Would you like to be whipping up nourishing lunches that give you and your kids the fuel to power through the day without afternoon slumps, hunger, cravings or loss of concentration? Sounds good, right? The thing is, too many of us fall out of love with lunch time due to lack of inspiration, busy lives or confusion about what is the “right” thing to eat.
The truth is, there is no one perfect meal for every adult and child. Surprised? Well you see, we’re all unique and therefore the food we eat should be as individual as we are. The important thing is to find what suits you – what do YOU and your family love to eat? Which foods make your bodies sing? And which foods make you tired, unwell or simply undernourished? When we begin to understand that food has the ability to make us feel alive (or not) we can make better choices that our bodies will love us for.
Start to notice how you and your family feel after eating. Do you feel tired, bloated or achy? Do the kids get irritable? For instance, gluten always zaps my energy so I avoid it, especially at lunchtime otherwise I’m likely to fall asleep at the desk!
Another important factor to consider is what’s really in the food we’re eating? Start reading the ingredient labels on foods before you buy them so that you can make an educated decision about what you and your family are really consuming. Eliminating processed foods containing chemicals like additives, colours, preservatives and sugar is the best place to start. Eating for nourishment is absolutely not about restriction! It’s about eating real food, as close to nature as possible so that you can receive the maximum amount of nutrition possible.
Enjoying a nourishing and delicious lunch needn’t be hard, or take up a lot of your time. A little planning can go a long way towards making lunch times easier to manage for you and your loved ones.
Start by trying to include each of these elements for a nutritionally balanced lunch box for the kids, or meal for yourself that's packed with foods for healthy brain function, energy, hydration, a happy digestive system and strong immunity:
Protein includes so much more than just meat and fish! Think about eggs, nuts (if they’re OK at your kid’s school), seeds, cheese, yoghurt, beans and peas as alternatives.
2. Good Fats
When it comes to fats, there are bad guys and good guys! Good fats are essential for healthy brain function and include avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, grass fed butter, fish, olives and surprisingly, green leafy vegetables which are high in Omega 3s.
A piece of fresh fruit or a fruit salad ticks the box for unprocessed carbohydrates and a naturally sweet treat.
Getting veggies into the lunch box, especially of the green variety will provide kids and adults alike with a quality source of carbohydrates, full of fibre, calcium and protein for healthy digestion, energy and strong bones.
Think still or sparkling water, coconut water, or a small smoothie. Avoid sugary drinks which will cause blood sugar levels to rise resulting in the dreaded afternoon slump.
And there you have it! Address each step and you’ve got yourself a balanced, nourishing meal for yourself or lunch box for the kids, resulting in energised, happy little learners at school (or for the big kids, at work!).
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