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Lunchbox Ideas with Nutritional Diversity

Matthew & IsabellaWe really have become a society of convenience and often to our own detriment. After being in the health food business for over a decade I am astounded how convenience overrides health especially when it comes to lunch packs.

The lunch pack industry is worth billions, one just needs to go your local supermarket to see how almost all foods now come in a small convenient pack easy to fit into a small lunch pack headed for the school ground. I could, with ease and no effort, fill my daughters lunch box with a processed cheese blocks, preserved dried fruit, government issue white bread and a tiny bar-one; all of which I only have to buy once a month. It does not get easier than that, but at what price?

We are seeing diseases in our children that two decades ago only appeared in adults (like, type two diabetes), our children spend more time on allopathic medicine than the generation before them and our kids are getting fatter and fatter. I wonder if this has anything to do with the food we choose and the fact that we have no time to properly nourish our own bodies and that of our children. It seems to me we have our priorities mixed up. We expect our bodies to function optimally yet we fail to supply our bodies with the nutrients it needs to fulfill this basic requirement. It’s like filling up our cars with contaminated fuel and expecting it to work properly.

Processed foods; foods high in sugars and colorants; and foods loaded with trans-fats and salt are what I classify as contaminated fuel. Do we really want to put contaminated fuel into our body? Well that’s exactly what we are doing and despite the amazing medical advancements in 2010 we are not experiencing less disease we are in fact sicker than we have ever been and there is a direct link between what we eat and disease.

It starts with our children and their lunch packs. Make sure you take the time to shop wisely and prepare the best of the best food for their lunch packs. I am not saying it’s necessary to prepare gourmet meals, keep it simple but ensure it is ‘as close to nature’ as possible. Create variety, hold back on the peanut butter sandwich every day for three years and introduce other delicious foods to your child’s lunch pack. 

Here are some ideas:
  • Instead of white bread: Use low GI bread, whole wheat wraps, rye bagels, gluten free breads and even spelt bread. Make sure that you have a variety of filling for the sandwiches. (Visit the Fresh Earth Food Store Bakery for Gluten Free Foods and Breads http://www.freshearth.co.za/store/s-45-bakery-natural-and-gluten-free.aspx)
  • Fruit: always ad fresh fruit to the lunch pack, I like to cut the fruit up because it is easier to eat and the child is then likely to eat it. Dried fruit is great if it is unpreserved; look for Organic or unpreserved dried fruit. It is a little uglier than preserved but is much more nutritious.
  • Nuts and Seeds: create a raw nut and seed mix with your child, let them choose their favorite and keep it in an air tight container.
  • Drinks: water is good enough; children do not need any flavoured drinks. Teach your children that sugar flavoured drinks are for special occasions only and are not good for you on a regular basis. Every now and then you can put a natural fruit juice in, but water remains the main beverage.
  • Sweets: Sweets are for special occasions and weekends only. Sugar and school do not go hand in hand. I use fruit and dried fruit to satisfy my daughter’s sugar cravings.
There is a lot of credit in being informed and aware of what you are eating and feeding your family. Healthy food is more expensive but it is a lot cheaper than doctors’ bills and medicine. There are very few negatives when it comes to healthy eating.

Visit Fresh Earth for more Lunchbox ideas: http://www.freshearth.co.za/store/c-16-lunch-box-ideas.aspx
 

Fresh Earth Food StoreProvided by Matthew Ballenden, dad to Isabella & owner of the Fresh Earth Food Store, an organic health store and vegetarian restaurant with a  great online store.  Visit their website to find out more, www.FreshEarth.co.za.
 
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