By Aoife Delaney
HEALTH & WELL-BEING:
Medley Fleet Street East
By Andrew Rudd, Medley Fleet Street East
It can often be a dilemma to know what to prepare for your lunch, that’s if you want to maintain a relatively healthy diet whilst avoiding fast food at work. Let’s make it exciting and above all nutritious. This may require being somewhat creative in order to introduce as much variety as possible. If you have children, ask them to help prepare your lunchbox, as they will hopefully 'buy into' your choices. You can control what goes in and they can assemble the lunch boxes. Why not prepare a 5-day plan during the weekend. You could even bring your children shopping to select the ingredients.
Try using multigrain or flax breads instead of white bread. Wholegrain breads are rich in fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Bagels, tortilla, and small pitta breads are great for a variety of really tasting fillings. Chicken, tuna and egg salads can provide great sources of protein. Ham, beef and turkey can also provide a wonderful source of protein, as are grated cheese. It is great to use vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, and salad leaves, wherever possible. Use mayonnaise, soft cheese, crème Frâiche to accompany the various fillings.
In stead of buying yourself a chocolate bar or a so called healthy 'protein bar', supplement the lunch with a piece of fruit, a stick of celery with hummus, cherry tomatoes, a granola bar, dried fruit, nuts, rice cakes, raisins, and natural yogurt as a source of calcium. Water and milk are the best drinks. Another healthy choice is soy milk, which comes in different flavours these days. Avoid sugary drinks like fruit juice and fizzy soft drinks.
Here’s an idea that can be prepared the night before:
Pasta with Mascarpone, Bacon, and Broccoli
This was a dish that my Mum Prue prepared regularly when we were kids. There were nine children in the family and it was all about quick, convenient, easy to prepare and can be bulked up so easily. My variation on this beautifully simple dish is to add Mascarpone, which is an Italian cream cheese. It adds a very different dynamic to the dish and completely transforms the texture and flavour. Yum
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Healthy Lunch Box ideas
Remember that meats, dairy products, and eggs are perishable; so be sure to use a freezer pack to keep them cold. Choose whole grain bread, wraps, or pitas. If your child resists whole grain breads, use bread that is made with some whole grain but still has the flavour and texture of white bread. Each sandwich should have a healthy protein source and healthy toppings. Some suggestions:
What should you send along with the sandwich? A piece of fresh fruit is healthy but can get a bit boring after a while. Skip the greasy chips and choose from these healthier ideas, just remember to keep perishables cold:
Make sandwiches using protein fillings such as chicken, egg, ham, tuna or cheese or make salads such as Chicken Caesar salad or Tuna pasta salad.
Complex carbohydrates release calories slowly and help to keep up energy levels and concentration. In contrast, refined carbohydrates (such as those in white bread, biscuits or cakes) only provide instant, short-lived energy. Choose complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, pasta, banana or rice. Pasta or rice salads make a nice change from sandwiches.
In a recent survey by the Dairy Council, it was found that 2.5 million young people and women were eating too little calcium to build strong bones. Lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis later in life, so make sure that you regularly include dairy products in your child's lunchbox. Cheese, yoghurt, forage frais, yoghurt drinks, smoothies and milkshakes are all excellent sources of calcium.
Fruit and vegetables
Health experts recommend that we include five portions of fruit and vegetables in our diet every day. Whole fruit may not be that appealing to youngsters, so try cutting fruit into chunks and threading it onto skewers or thin straws. Include dried fruit too - dried apricots in particular are rich in vitamins and minerals.
ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
ANDREW RUDD, Owner
: Andrew Rudd
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