By Dana Clark, CNHP, CHN, CHC, CLE
Back to school! This time of year can be filled with a lot of joy coupled with a lot of anxiety for a number of reasons. One in particular that comes to mind: the dreaded school lunches!
As parents we need to remember the foods we pack in our children’s lunches can have a beneficial impact or a negative impact on their school day. Processed packaged foods, even the ones marketed as natural, healthy or sugar free, are predominantly unhealthy and can impact our children’s health, ability to focus and their behaviour which can also have a ripple effect on the other students in their class. By packing wholefoods, we are giving their bodies all they need to stay healthy and alert. Not to mention a lifelong impact of good nutritional values they can take on into adulthood.
Here are some wholefood school lunch idea’s:
MASON JAR SMOOTHIE
Replaces the unhealthy sugar laden chocolate milk some schools promote.
• 1/2 avocado
• 1 cup of pineapple chunks
• 1 cup of spinach
• Water to desired consistency
Blend in blender Pour into appropriate size mason jar for your child’s appetite and lunch box size. Put in freezer overnight. Take out first thing when you get up and pack in your child’s lunch bag so it thaws throughout the day so they can have it at their last nutritional break.
Picky eater’s can make any meal difficult. So be creative and get them involved, countless studies show that children who are involved with the food they consume are more likely to eat it or at least give it a try.
Bento Box Fun
This idea replaces the unhealthy luchables full of unhealthy sugars, fats and questionable additives.
Purchase a bento box style lunch container. Go back to the basics.It’s quick easy and healthy. Fill with fruit, veggies and hummus or healthy homemade dip.
SPRING ROLL WRAPS
• Rice wraps
• Minced, grated or spiralized, vegetables your picky eater enjoys, tolerates or thinks is fun to work with
• Drained and pressed tofu cut into thin strips or baked chicken/turnkey cut into thin strips
• ¼ cup tamari sauce
• 1 tbsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp maple syrup
See rice wrap package for rehydration instructions. Have your child stuff his/her wraps with the veggies and tofu/chicken/turkey Wrap up the ingredients and bake in the over at about 400 degrees F, turning often to avoid having the wraps stick to the pan (be sure to use parchment paper) bake until firm. Mix the tamari, sesame oil and maple syrup and pack in a container for dipping.
Lemon Dill Bean Salad
Save time by meal planning for the week and considering your children’s lunches. Make hearty wholefood soups, bean salads, rice casseroles and other healthy family favorites. Make lots for lunches the next day.
• 1 cup of chickpeas
• 1 cup lima beans
• 1 cup black beans
• 1 cup peas
• ¼ freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ¼ organic sunflower oil
• 2 tbsp. dried dill weed or 4 tbsp.
fresh dill weed
• Sea salt and pepper to taste
Toss the beans together and mix in the lemon juice, sunflower oil, dill, salt & pepper. Refrigerate for one to two hours before serving. Serve over a bed of leafy greens or toss into containers for lunch the next day.
Dana Clark, CNHP, CHN, CHC, CLE is a certfied natural health practitioner. She can be reached at email@example.com.