Monday, February 28, 2011

Healthy Kid-Friendly Lunches

"Many days at school, I see a lot of other kids have unhealthy lunches. Their lunches include dye filled chips like Cheetos, Lunchables (Did you ever look at the ingredient list of Lunchables?!), candy, soda, and or white-breaded sandwiches. The school lunches aren’t any healthier either. The school sells pizza, nachos, burritos, and pasta (alternating between marinara sauce spaghetti and meat macaroni), as well as french fries, milk, orange or apple juice, and Gatorade. For snacks, the school sells slushes, cookies, and pudding, Cutie Pies, or Hostess Fruit Pies (sometimes all three). Vending machines provide chips, flavored water, pretzels, candy, and other junk food. Kids receive money from their parents to buy a filling lunch from the school snack bar, but instead of buying pizza or a main dish, they buy candy, slushies, junk from the vending machine, and/or any other junk the school may be selling that day. These options are training kids to eat unhealthy. I try to encourage my friends to pack their own healthy lunches to bring to school, eat their fruits and vegetables instead of throwing them away, and to use reusable containers instead of plastic bags to pack their lunches.

Leftovers make a great lunch (soup, pasta, rice, etc.) as well as good old PB and J (non-hydrogenated PB and fruit sweetened jam). Some healthy lunches that I love (and you or your kid(s) may too!) are listed below. Enjoy!

1. Homemade pizza with organic ingredients
2. Soy meat sandwich with whole wheat bread and vegan mayonnaise (see recipes in sidebar). You can put organic tomatoes, lettuce, avocado on this sandwich, as well as any other item you like that is nutritious.
3. PB and banana (non- hydrogenated PB)
4. Left over homemade vegetable soup
5. Left over stir-fry veggies with noodles (good even cold)

Here are some ideas you can try for at-home lunches.

1. Boca or Garden burgers
2. Grilled cheese sandwich with Swiss, jack, or cheddar cheese slices (organic or hormone free) and grated Parmesan cheese (organic or hormone free) on whole wheat bread with Dijon mustard (optional).  I grill my sandwich with Earth Balance vegan butter.   
3. Grilled sandwich of tomato, avocado, and organic or hormone free cream cheese on whole wheat bread with Dijon mustard (optional) and vegan mayonnaise. Another way you can make this sandwich is to toast the bread instead of grilling the sandwich if you are in a hurry or want a less fattening sandwich.

Feel free to change any of these lunches around to your liking.  I encourage you to try and make up any other healthy lunches.  If you have any kid-friendly lunch ideas, please write them in the comment section.  I would be happy to post them."

By Katelin Gagnon  :)
Age 11

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