YOU Magazine - September 2012 - Healthy Eating TipsFor School and Work Lunches
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Brent Prockish Team at Total Lending Concepts
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Healthy Eating Tips
For School and Work Lunches

Healthy Eating TipsFor School and Work Lunches

The summer–and the leisurely atmosphere it brings–has come to a screeching halt. Children have started back to school, and for many parents that means packing school lunches has become part of your weekday routine. Here are some great tips for keeping your children's school lunches and your work lunches healthy.
According to the Department of Agriculture's, there are five food groups that are considered the "building blocks to a healthy diet." These include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.  The website features a Daily Food Plan tool to help you determine what foods you should eat each day...and in what quantities. The tool is customized based on your height, weight, and other personal characteristics and there's even one specifically for moms and preschoolers. It's a great resource for not only planning healthy lunches, but healthy meals of all types.

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you have an A+ lunch!

Eat healthy and stay wealthy. Do some prep work in order to have your lunches planned out for the work and school week. Not only will this keep you from running to the store multiple times for those forgotten items, it will also detour you from having to slip your child some change for the school lunch line. And keep you away from the fast food options.

Make it a team effort. Make it fun for your kids, by taking them grocery shopping with you. Allow them to select some of their own healthy options to pack in their lunch.

Wrap and go. Turn ordinary into extraordinary by going from a regular sandwich on bread to a wrap. You could wrap up something as simple as hummus with lettuce and tomato, or lunch meat and cheese.

Kiss condiments good-bye. Mayonnaise, salad dressing, and other heavy condiments not only make some healthy options unhealthy–they also make sandwich breads and salads soggy. If these are a must-have for you, then consider packing disposable packets or placing a small serving size (1 teaspoon is conservative) into a separate small Tupperware container.

Variety is the spice of life. Change things up from day to day. Don't be redundant with lunches or both you and your children will become bored and may feel the urge to cruise through the snack line or fast food lane.

Don't forget your thermos. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should drink "at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day." Instead of spending money on disposable bottled waters, pack a 64-ounce cold thermos and keep it filled up.

Skip the sugar. Just say no to soda, sugary juice boxes, and energy drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics does consider 100% fruit juice a part of a healthy diet, so if you do opt for juice, select "100% juice" and look for words like "no sugar added."

Control your portions. Ziploc® makes a wonderful, reusable divided container which is also microwaveable, dishwasher and freezer safe. Bento lunch boxes are also appropriate for portion control and even come in a variety of fun colors that children may like. Not only will this save money–it also will enable you to control portions.

Bring leftovers. When preparing dinner, cook enough to carry you into the next day. Leftovers make life easy, and if dinner was a hit, then you and your kids will most certainly look forward to lunch leftovers!

Chill out. If you don't have access to a refrigerator at work or school, then be sure to pack your lunch full of ice packs. According to a recent article in USA Today, "The USDA recommends that cold food be kept at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and that no food should be at room temperature for more than two hours."

Slow up! Eating too quickly can cause you to inadvertently overeat. Take your time and enjoy the food that you're eating. That way, your body will be able to signal when you are getting full. This is an important tip to share with your children, as it will help them develop healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.


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