Product Review: Almond Milk with Added Protein

Ran into this Almond Plus single-serve almond milk by So Delicious at Whole Foods the other day and couldn’t resist the spontaneous purchase. Most non-dairy milks–except soymilk and to some degree oat milk–are devoid of protein, making them simply a great calcium and Vitamin D source, but a less-balanced addition to a meal. Ta da! So Delicious Inc. rocks the boat! Their new “Almond Plus” comes in Unsweetened (40 calories, 1 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein/ cup), Original (70 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g protein), and Vanilla (70 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g protein). Get it in the half-gallon or get the single-serve vanilla for lunches. The Vanilla is as you would expect: SO Delicious. And for the carb-conscious, it’s lower carb than skim milk and tastes like a milkshake. Magic! And btw, it has pea protein. That can only be good.

Look for it at your local Whole Foods Market or health food store. Bottom’s up!

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Back to School: Bag Lunches for a Dietitian’s Kindergartner

Photo by: Ramesh NG

I have *just about* survived Week #1 of Kindergarten! My daughter is in an all-day Spanish immersion school, so not only are the all-day routines and riding the bus completely new experiences, but the whole day is in Spanish. And that’s not even the biggest deal! Eating lunch in a school cafeteria is a totally brand spankin’ new event.

Of course as the nutrition controller of the household, buying lunch at school isn’t an option despite the constant begging… “Just one day could I try the cheesy sticks, mini pizza, or milk in a cute pink carton? Pleeeeeze?”  So it took some creativity and dessert! to make the bagged lunches exciting, tasty, and healthy. Here’s what appeared in my daughter’s lunch bag this week:

MONDAY
Half a hummus and basil sandwich on whole wheat bread

1 large carrot, peeled (she prefers 1 large carrot to carrot sticks, not my idea!)
8 raspberries
6 crackers
2 chocolate-filled Oreo-type cookies
water

What still remained in the lunch bag after school: the carrot (“I didn’t see it”), crackers, and cookies. Those items became the afterschool snack. 

TUESDAY
Half a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread (no jam, her preference)

Apple Carrot Crusher (from TJ’s, basically applesauce with carrots in this fun squeezy tube)
8 raspberries
5 slices orange bell pepper
6 crackers
2 chocolate-filled Oreo-type cookies
water

What still remained in the lunch bag after school: the raspberries (“I couldn’t open the container, and no one was around to help me”), crackers, and cookies. Those items were again the afterschool snack. “Mommy, you don’t need to put crackers in my lunch anymore.” Ok, I won’t!

WEDNESDAY
3 Spinach & Sweet Potato “Quiches” (eggless, made in a mini-cupcake pan, recipe coming soon!)

10 Beef-Less Strips (TJ’s, made from wheat gluten)
10 cucumber slices
Apple Carrot Crusher 
2 chocolate-filled Oreo-type cookies
water

What still remained in the lunch bag after school: 2 of the “quiches,” 3 cucumber slices, and cookies. Those items were again the afterschool snack.

THURSDAY
1 Smart Dog in a whole wheat bun (wrapped in foil, no condiments, her choice)

Apple Carrot Crusher 
4 cherry tomatoes, 4 basil leaves
2 Medjool dates
2 chocolate-filled Oreo-type cookies
water

What still remained in the lunch bag after school: dates and cookies. Afterschool snacktime!

FRIDAY
Half a chocolate peanut butter sandwich (sounds terribly unhealthy, but it’s just peanuts + a few dark choc chips ground together fresh at Whole Foods) on whole wheat bread

6 red pepper slices
10 Kalamata olives
1 chocolate chip cookie
water

Not sure what will return home today, but I suspect a couple red pepper slices and the cookie. 

You may think the daily dessert isn’t ideal, but growing up in a “Dessert-Only-Once-A-Year” household, I firmly believe that a small dessert after a nutrient-rich meal teaches healthy eating habits and moderation. Agree or disagree? For more healthy lunchbox ideas, take a gander at The Lunchbox Bunch: A team dedicated to healthy lunches!

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