is just the guacamole bites by Naturebox and I have a fruit assortment of cherries, strawberries and blackberries. So really these lunches are very similar with just subtle changes to suit our individual tastes.

The chicken by the way is fantastic. We will definitely make this again! Lunches served in Easylunchboxes containers.



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Color Challenge!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

healthy lunch challenge #1

Not so long ago I wrote a post participating in a healthy lunch campaign with some of my fellow bloggers. We were challenged by Jennifer of Crunch a Color to create healthy lunches using the concept of the Crunch a Color card games. It is simple, 3 color cards, plus 1 protein card, plus 1 healthy grain card and everybody wins! Lunches from this campaign were featured over at the Huffington Post and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I know I feel like I won! I was so inspired by all the healthy lunches that I saw from other bloggers that when the opportunity to participate a second time came up I just had to accept!

Packing a healthy lunch is important to me. I am Mom of 4 beautiful children ranging in ages from 2 years old to 15 years old. I want them to be happy, active and healthy. I know the choices I make and the examples I set are the ones they will follow! This blog, iPackLunch, is my outlet to share the lunches I pack for my family. This is my source of inspiration and I hope in some part to inspire others. I believe in packing healthy lunches using real food. I try to be creative with color, flavor, arrangement and shape. I want my children to be excited when they open their lunch boxes and honestly I want to be excited when I open mine!

For this post I set out to create simple lunches, that anyone can make, using the Crunch a Color concept: 3 colors + 1 protein + 1 healthy grain = WIN! So let’s break it down!

Lunch #1 (pictured above): This lunch features a “banana split parfait” as a “dessert”. It sure sounds like dessert but this parfait has both fresh strawberries and bananas. I used a Chobani Champions Vanilla Chocolate Chunk greek yogurt and tucked in my sliced fruit. Don’t take my word, make this, it tastes just like a banana split. You could even top with nuts! You could also make your own version of chocolate chunk yogurt by grating a small amount of chocolate into the vanilla or plain yogurt of your choice. You could also mix up the parfait, oranges tucked into a blueberry yogurt, pineapple tucked into a coconut yogurt etc. You could also top with granola! Fun, tasty and easy! Most children love and eat yogurt so this is a very easy way to get them to eat fresh fruit!


  • 5 for healthy grains (the whole wheat bread for the sandwich)
  • 10 for protein (the tuna in the sandwich)
  • 10 for greens (the cooked broccoli served cold)
  • 10 for greens (there are sliced cucumbers on the sandwich)
  • 15 for greens (the leaf lettuce on the sandwich)
  • 5 for red (for the sliced strawberries in the yogurt)
  • 5 for yellow/orange (for the banana in the yogurt)
  • THAT MAKES 60 POINTS! Kids can earn bonus points for setting the table, using good manners, clearing the table or starting a conversation etc!

Double points by adding a “new food”. Perhaps kiwi or passionfruit in the parfait? That would make the score 120 points!!

healthy lunch challenge #2

Lunch #2 (pictured above): This lunch features a simple breakfast sandwich for lunch. Everybody loves breakfast, right? To lighten this one up a bit I used a round sandwich thin in place of a bagel. I spread 1/2 tablespoon of mayo on my bread and then topped with raw spinach and slice tomato. I microwaved my egg by spraying a round shaped bowl with cooking spray, cracking my egg into the bowl, seasoning with pepper and garlic then microwaving for 1 minute. I topped the cooked egg with a thin slice of swiss cheese while still warm and popped it right on top of my veggies. You could also use a pita pocket or an English muffin! Want to push the envelope? Use a vegetable peeler to create carrot and cucumber ribbons to add to your sandwich! Consider adding a slice of ham to make the sandwich more filling for a heartier appetite. Don’t worry this sandwich is excellent served cold! I could have used raw carrot chips in place of pretzels for a crunchy snack adding even more points!


  • 5 for healthy grains/card not shown (the whole wheat sandwich thin bread)
  • 10 for protein/card not shown (the egg in the sandwich, you could add ham too)
  • 15 for greens (the spinach in the sandwich)
  • 10 for red (the sliced tomato on the sandwich)
  • 10 for greens (the broccoli tucked in by the sandwich)
  • 5 for yellow/orange (for the orange slices and my nod to orange juice typical with breakfast)


You could double that by adding a “new food”, one never tried before by your child! Perhaps by substituting spinach in place of lettuce? That would double the points to 110!!


healthy lunch challenge #3

Lunch #3 (pictured above): Pizza is a classic kids favorite and just as good eaten cold! Pizza is also a great place to “hide” veggies! Not only can you put veggies on top but you can also puree veggies into your sauce! This bagel pizza has BBQ sauce, grilled chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and green onions! Yum! This lunch also includes a small amount of Naturebox Guacamole Bites nestled besides the pizza in a silicone cup.



  • 5 for healthy grains (the bagel)
  • 10 for protein (chicken on the bagel pizza)
  • 10 for red (tomato on the bagel pizza)
  • 10 for greens (broccoli on pizza and tucked in)
  • 5 for red (for the strawberry slices)
  • 5 for yellow/orange (for the nectarine slices)

Putting a “new food” like broccoli or mushrooms on your pizza double your points to 90!!



All lunches pictured are served in Easylunchboxes containers. Check out the Crunch a Color blog for more ways to try new foods in Jennifer’s 52 new foods campaign!



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