As the kids head back to school please keep in mind what they eat for breakfast and lunch too. This can also apply to anyone who works outside of the home. School lunches notoriously are disgusting and I have seen them first hand. Play-Doh blue colored apple sauce – WHY? Apple Jacks cereal, plastic wrapped microwaved hot buns or waffles, sliced apples that never brown – HOW?…never mind I don’t want to know. You would NEVER choose these foods for your child if you were with them. I would at least hope you wouldn’t. The FDA needs a serious wake up call to 21st century sustainable healthy meals for children. The majority of this processed food is made of 2 ingredients: white flour and sugar. The 3rd would be salt. These foods in no way encourage healthy brain development or nurture a child’s rapidly growing body and mind. Instead this food would be called Rajasic and Tamasic, in yoga terms. That would translate to foods that make your mind crazy like ADD, unfocused and hyper, and sluggish, sleepy, lethargic.
Watch “That Sugar Film” for a good wake up to what is in our food.
So SOLUTIONS! Yes, let’s find solutions. Here are some ideas of simple lunches to pack for your kids from Pre-K through High School, and college or workplace applies too. For Prek – Elementary get a Bento Box (Japanese invention) that look a lot like a stylized tackle box with multiple little spaces. This allows you to also reduce buying over packaged minis of everything from raisins to chips.
Binto Box Fillers: Raisins, organic grapes, a 1/4 cup or so of nuts, hummus, sliced carrots (DO NOT buy baby carrots, they are often bleached whole carrots reformed into smaller sized ones), sliced any organic veggie or broccoli florets, cubed cheese, crackers, pb&j or cheese sandwich cut into 4s, GMO free corn chips, salsa, avocado, sliced apples, peanut butter (fresh ground organic is best) for dipping. WATER in a Re-Usable Water Bottle. Number one thing kids need to stay hydrated.
Older Kid Lunches: Get a Thermos for adding leftovers like spaghetti, soups, chili, etc.and put a biscuit or corn bread along with a fruit to round out the lunch. Wraps rolled with rice, sliced thin veggies, hummus or avocado and dressing. Burrito with refried beans, salsa and cheese. Sandwiches on whole grain bread with pb& jelly or banana. Veggie burger on a bun with sliced organic tomato and lettuce (room temp. is not the end of the world and will still be delicious). Spinach or kale salad with sliced organic local veggies with dressing. I also love chick pea not chicken salad make with a can of chick peas, mayo, nutritional yeast or for a more tuna like flavor, Old Bay – whiz all of that up and add diced celery to put on bread, in a pita, or in a salad.
Snacks: (NO INDIVIDUALLY PACKAGED ANYTHING like snack cakes or chips) Power balls made with dates, nut or seed butter and coconut (check out The Yoga with Nitya Cookbook for recipes), Rice cake and nut or seed butter, an organic fruit with a handful (1/2 c – 1 c) nuts, hummus and sliced organic local veggies, GMO free corn chips and salsa, roasted chick peas, and celery with cream cheese.
Kids do not need any added sugars from cakes, cookies, and brownies. If you want a sweet treat make zucchini, carrot, apple, or banana muffins with them that they can take for snack or part of their lunch.
Breakfast is so important – DO NOT fill your kid up with sugary cereals, pancakes, waffles and baked goods. A GOOD breakfast could be fresh made oatmeal with raisins, chopped fruit and a drizzle of honey/ Whole grain GMO free Organic cereal with a tangerine or some other fruit/ toast or rice cake with nut or seed butter and a fruit/ organic local farmers market eggs with whole grain toast/ organic local farmers market omelet/ one of those healthy muffins mentioned above you made with your kid and a cup of organic yogurt/ granola with yogurt and a fruit. WATER is the best way to hydrate. Kids DO NOT need milk or juice, they need Water. Instead of juice which is high in sugar, eat a piece of organic fruit instead. If you like to juice in the morning stick with veggies not fruit to avoid too much sugar.
Eating foods prepared at home is ALWAYS better. The Yoga with Nitya Cookbook outlines just how easy it can be to cook TOGETHER as a family nutritionally dense, simple, delicious meals. Kids that cook with a parent are more likely to experiment with trying new dishes. Stop caving in to chicken nuggets (mostly GMO corn), fried potatoes, and processed crap. Eat dinner together as much in the week as you can – community building begins at home. Healthy eating should begin at home.
I welcome your feedback and ideas!