Lunch box confusion is upon us once again. It’s a boomerang issue of what to pack that is healthy, that will get eaten, that avoids nuts and other allergens, and that can be packed fast as well as consumed quickly.
Five Tips to Avoid Lunch Box Drama
I scan the packages and aisles constantly not only for my own recommendations, but so that I can speak eloquently to food clients when they are reformulating products or reprinting packages. I have five common tips to avoid lunch box drama I share with clients:
1. Read the ingredients, not the marketing. Peanut fee matters, but gluten-free does not improve a product unless you are truly gluten sensitive.
2. Individual packages are handy. Stocking an approved snack cupboard that kids can dig into, which allows them to take ownership over their tummies is an idea good for everyone. You approve everything that goes into the cupboard or fridge shelf, and they know it’s appropriate snacking material. See the list below.
3. Keep the quantity of sugar as low as possible. If it’s there, make sure it also comes with high nutrient, high fibre grains. The World Health Organization suggests 6 teaspoons (25g) and a maximum of 12 teaspoons (50g) per day.
4. Prepare vegetables on the weekend and place them into individual packages. Keep veggies in individual packages so peppers don’t go mushy and ruin the celery and other vegetables.
5. Practice what you preach. Pack your own lunch, it will not only save you money, it will also help you keep tabs on the slow decline of personal health commitments that can take hold by the time Halloween and all its miniature chocolates arrive.
A few favourite lunch box staples are not only delicious, but simple to prepare:
Granola bars Crispy bars tend to be lower in sugar than their chewy counterparts. Remember to choose options that are low in sugar low and high in fibre.
Weetabix biscuits and a thermos of milk is a great on-the-go breakfast, particularly for those breakfast skippers who leave the house in a dash. The brain needs slow burning, whole grain, low sugar (Weetabix has only 2 g) fuel to do all that thinking.
Hummus comes in a multitude of flavours and is made from a variety of beans. Change it up every week to prevent boredom and encourage a broad palate of different vegetables.
Probiotic drinkable yogurt delivers protein and calcium that may be hard to get elsewhere. Probiotics keep coming up in health news as critical to good gut health, which is the foundation of all health.
Frozen, whole grain tortellini is a great option for anyone who’s bored with traditional sandwiches. The beauty in these little packets is that they can be cooked for dinner and then packed without sauce for lunch. Pack some hummus or tomato sauce as dip and you have a great, high protein, kid friendly fun lunch.
With a bit of planning and willingness to think outside the sandwich and apple box, we can make healthy choices for adult and kid-friendly lunches.
Image sources: Jennifer at Flickr, Pixabay.