What’s for lunch?
Begin September with some fresh ideas on what to pack in your lunch or for ‘nutrition’ breaks for the kids. Your food choices mean everything as they fuel your brain and provide the energy needed for a balanced, successful and happy day.
A healthy lunch consists of a protein, a complex carb, healthy fats, and vegetables. Here are some guidelines to consider when preparing your snacks…
- 1/2 of your meal should be vegetables
- 1/4 should be lean protein
- 1/4 should be complex carb.
- Always have some raw veggies with your meal – the enzymes help with digestion
- Combine a carb with a protein to stabilize blood sugar levels (your brain will thank you)
- Except – eat fruit alone if your digestion is compromised in any way (gas, bloating, allergies etc)
- Include essential fatty acids at each meal to aid in absorption of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin E etc.
- Increase your fiber for healthy digestion
Here are some ideas…
- whole grain wrap (sprouted grain is best – Foods for Life Ezekiel) with egg salad and baby spinach with avocado and mandarin orange segments
- whole grain crackers, wild salmon (canned is fine), raw veggies and hummus
- leftovers are a great choice. Quinoa and roasted veggies with feta, Spanish Chicken Dish, etc.
- Large Salad – any lettuce but iceberg – topped with chick peas or cubed grain fed chicken, veggies, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (raw), dressing: flax oil or EVO and balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and celtic sea salt
- Bean Salad – red and green peppers, corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, topped with your favourite dressing, enjoy with baked non-GMO whole grain corn chips (beans + corn = complete protein)
- Sandwich – nut or seed butter (certified peanut free versions like soy or sunflower butter) with banana or grated apple – sprinkle with 1 tbsp ground flax seeds (or mix 1 tsp flax oil into the seed or nut butter for an extra brain boost), Sprouted grain bread (Food for Life), Spelt, Kamut, whole grain rye or Gluten-free bread are healthier alternatives to processed whole wheat which tends to be hard to digest for many of us. (rotating your grains is important for our overall nutrition)
- High protein/fiber muffin, plain organic yogurt (mix in 1 tbsp chia seeds and sweeten with stevia or fruit spread) and a piece of fruit
- Handful of nuts/seeds and dried fruit (dried fruit is one thing you may want to splurg and buy organic because regular dried fruit is highly contaminated with pesticides) or a fresh piece of fruit instead of dried.
- Brown rice, spelt, buckwheat or quinoa pasta with tomato sauce and chick peas and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with grated cheese or for a diary-free choice, Daiya cheese is excellent. Fresh, raw cucumbers on the side will help with digestion.
- Hard boiled egg (grain fed chickens) – with some raw veggies, whole grain crackers and bean dip or hummus
- And don’t forget a treat – Breakfast cookie, Rice Crispy Treats, Gluten-free Brownie, Roasted Chick Peas
- keep a handful of raw nuts and seeds in your purse or pocket and nibble throughout the day – you will be amazed at how well this will keep you focused and energized. (and you will be less likely to binge when you get home)
- mix a flavoured protein powder into water in the morning, put it into a thermos or travel mug and keep this on your desk to sip throughout the day.
- there are some healthier protein bars out there if you don’t have time to make your own but try to eat real food more often
Linda Ljucovic, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Oakville
Click here for ideas on how to get ready for school and to maintain health during the cooler months.