Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Handouts from our Nutrition Speaker - Lunch Box Basics

We had a great speaker last night at the PCA meeting on making healthy meals and snacks for your kids. If you couldn't make it, we'll be posting the handouts here. Here's the first of four:

Lunch Box Basics

The ingredients:
• Vegetables easily chopped and eaten raw or lightly steamed: cucumbers, celery, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, garden sprouts and broccoli.
• Good sources of fats: olives, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, cheese cubes and nuts (unless your school is a nut-free zone due to allergies).
• Sweet foods: grape or cherry tomatoes, fresh fruit, raisins and dried cranberries or apricots (no sugar added), yogurt - plain and sweetened by you at home with a little honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, chopped dates, berries, or applesauce (no sugar added).
• For protein and whole grains, kids love eating edamame from the hull or eating garbanzo beans with a little salt. For meat protein, all natural chicken and hot dogs are easy to pull together. Include whole grains like brown, barley, millet, quinoa, etc. and whole grain breads, crackers, and pretzels but be aware if the ingredient list has more than 5 ingredients you cannot pronounce.

Here are a few ideas for main meals:
1. Sandwiches: It is my experience that many young children do not readily eat sandwiches. That said,
flattening the bread and cutting them into small squares or triangles, helps. Try ham + cheese or
turkey + cheese with all natural meats. Hummus with sliced olives and cucumbers for the Mediterranean palate is great. A favorite is grilled cheese – make yours a healthier by adding pureed
carrot or butternut squash spread on whole grain bread. An alternative to PB&J for nut free schools is sunflower butter and jelly – check out Trader Joe’s sun butter!
2. Make a meal from last night’s dinner. Pasta, rice dishes, vegetable stir-fry’s, etc. You can heat it up from the fridge to freshen it up and put it in a thermos to keep warm until lunch.
3. Brown rice with a side of pesto for dipping raw veggie sticks or to mix with the rice if your child loves pesto. For a quick and delicious nut-free + dairy-free version: blend 1 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds with 2 bunches of basil and ½ cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste.
4. When the cold months arrive, serve soup in a thermos – there are lots of choices from vegetable
purees to beans and broth base soups, like chicken noodle. Again, think of last night’s dinner.
By picking items from these lists, you will not only save time, but you will cover the nutrition lunch basics including protein, whole grains, vegetables, good fat, something sweet and something raw. You may not get all of these every day, but finding a balance over the course of the week is a good goal.

What to drink:
While every child loves juice boxes (our children are no exception), they contain concentrated sugar that can deteriorate their concentration for school activities after lunch. Water is the best choice with lunch. If your child must have juice some of the time, find a brand that includes water, such as First Juice or Honest Kids.

Cucumber dill yogurt dip for raw veggies:
1 (8-ounce) containers plain yogurt, drained in a fine sieve set over a bowl, covered and chilled, for 6 hours (to avoid having excess water in the dip)
1 medium to large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine (squeezed dry between paper towels)
1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a bowl stir together plain yogurt and cucumbers, 1-2 teaspoons chopped dill, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and salt to taste. Let the dip stand, covered and chilled, for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Quesadilla –
Start with 1 or 2 – 8 inch whole wheat tortillas depending on many quesadillas you want to make. Place 1 or half of one on a baking sheet. Add cheese and your child’s favorite toppings (such as diced chicken, olives, or tomatoes) and put the other one (or half) on top. Bake at 400 for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and heated through. Let stand two minutes and cut into triangles. Layer in lunch box with parchment paper to avoid the pieces sticking together. Serve with the cucumber dip above or sour cream.

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