Healthy Ideas for Better School Lunches
Better School Lunches
For children who attend public or private schools it is imperative that school staff, teachers, administrators and other school personnel are aware of your children’s special dietary needs, especially, if your child has an anaphylactic reaction to certain foods. You might want to consider purchasing a medical alert bracelet or necklace and a backpack/lunchbox tag, and a backpack/lunch box clip that states what your child cannot eat. They even sell charms for shoes. You can also purchase tags and jewelry that show that your child carries an epi-pen/allergy injector. They make some very child friendly jewelry and charms these days.
If your child has a 504 or an IEP, it is very smart to be sure this information is stated on these forms and shared with everyone who comes in contact with your child.
Now, let’s pack some great lunches! The best advice to eat healthy is to read labels and shop at healthier stores. If you have not checked labels, you will be shocked. So many foods in typical grocery stores are loaded with toxic ingredients and are really not real food. Look for ingredients that you recognize. You want real food, real ingredients. Compare the differences. Tell your friends and family members. Changing one’s diet can change one’s life. Many people have been able to get off medications, or lessen them, have been able to lose weight, have been able to feel better and live long, happy lives with a change to healthy foods. A good documentary to watch is The Magic Pill. The show is about changing ones diet because that is the “magic pill,” not a real pill!
Compare these ingredients in a package of stir fry vegetables. Which do you think you should be buying or making?
#1 Vegetables (Carrots, Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Red Bell Peppers, Water, Chestnuts, Baby Cob Corn), Sauce (Water, Soy Sauce [Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt], Sherry Cooking Wine [Sherry Wine, Salt] Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Cider Vinegar, Garlic Powder, Salt, Soybean Oil, Spices, Xanthan Gum, Sake [Water, Rice, Salt] Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring, Natural Flavors), Mushrooms
#2 All organic: carrots, broccoli florets, bok choy, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, snow peas, kale, Filtered Water, Organic Tamari Sauce (Water, Organic Soybeans, Salt), Organic Sugar, Organic Ginger Puree, Organic White Vinegar, Organic Red Miso (Organic Soybeans, Organic Rice Koji, Sea Salt, Water, Koji Spores), Organic Corn Starch, Organic Mirin Wine, Organic Sesame Oil, Organic Garlic, Organic Onion, Organic Caramel Color, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Mushroom Powder, Xanthan Gum.
Ingredients to pay attention to and avoid: modified food starch, soy that is not organic, other ingredients that are not organic, and natural flavors and flavorings.
What is Modified Food Starch?
It is an ingredient that has been chemically altered from a variety of starches. Could be from corn, potatoes, tapioca, rice or wheat.
What are Natural Flavors and Flavorings?
According to the FDA “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional”
#3 Why not make your own stir fry: organic grass fed ribeye boneless steak, organic broccoli florets, lima bean pods, organic red bell pepper cloves garlic, coconut oil, organic soy sauce, raw honey
So, how do you send a warm, healthy lunch to school for your kids? Use a stainless steel Thermos. Try it out ahead of time, as some do not keep the food warm for enough hours. It is best to heat up water, poor it into the Thermos for a few minutes, then empty the water, then add the food and close up the container.
Keep your kids healthy. Avoid processed, chemical filled foods to have the healthiest children! Avoid toxins as much as you possibly can. Healthy eating keeps colds and other viruses and diseases away and makes a stronger body! Clean hands are equally important!
Here are some other ideas of what to put in the Thermos (items with sauces seem to stay hot longer:
- Left overs
- BBQ foods
- Veggies and rice
- Taco meat
- Meat and rice
Here are some cold lunch ideas for the main course:
- Tortillas, taco shells, naan bread, etc. to go with hot ingredients from the Thermos
- Crackers with meats, nut butters, hummus, etc.
- Trail mix
- Deviled eggs
- Nuts or seeds
- Chicken salad
- Egg salad
Some ideal side dishes: (If you are providing packaged foods remember to read the labels.)
- Cut up vegetables and fruit
- Whole vegetables and fruit
- Rice cakes
- Desserts-occasionally (best to make from scratch)
Barrie Silberberg is the author of The Autism & ADHD Diet : A Step-by-Step Guide To Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) And Others Interventions. Her web site is: www.puttingyourkidsfirst.com
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- Is Packing Your Child’s Lunch a Healthier Option?
- Focus on Color
- 10 Quick & Easy After School Snacks
- Wellness: Breakfast for Champions
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This post originally appeared on our July/August 2018 Magazine