Buy in Bulk, Skip Pre-packaging, and Save the Planet: Pack a Lunch!

Last week we introduced you to Lunchsense Lunchboxes, a great solution for those of you searching for ways to quickly pack meals that work for little ones.  The boxes have been featured on other websites as well including “Vegan Lunchbox. 

This isn’t your typical fabric lunchbag.  It’s a sturdy system that snaps into a box or a flat tray and is filled with handy plastic containers that lock closed so that food doesn’t leak out.   This week we’ll fill you in on the last part of our interview with Nancy Owen Myers, the Lunchsense creator and an innovative mother of three.

GBG:  How does a Lunchsense lunchbox end up helping the environment and saving money?


Free Downloadable Book: The Organic Baby Food Guide

Erika Jones of Organic Baby Resource just came out with a FREE downloadable e-book: The Organic Baby Food Guide.  What a valuable tool for new parents . . . and you can’t beat the price!

Here’s what she has to say about it:

The Organic Baby Food Guide profiles 35 of the leading brands of baby food around the world so you don’t have to go out hunting for nutritious, organic options. Instead, we tell you where to find the foods in your area so you can comparison shop without leaving your home.

Just go here and you’ll find a link to get your own free guide!

Vegetarian Pregnancy, Vegetarian Baby

Is it possible to have a healthy pregnancy and baby on a vegetarian diet?  I have been a vegetarian for about twenty years and have lived to write about it on the Green Baby Guide.  Still, many people seem surprised that I’d continue living meat-free once I had a baby on the way.  Why do I do it?  Here are two reasons:

It’s cheap.  We are full-time vegetarians and rarely spend more than $150 a month on groceries for a couple and a toddler, allotting $60 to organic vegetables and the rest to whole grains, nuts, cheeses, and fruit.  A family our size would shell out $368 on the USDA’s “thrifty plan.”   Instead of relying on coupons and other cost-cutting tricks, we save by skipping the meat. 


Yumm Sauce Recipe Imitation

First of all, if you don’t know what the amazing Yumm Sauce is, you’ll have to check last week’s post for details.  It is a magical liquid that makes young and old alike beg for bowls of brown rice and beans–seriously!

Now I like to support our local Cafe Yumm just because I believe in their business and want to contribute, but some of you live across the country and will never be able to experience the wonder of Yumm Sauce for yourselves.   Hence, the reason for today’s recipe imitation.

This recipe comes from the site Chick Chat, written by a local mom right here in Eugene.  I can take no credit whatsoever for the following recipe or its authenticity, but I hope it’s as delicious as the real thing!

Café Yumm: Baby-Friendly, Budget-Friendly, Earth-Friendly Fast Food

It’s winter, it’s cold and let’s face it—grease and salt is mighty appealing.  But fast food is loaded with packaging, unhealthy ingredients, and expense.  So how can we avoid it despite our cravings?  Enjoy a hearty bowl of brown rice and beans with a signature sauce from Cafe Yumm.

Brown rice and beans, you say?  How can that possibly be marketed to my family?  Here’s the truth: My husband loves beef, pizza, potatoes fried in a variety of ways, and everything else that passes as fast food, but he loves Café Yumm even more.   My son breaks down crying (often!) begging for “beans and rice please!” 


A Recipe for Nutritious Brownies: Enjoy a Guilt-Free Valentines Treat

Chocolate and wheat germ?  Who knew they could be so good together!  When I was little, I savored the smell and taste of these yummy brownies and now I’m making them for my son.  They’re full of wholesome ingredients but they don’t taste like it!  The recipe is from a cookbook for parents entitled Feed Me, I’m Yours.

Nutritious Brownies:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup dry cocoa or 2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate

Mix together all ingredients except the dry milk, baking powder and dry cocoa.  (If using squares of chocolate, melt in a double boiler and add here.)  Sift the dry milk, baking powder and cocoa through a sieve into the other ingredients and stir well.  Spread in a very heavily greased 8×8″ pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Turn out of pan immediately and cut into bars while still warm.  

The Saturday Question: What was baby’s first food?

Many pediatricians recommend rice cereal as a standby, but conflicting information is emerging about making homemade porridge or feeding baby pureed avocados.  What did you first feed your little one and how was it received?  Did you get lots of advice from friends and family?  What seemed to work best?  Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

The Saturday Question: Did You Use Organic Baby Food?

While most families want to feed their baby organic baby food, cost can sometimes be a barrier.  Did you splurge on organic meals for baby?  Did you find a way to offset the cost by making your own organic purees or harvesting produce from a family garden?  If you did buy prepared organic baby food, where did you find the best deals and the best quality? Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us this weekend!

Saving Money on Holiday Groceries

My life has become a bit easier this year with the addition of a freezer and makeshift pantry in our garage.  What a difference!  I’ve cut my grocery shopping trips down to one or two per month and been able to stock up on sale foods at peak times.  Our membership to a CSA fills in the fresh food gaps with local organic produce each week.

Since my state of mind has shifted toward stocking up, I realize that now is a great time to purchase sale priced products that will last for months.  After studying a few grocery store flyers, I’ve found myself stocking up on the following items:


Brown Rice Protein Powder Boosts Nutrition in Baby Food

Back when I wrote my Fattening Baby, Naturally post, I was searching for alternatives to Pediasure.   Although Audrey’s pediatrician wanted her to drink Pediasure in order to gain some weight, I hesitated giving her something with non-organic dairy products, artificial flavors, sugar, and maltodextrin.  I ended up doing all sorts of things to boost the calories and fat in her diet, and I also made a discovery: MLO brown rice protein powder.

A 24-oz container of the powder costs about $10.  I found it in the health food section of my local grocery store.  It’s gluten-free, vegan, and contains two simple ingredients: rice protein concentrate and rice bran.  As rice is often a first food for babies, it seemed like the perfect thing to add to her food without bombarding her with unnatural or unhealthful ingredients.