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Ideas for kosher dairy school lunches


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#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 08:04 PM

I'm trying to brainstorm some lunches for our son in Pre-K this coming year. The kids bring their own lunches which are refrigerated until lunchtime. The school is in a synagogue. The rule is kosher dairy and pareve only. That means no meat (no red meat or poultry) but fish products (though not shellfish) would be okay. There are additional regulations having nothing to do with kashruth, most notably a nut-free policy.

I have sufficient creativity to come up with things like cheese sandwiches. I'm hoping for some more ambitious items, though. The one nice thing is that, assuming it conforms with the above regulations, we can do pretty much anything as our son is relatively omnivorous.
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#2 Pam R

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 08:34 PM

Is there a microwave? (Our local synagogue day-school has a couple of microwaves available to heat up lunches.)

Hummus is always an option.

#3 Lisa Shock

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 08:35 PM

Off the top of my head:

egg salad
Mediterranean platter: hummus, tabouli, stuffed grape leaves, etc
vegetable sushi
pasta salad with lots (at least 50%) of veggies plus beans
couscous salad
wheat berry salad (I have a recipe someplace for a curried one with soybeans)
gazpacho or other cold soup

Pack sandwiches with the bread and toppings separately to avoid sogginess. -Unless you want that, like on a cheese & veggie muffuleta.

Extras like carrot and celery sticks -my mom added cucumber spears, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper strips.

The bento thread in the Japan/Asia section is a goldmine of ideas...

#4 Fat Guy

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 08:36 PM

Is there a microwave? (Our local synagogue day-school has a couple of microwaves available to heat up lunches.)


Whatever it is has to be eaten straight from the fridge.

Hummus is always an option.

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That's definitely on the list as an ingredient to utilize, but is there anything interesting to be done with it?
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#5 Fat Guy

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 09:09 PM

The bento thread in the Japan/Asia section is a goldmine of ideas...

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It truly is a goldmine. I've got a shopping trip to Super H-Mart planned in order to acquire some segmented lunch boxes, maybe some egg molds, stuff like that. I'm going to be terrified to post my newbie bento photos on that topic, but I'm going to do it in the name of education and entertainment.
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#6 baroness

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 03:36 AM

Is sunflower (or other seeds such as sesame) seed butter allowed?
If so, you could add a seed butter and jam/jelly sandwich to the menu.

Cold rice or other grain salads would work, too.

#7 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:14 AM

The nut-free policy seems to be the hot thing in Manhattan pre-schools this year. Our son is starting at an NYU pre-school in the fall, and they are nut-free (two kids with nut allergies) and egg-free (one kid with an egg allergy), and I believe the snacks that each parent has to supply for two weeks a year for all the children also have to be milk-free (one kid who is lactose intolerant). I've been browsing the vegan baking recipes at the Post-Punk Kitchen--

http://www.theppk.com/

At least trayf is okay.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb, 03 August 2009 - 05:10 AM.


#8 weinoo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 05:30 AM

I like a number of the recipes from Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Light.

For instance, there's an Italian Bean and Tuna Salad, containing red onions, white or cranberry beans, tuna, diced tomatoes, herbs, capers, a little yogurt, etc. Goes great on lettuce leaves or in pita bread pockets.

If your guy likes beets or borscht, that's certainly a possibility.

Can't go wrong with smoked salmon on a bagel, can you?
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#9 Fat Guy

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 05:35 AM

Is sunflower (or other seeds such as sesame) seed butter allowed?

View Post


Yes. After a hiatus, seed products are being reintroduced on the list of allowable foods. This means sun-butter and jelly sandwiches are permitted. It also means hummus is allowed, because with a no-seed policy it's hard to have hummus, which in its non-disgusting incarnations included sesame tehina.
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#10 Fat Guy

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 05:38 AM

For instance, there's an Italian Bean and Tuna Salad, containing red onions, white or cranberry beans, tuna, diced tomatoes, herbs, capers, a little yogurt, etc. . .
.....
Can't go wrong with smoked salmon on a bagel, can you?

View Post


Stuff like that may wind up in the rotation, but my concern is that those items are highly aromatic. Depending on what kinds of things the other kids are eating, the aroma issue may or may not be a concern. I remember when I was a kid, though, the kid with the smelly lunch was an object of ridicule, and I don't want to subject my kid to that.
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#11 Fat Guy

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 05:40 AM

The nut-free policy seems to be the hot thing in Manhattan pre-schools this year.

View Post


I've spoken to friends elsewhere about this, and nut-free seems to be fairly common even in the middle of the country. The uniquely ridiculous thing we seem to be doing in Manhattan (which probably includes Park Slope) is, whenever one kid in the school has a (real or imagined) allergy to one thing, that thing gets banned school-wide.
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#12 weinoo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 06:01 AM

For instance, there's an Italian Bean and Tuna Salad, containing red onions, white or cranberry beans, tuna, diced tomatoes, herbs, capers, a little yogurt, etc. . .
.....
Can't go wrong with smoked salmon on a bagel, can you?

View Post

Stuff like that may wind up in the rotation, but my concern is that those items are highly aromatic. Depending on what kinds of things the other kids are eating, the aroma issue may or may not be a concern. I remember when I was a kid, though, the kid with the smelly lunch was an object of ridicule, and I don't want to subject my kid to that.

View Post

Good point. Of course, leaving out the onions is a possibility from the salads. Maybe you need to make a sample batch?
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#13 rooftop1000

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:08 AM

A few years ago I saw a story about a cafe in the Hamptons doing a Muffin pan Quiche/Frittata as a take away breakfast item. It was meant as a low carb alternative to a muffin

as for the hummus, you could change it up by using different kinds of beans and regional seasonings


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#14 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:26 AM

I've spoken to friends elsewhere about this, and nut-free seems to be fairly common even in the middle of the country. The uniquely ridiculous thing we seem to be doing in Manhattan (which probably includes Park Slope) is, whenever one kid in the school has a (real or imagined) allergy to one thing, that thing gets banned school-wide.

View Post


It does seem like mass paranoia. Did some school get sued, because some toddler with a nut allergy took a bite of some other toddler's PB&J? My wife attended a meeting for parents at the school where the food policy was discussed in very serious tones, suggestive of the pronouncement of a moral imperative, and the parents of the children in question seemed thoroughly unapologetic and even to profess a sense of entitlement about their child's school's adoption of the nut-free/allergen-free policy.

#15 Marmish

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:40 AM

I suggest not pursuing the nut free line of conversation in this thread because it generally spirals out of control and will not give Fat Guy any lunch ideas for his kiddo. As a school administrator, we hate to have these types of restrictions, but it is truly in the interest of protecting the kids - and to a lesser extent avoiding putting staff in what is potentially a life threatening situation.

#16 jgm

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:32 AM

Pimiento (sp?? nothing looks right.) cheese packed into celery sticks, with muffin.

Sushi

Cold lentil salads

I sampled some white bean and artichoke spread in a grocery store the other day. I don't have a recipe, but it wouldn't be too difficult to duplicate. I'd try the artichokes packed in oil, drain them, and then add the oil back in as a seasoning.

I'll keep thinking.

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#17 PopsicleToze

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:53 AM

Being your son -- he probably has a pretty sophisticated palette for a 5-year old. Larb stands out as a fun and different lunch. Stash a cold cucumber salad in there, too.

For the hummus, use it as a spread in a pita for a grilled vegetable (or meat, whatever) sandwich.

I always have the best luck with children by letting them plan their own lunch. The night before you could tell him he can have a/b/c and then let him help pack it.

Good luck
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#18 HungryC

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 09:00 AM

Does he like chips-n-dip? A nice simple salsa, enhanced nutritionally by corn & black beans, is tasty straight out of the fridge (skip the raw onions). Serve with whatever crispy-crunchy chip you deem nutritionally appropriate (or bake wholewheat tortilla triangles brushed with a little oil, to work in some whole grains). It's essentially a cold bean salad, but what kid ever got excited about bean salad? Having a chip delivery device makes it fun. This same approach can be applied to a homemade spinach dip, onion dip, etc.

Salad-filled wraps are pretty good cold, and they hold up overnight in the fridge, wrapped well in waxed paper or plastic.

#19 Cleo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 09:07 AM

My daughter just finished temple pre-school and my son still has 2 more years to go. I have been sending lunch for her for the past 2 years and I just started sending lunch for him while he has been at the temple summer camp. The temple is reform, so we can send meat, but clearly not pork or shellfish. And clearly there is no peanut butter allowed, which is nothing new.

Some things that I send for my daughter (a fantastic eater)...

-- hummus sandwich or lately she just likes hummus and I send a bunch of crackers (she particularly like TJ's roasted red pepper hummus)
-- egg salad sandwich
-- cream cheese and jelly sandwich
-- veggie burger on whole wheat roll
-- small bagel with cream cheese and a bit smoked salmon
-- mac & cheese, ravioli, various pastas

I also send salami or turkey sandwiches, but that doesn't help you.

My son, who will be 3 in September, is a little pickier and he is kind of lukewarm to sandwiches. I've noticed that he will eat a sandwich when it is on a hamburger bun, but he won't eat it on regular whole wheat bread (he loves hamburgers and I guess he likes the bun too). He much prefers a "hot lunch". I send him a lot of leftover pasta, macaroni & cheese, or leftover chinese food (chicken and broccoli with rice -- again, I know that doesn't help you). Today he took noodles mixed with brisket that was leftover. I heat up his food at 8:30 and by lunchtime it is warmish in the thermos.

I would strongly suggest getting a thermos...not the traditional kind that is upright, but one that is more of a bowl. I find that both of my kids did not do well with the upright kind (now my daughter is ok with it, but she is almost 5).

Here is an example of one similar to what we have but ours has the Spaghettios logo on it (it was a hand-me-down from my sister). If you can find this type, it is great.

Or there is this kind, which also looks shallow and easy to eat from.

Hope this helps.

#20 jaynesb

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:20 PM

We are beyond pre-K but here's are some things that might work for you (taking into consideration that your son has probably eaten way more adventurously than most children his age.)

I've made different types of pasta with garlic and oil and some kind of vegetable like zucchini or broccoli and that's worked well. (I was making it in the morning with a shortcut of adding the vegetable near the end of pasta-cooking time. Then draining all and warming oil/garlic in original pan with a quick toss together before packing it up. Of course, this was a bit later in elementary school. At pre-K, my children usually at lunch after school.

Also, my children are very happy with dishes that have a crust. Empanadas at room temperature were fine with them. My daughters are not sandwich eaters though.

Some children at my daughters' school bring sushi but they have more adventuresome palates.

Also, here's something along the lines of a muffin fritatta. I've never tried it but it seems open to lots of possibilities.
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#21 Badiane

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:38 AM

Falafel?
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#22 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:53 PM

Lots of good ideas. Please keep them coming. August we will be conducting tastings to see which things he likes.

Some thoughts I had today on the subway: chunks of mozzarella and grape tomatoes, cold sesame noodles (I wonder how this would work with penne or something easier to eat than spaghetti-type noodles), yogurt with fruit, muffins, mini quiche, hard-cooked eggs (of course).

Larb stands out as a fun and different lunch. 

View Post


Is there such a thing as a meatless version of larb?
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#23 CaliPoutine

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 02:40 PM

How about some Jewish comfort food?

egg noodles and cottage cheese( I add a dollop of sour cream too), with fresh black pepper. I always eat this cold.

Noodle kugel( although I prefer this warmed) or Kasha and bows?

#24 Mikels

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:56 PM

It has been a while since I made lunches for a five year old. Fish (tuna, salmon etc) salad based sandwiches always were a hit. There are a lot of parve salads that are good. Tastes of kids can be odd; stuff we might not want to eat, such cold pizza or mac and cheese, were hits. Don't forget stuff like cookies that can either be eaten or traded. If I remember correctly, stuff that is too messy may not be appreciated by the teachers.

#25 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 03:54 AM

Unfortunately, it's now standard for trading to be outlawed in schools.
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#26 Kajikit

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 06:08 AM

cheese pizza, mini-quiche, tabbouli, salad, cheese balls, rice salad with tuna, soybutter or sunbutter (tastes pretty much like PB only sweeter so kids should love it), mini muffins (savoury or sweet), veggie sticks and hummus...

#27 NWKate

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 06:38 AM

I've spoken to friends elsewhere about this, and nut-free seems to be fairly common even in the middle of the country. The uniquely ridiculous thing we seem to be doing in Manhattan (which probably includes Park Slope) is, whenever one kid in the school has a (real or imagined) allergy to one thing, that thing gets banned school-wide.

View Post


It does seem like mass paranoia. Did some school get sued, because some toddler with a nut allergy took a bite of some other toddler's PB&J? My wife attended a meeting for parents at the school where the food policy was discussed in very serious tones, suggestive of the pronouncement of a moral imperative, and the parents of the children in question seemed thoroughly unapologetic and even to profess a sense of entitlement about their child's school's adoption of the nut-free/allergen-free policy.

View Post


It may seem like mass paranoia unless you are the parent whose child develops an anaphalactic reaction after a classmate coughs spraying peanut oil on them. Having worked in classrooms with such children, I can assure you that these very real health risks are taken VERY seriously.

#28 PopsicleToze

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 06:43 AM

Lots of good ideas. Please keep them coming. August we will be conducting tastings to see which things he likes.

Some thoughts I had today on the subway: chunks of mozzarella and grape tomatoes, cold sesame noodles (I wonder how this would work with penne or something easier to eat than spaghetti-type noodles), yogurt with fruit, muffins,  mini quiche, hard-cooked eggs (of course).

Larb stands out as a fun and different lunch. 

View Post


Is there such a thing as a meatless version of larb?

View Post


:rolleyes:
I forgot about the vegetarian and was thinking of larbed chicken.
Oops.
Carry on :biggrin:

#29 snowangel

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:04 PM

Lots of good ideas. Please keep them coming. August we will be conducting tastings to see which things he likes.

Some thoughts I had today on the subway: chunks of mozzarella and grape tomatoes, cold sesame noodles (I wonder how this would work with penne or something easier to eat than spaghetti-type noodles), yogurt with fruit, muffins,  mini quiche, hard-cooked eggs (of course).

Larb stands out as a fun and different lunch. 

View Post


Is there such a thing as a meatless version of larb?

View Post


:rolleyes:
I forgot about the vegetarian and was thinking of larbed chicken.
Oops.
Carry on :biggrin:

View Post


Larbed squid is good (although in that case, it just might be a yam).

What about dan dan noodles?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#30 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:07 PM

Squid is unkosher, unfortunately.

The one thing PJ won't deal with is anything particularly spicy, so dan dan noodles wouldn't work at least not in their traditional form.
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