What to prepare for lunch is always a hot topic of conversation for adults and children. When I was growing up it was typical to see a sandwich with lunch meat, a soda, and chips in a brown bag. Have you ever seen that too? I’m sure many people would consider this a healthy lunch. The Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham Women's Hospital conducted a study and found that daily consumption of potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverage, processed meat slowly adds weight and over a four year period could add up to three extra pounds. Over a 20 year period of time that is 15 extra pounds! When we feed our children this standard type of lunch everyday we are teaching them habits can impact their health too. The Harvard study goes on to say that small changes to nutrition habits can have a positive effect on health. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts are good choices to help create a healthy lunch and prevent the slow creep in gaining weight. We can use this information to modify our lunches to create options for ourselves and for our children. For example in a brown bag lunch we can include whole grain pita pocket shredded vegetables covered by shredded chicken, ground turkey or chickpeas. (Hiding the vegetables inside the pita is great way to get the children and husband to eat them). Along with a sandwich or pita consider fruit cut up into pieces, which are more appealing to eat than whole fruit, and trail mix or a dollop of peanut butter for dipping. If there is an option to heat up lunch, leftover sautéed vegetables served with brown rice and a piece of meat is a great option. Another choice could be a salad with protein served over the top with a nice hearty soup with a combination of vegetables and beans. A cup of berries for a touch of sweetness is a great end to your meal. Lunch can be simple and healthy too.
A few minutes of planning can create a variety of options that are tasty and healthy!
What are some of your healthy choices for lunch?
Dr. Daemon Jones
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