School season is one of the most hectic times for families. From making sure everyone is up and out the door on time to shuttling the kids between after-school activities and correcting homework assignments, not to mention our own lives — weekdays can go by in a whirlwind.
I know that one of the most challenging parts of the school routine is making sure you can get tasty, nutritious meals on the table. After all, you know that’s not happening at school. What are your kids eating at school? Suffice it to say, it’s the opposite of healthy food. I’ve seen many articles about the unfortunate link between childhood obesity and school lunches and unless you have a very unusual school that serves farm-to-cafeteria lunches, I recommend that you continue to incorporate new ideas for packing school lunches.
Lunch break is the kid’s ultimate fuel stop for the busy day at school. Research shows that by giving them a balanced meal we can help prevent blood sugar highs and lows, help them concentrate for longer, and also prevent them from unhealthy snacking when they get home. Providing them with nutritious lunches also provides them with essential nutrients required for strong immune systems, better cognitive function (brain-food) and every day functioning.
Lets find out how to create the healthiest lunch box for your kids following Karin G Reiter top 5 tips. (Functional Medicine Nutritionist)
A balanced Lunch Box should include:
– A lean protein (animal or vegetarian source)
– A whole grain (Low GI carbohydrate)
– A good Fat
– Fruits and vegetables
Top 5 Tips for a healthy Lunch Box:
Every Lunch Box should have fruits and vegetables of all sorts and all colours. Eating like a rainbow offers your children many important nutrients, that are essential for their growth and development.
Vary the Whole Grains: brown rice, quinoa, pasta, millet, whole grain bread, rolls, pita or flat breads, starchy vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin offer your kids a sustainable fuel source for the busy day ahead.
Protein will ensure that your kids stay fuller for longer. Ensure you include a serving of lean meat, chicken, egg, chickpeas, lentils, salmon, sardines, tofu, yogurt or cheese. Opt for organic when possible and avoid added hormones and antibiotics in animal produce.
Avocado, tahini, pesto, olive tapenade, or hummus can be used as a spread instead of butter or margarine. Use natural, full fat, Greek Yogurt, or raw tahini substitute for mayonnaise in tuna or egg salad.
Water is the ultimate hydration. Try to avoid sugary juices and sports drinks because of high sugar levels. Fresh coconut, water and fresh green, vegetable juices are healthier options too. Freezing fruit, like orange segments and grapes, is also a great way to keep hydrated!
Lunch Box Idea/Recipe:
Main: Zucchini Patties
Fruit: Pear and Grapes
Vegetable: steamed Edamame
Snack: Kale chips
Mini Zucchini Patties with Tzaziki Dressing
Serves 6 children
4 small zucchinis or 2 large ones (grate, squeeze out all the water)
1 large potato (grate, squeeze out all the water)
2 eggs (beaten)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of dill washed and chopped fine
1 tbsp of spelt or gluten free flour (if the mixture is moist you might need to add more). (I am using coconut flour).
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Heat a large frying pan with a little almond or coconut oil and shallow fry little dollops of the mixture both sides till brown.
Then place the fried patties on a baking try (lined with baking paper) and bake on 180(c) for 5-10 min till crispy.
For the tzaziki:
Mix a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (or Milk Kefir), bunch of chopped fresh dill, 1 grated garlic, 1/2 chopped cucumber & juice from 1/2 lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
– Serve the patties with the tzaziki and steamed brown rice –
100g Kale leaves, torn
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 120°C,
Place Kale, oil, sans salt in a large baking tray and toss to coat,
Place in the oven and cook for 30 min until crispy
Allow to cool on the tray
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