It is common to carry packed lunch especially for those who work far away from home or spending the whole day outdoors. School-going children too usually carry packed lunch. According to research, a huge percentage of packed lunches consumed by school children do not meet the nutritional standards of a healthy meal. Healthy lunches are crucial to the development of active children. Adults who carry packed lunches should also strive to eat food that meets nutritional standards. It, therefore, invites the question of what a healthy lunch box should contain. These are some of the foods to have in a lunch box:
We consume carbohydrates primarily from starchy food. These types of food play an important role in a healthy diet. Examples of starchy food to include in your lunch box are rice, potatoes, bread, cereals, and pasta. Starchy carbohydrates should form just about a third of the food in your lunch box. If possible, go for whole grain varieties because they are highly nutritious. Potatoes should be consumed without peeling off their skins for more fiber. Strive for a golden yellow color when cooking and a lighter color when baking.
Fresh fruit and vegetable salads
Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a healthy meal. They are a must-have in a healthy lunch-box. Tinned or fresh fruits are appropriate for your lunch-box. Dried fruit is high in sugar so you should only have it occasionally. Dried fruit bars, on the other hand, should be left out of the lunch box because they contain high levels of sugar, are low in fiber and can cause damage to the teeth especially for children who may not understand the importance of brushing their teeth after consuming these types of food. Vegetable sticks should also go into a lunch-box.
Source of protein
It is essential to have a balanced diet even if you are eating food from a lunch-box. You should, therefore, have a source of protein in your lunch box. Some of the best sources of protein for a healthy meal to have in your lunch-box include fish, eggs, beans and pulses, cheese, and meat. You can also have a dairy alternative since they are also good sources of protein. Protein is important for growth and should, therefore, never miss from the lunch-box of a school-going child.
A healthy drink
A healthy lunch-box should never miss a drink such as skimmed milk, fruit juice or water. Sugar-free drinks are also appropriate for a healthy diet.
Ensure that you vary the fillings in your lunch-box. Some of the fillings to have in healthy lunch-box include peanut butter, tuna, and grated lettuce and carrot. Avoid unhealthy fillings such as chocolate spreads, honey and jams, and fatty meat. You should also not include fizzy and sugary drinks in your lunch box. When packing bread in the lunch-box, avoid white bread and use brown bread instead. If your child does not like brown bread, use whole white bread instead.