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Soup Saves the Day
"Mom, can you pack me something new for lunch?" Julia asks one day after school.
The signs of lunch ennui are impossible to miss. Julia has been bringing home a lunch box heavy with uneaten food, then voraciously eating a snack the size of dinner.
Today as she happily devours a bowl of soup after school, she says, "I know! I can bring soup."
Julia loves soups, but when we tried packing it in her lunch in the past, we were always thwarted by a persistently leaky thermos. But, inspired and, frankly, desperate, for new lunch options, we're intent on finding a trusty little thermos for her to take back and forth to school.
After asking a few savvy parents, we learn that there's a new kid-friendly thermos called a Funcontainer (www.thermos.com) which is just the right size for soups and snacks.
Once our new thermos arrives, we give it the leak test by filling it and laying it on its side in a plastic bag for a couple of hours — it passes. Then I break out our favorite soup recipes.
For lunches I like to make soups with noodles so that they're filling enough to get Julia through a day at school. Embarrassingly, Julia loves ramen noodles the way Dave and I did in college, but they're light on nutrients and heavy with fat and unwanted chemicals. Instead I make a simple but delicious old-fashioned chicken soup with egg noodles.
I also stock up on ingredients for a few of our other favorite soup recipes from THE MOMS' GUIDE TO MEAL MAKEOVERS by Janice Bissex and Liz Weiss. It includes a list of ingredients to add to a basic can of soup to make it healthier. For a good last-minute soup option on very busy days, I buy packets of Sushi Chef brand white miso soup and some fresh tofu to add to it.