Are you having a difficult time considering what to pack for your
kid’s school lunches? Having trouble finding time to consider what to
feed them? Especially after watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution show
on ABC Friday evenings. You look at the lunch menu and know there has
to be healthier options for lunch. There are simple lunch meals that can
be created the night before, eliminating the morning rush to pack
something or to just hand over money for the school lunch. Discuss with
your kids what types of food they would like to eat for lunch and then
talk with them about the importance of a well balance meal at lunch
Proteins can come in more sources than just processed lunch meat. Ask
your children what they want. Peanut butter and jelly can be made many
different ways, using different kinds of nut butters and different all
fruit jams or preserves. PB&J does not always have to be placed on
white bread. Try it on rice cakes, spelt bread, a whole wheat English
muffin or if you dare in a tortilla! Other sandwich ideas include tomato
and cheese, egg salad, or real chicken breast meat and cheese. Protein
does not need to be contained in a sandwich, try protein by itself as
yogurt, tofu cubes, bean and cheese mini burritos, or nuts.
Complex carbohydrates are just as important as protein. Since
kids are rapidly growing this is not a time to put them on a low
carbohydrate diet. Whole grains are better than white flours, since the
white flour has been processed more than the whole grains. Fruits and
veggies are also complex carbohydrates. For younger kids try dressing up
fruits and veggies by cutting them in different shapes. Explore the
produce section with your children and get them involved in choosing the
fruits and veggies they want to eat. Add fresh hummus to their lunch so
they can dip their veggies into something. Consider the “Dirty Dozen”
when buying your fruits and veggies too.
Just as important the food our children eat is what they drink.
Water is always the best option, no sugar there, however it
can be difficult to get kids to drink it. Try adding fruit (berries,
orange even) or even a small amount of 100% fruit juice. These can help
make water more appealing, even to us!
These same rules apply to you when you are packing a lunch for
yourself for work. My husband and I have started putting 4 dishes out
when we are serving up dinner, 2 plates for dinner and 2 containers for
tomorrow’s lunch. It helps discipline us and control portions, not to
mention gives us lunch for the next day.
Anita M. Larrow, ND