Make Lunch Great Again
The multitude of quick meal fixes loaded with fat and sugar, coupled with increasingly erratic and hectic schedules that make time-saving measures all the more appealing, has harmed our health in ways we may not always realize. Yet we are far from the point of no return; taking some time to realize the unhealthy habits we have entrenched ourselves in, and making small but crucial steps in the other direction, can make a world of difference.
Lunch is the meal most likely to fall astray from healthy habits, as it falls between your many classes, schoolwork, and social dramas. But by devoting more of your free time in the evenings and mornings to your lunch, you can have a healthy and enjoyable meal to re-energize you for the afternoon. Making lunch fun starts not with your food but what you put the food in. By investing in a quality lunchbox, insulated containers, a thermos, and ice packs, you are allowing for much greater variety in the types of foods you can pack and take with you. Otherwise, you will be stuck with very limited options. Bringing the same foods with you to school every day will quickly grow dull.
Take full advantage of your freezer. Go nuts with those Saturday morning pancakes and prepare more than the family can handle, then store the leftovers for the weeks ahead. This way, you can utilize your free time on weekends to put together fun and healthy recipes that can then be enjoyed in the middle of a busy week.
Insulated containers and a thermos can transform your lunches to feel more like fresh meals. A thermos allows a meal to retain its heat for several hours, long enough to still be deliciously warm when you are sitting in the cafeteria. The few extra minutes spent heating up soup in the morning will provide an energy boost later in the day, as you can fill said soup with a tasty variety of healthy ingredients, and warm liquids aid in digestion.
Improving the aesthetics of your meal can make it more fun and encourage healthier eating habits. Take out a quirkily shaped ice pop mould from the freezer and fill it with whatever smoothie combination piques your interest that day. Make sure to throw in a couple of ice packs to guarantee the smoothie will be waiting for you come lunchtime. Use cookie cutters to cut your sandwiches into the shapes of your favourite characters or interests. This may sound silly, but it can be great conversation fodder with others sitting around you and it encourages you to spend more time thinking about what you are eating and how to prepare it.
There are many ways to make lunch both fun and healthy. What is most important is to devote more time and attention to what you are putting into your body. The improvements to your physical and mental well-being are more than worth a few extra minutes.
Leake, Lisa. 100 Days of Real Food: How to Pack a Healthy School Lunch. www.takepart.com/photos/100-days-real-food-packing-lunch-for-kids/give-your-kids-healthy-school-lunch
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