Obesity sadly still plagues our children. Everything from illness-associated obesity to depression to overeating, lack of exercise or simply poor choice in dieting contributes to the high numbers of obesity in children. Part of that comes from kids being able to have healthier, wholesome lunches at school. Time should never be a factor for parents in giving their children healthy meals and snacks, but with the crunch of school and work, it often becomes an unfortunate reality. We interviewed Nerissa Hope, a vegan chef, who has some ideas to share for children's school lunches. The best part is that these are easy to create in less than 10 minutes!
Hope Gardens Kitchen
After losing her grandmother to diabetes, 51-year-old, Nerissa Hope was motivated to keep her children from the same fate. With a home-based vegan catering service, she uses her children as an example of healthy eating in the school environment. "They do a very good job of encouraging their friends to try the healthy lunches and snacks that they take to school. When they have events at school, I prepare one of my healthy dishes for the students to try," she says. They say it truly does take a village to raise a child, and with convenience stores promoting junk food, it is up to people like Nerissa to introduce them to healthy-yet-delicious choices for their snacking pleasure.
The following five healthy lunches can be prepared in less than ten minutes if purchased prepackaged. Or, as Nerissa suggests, take a little bit of time out of your day and spend it prepping lunches with your child for an even healthier experience.
In preparing them, Hope offers some general advice to parents to use non-GMO fruits and veggies and avoid meats with sulfur, preservatives, dyes and MSGs, as well as mercury and other unhealthy elements. She also suggests that these and other lunches always add a small bottle of water to encourage kids to drink. To keep packing time at or under 10 minutes, she advises that prepping is the key.
Allow your child to select his or her favorite topping, such as cheese, lettuce, spinach, sprouts and dressing. Be sure to use wheat or rye for your choice of bun or bread. Include a fruit salad medley of favorite fruits. Include a real juice product and a healthy snack, such as a Nutrigrain bar. Your child will be eating great, and there may even be leftovers because this delicious meal is very filling!
Be sure that your tuna has been caught in the wild and is a mercury-free product. There is a lot of controversy over the effects of farmed tuna on the developing and adult body, as well as concern over the effects of mercury if canned tuna is consumed in high amounts.
Once you have figured out which tuna you will be using, wrap it with a whole-wheat tortilla and your favorite veggies. Ripe bananas and grapes go well with this meal. Including real orange juice products and trail mix to this lunch will be bliss!
This is almost more like a dessert than a sandwich and perfect for the child who barely touches his plate. Throw in some fruit salad, yogurt and real fruit juice and you have just made a deal with the devil!
Milk can be substituted for juice. Celery sticks and carrots can also be added to make this meal go over the top!
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Instead of chicken nuggets, veggie nuggets will make a great alternative. You won't even have to worry about the food becoming contaminated after two hours! Healthy green salads, bran muffins, pears and real apple juice are suggested in making this lunch complete.
Making veggie pizza on Naan bread is perfect — it is pure vegan. Including sliced peaches and plums on the side is a wise choice. Based on your child's taste buds, he or she may like fruit on top of the pizza. Be sure to include fruit juice for beverage. For a snack, add an oatmeal bar. It's as simple as that!
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