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Thursday, October 9, 2014

5 Tasty Lunches to Take to Work

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    5 Great Lunch Ideas for Both Kids and Adults


    (MSNBC Health, ) Some kids love PB&J  peanut butter and jelly, of course  but as a school lunch day after day, it can be a bore. So spare your child the lunchtime blues by packing some fresh and innovative meals. No time for meal-making during the morning rush? Then pack them the night before. Audrey Cross, a professor of nutrition at Columbia University, offers some simple recipes for fun and nutritious lunches, as shown on NBC's Weekend Today.
    PACKING SCHOOL LUNCHES can be a frustrating chore for parents who want to make something creative and nutritious that their kids will want to eat. A recent survey from Quaker found that 60 percent of parents disagree with their children over what to pack in their lunch boxes, and 70 percent of parents are concerned that kids are eating unhealthy snacks. According to the survey, the snacks kids want most often are chips (72 percent), cookies (72 percent) and candy bars (55 percent). And according to a 1998 study in Consumer Reports, Americans spend more than $5 billion a year on nearly 2 billion pounds of luncheon meats. The most popular choice is ham; balogna and turkey tied for second. These three meats account for more than 2/3 of the lunch meat market.
    This inevitable pattern results in the same old thing: sandwiches, or sending kids off to school with money to buy their lunch. Sandwiches can quickly become boring and predictable, and letting kids decide on their own nutritional intake can be dangerous. So below are five meals sure to shake up the made-at-home menu. They'll also give your kids great nutritional value.
    But first, let's do away with one common complaint: It takes too long to make lunches in the morning. Actually, this is a myth. A recent study showed that it actually took the same or less time to make these meals than it did to make the fast-cooking meals that have become so popular.
    Five fun lunches
    THREE LITTLE PIGS
    Make pigs-in-a-blanket using low-fat wieners wrapped in a low-fat crescent roll with mustard dip. Pack with cucumber spears, cherry tomatoes, watermelon cubes and bottled water.
    ITALIAN PASTA
    Serve whole-wheat bow-tie pasta with a primavera topping of sauted eggplant, tomato, squash, basil, garlic, pepper and mushrooms (these veggies are full of flavor, fiber and vitamins and minerals). Pack with a slice of semolina Italian bread (a complex carbohydrate energy source), honeydew melon (rich in fluids), and cranberry juice (fortified with vitamin C)
    BURRITO LUNCH
    Burrito means little burro and it's a perfect name because these rolled-up tortillas carry an entire meal inside. Fill your burrito with:
    • Mashed beans (excellent source of fiber, iron, B vitamins)
    • Chopped lettuce (fiber)
    • Diced tomatoes (lycopene & vitamin A)
    • Shredded cheese (calcium & protein)
    Pack with baked tortilla chips, mango or papaya cubes tossed with lime juice (to keep them from discoloring) and orange juice (vitamin C).
    ROASTED VEGGIE POCKETS
    Roast squash, eggplant, mushrooms or your choice of veggies over a grill, then stuff into a whole-wheat pita. Add a small container of plain yogurt for topping. Pack with cantaloupe cubes, a cereal bar (for energy and calcium), and chocolate milk.
    CHICKEN KEBOBS
    On 4-inch-long kebob sticks, alternate precooked chicken cubes, halved small red potatoes, red pepper and broccoli. Add a small container of dip such as nonfat plain yogurt with dill. Pack with some colorful fruit  a kiwi and peach compote is a good choice and orange juice.
    More great lunch ideas
    • Leftovers make great lunches, too. Older kids often have access to a microwave in their school cafeteria so they can heat up home-cooked meals. Just pack the leftovers in a microwaveable container and they can nuke it at lunchtime.
    • To keep lunches safe till eating time, refrigerate them overnight. Then pack them in thermal containers or use a frozen fruit juice box to keep them cold until meal time.
    • For smaller children, make all ingredients bite-size  no cutting should be required. Finger foods are also favorites of kids: cutting vegetables and fruits into finger-size pieces makes them more fun and easier to eat. Dips are also a favorite for children. Use herb dips for veggies or spiced dips (nonfat yogurt with cinnamon) for apple slices.
    • And remember, adults may want to pack their lunches, too. Homemade lunches are much healthier than most quick-foods, and they actually save time in the long run. Just compare the time it takes to make these tasty lunches (not much) with the time it takes to go out and grab lunch.
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