It’s that time of the year for “School Lunches”

It’s the start of a new school year and most parents are back in the kitchen wondering what will I put in the school lunches today?  Over the next month we will look at many issues dealing with your children, their eating & exercise habits.

The best way to teach children good eating habits is to show them.   A good start is sitting at the family dining table as a “family” & eat healthy foods together,   talk about what your family is eating and why.   Children learn by example.  This is a good article to read together with your children, it give you the opportunity to engage with them about all things healthy.  At Coffs Coast Health Club we are not only into your fitness as a parent but we are also into the health & welfare of entire families & communities.  If you need any information about nutrition for yourself or you family we are more than happy to help.  Bon Appetite!

You’re sitting in class and your stomach is starting to rumble. Finally, the bell rings and it’s time for lunch — woo-hoo! After all that time in class, you deserve a chance to head to the lunch area and sit down, relax, and enjoy the company of your friends over lunch.

But wait a minute — what exactly are you eating?

More than at other meals, kids have a lot of control over what they eat for lunch at school. A kid can choose to eat the green beans or throw them out. A kid also can choose to eat an apple instead of an ice cream sandwich.

When choosing what to eat for lunch, making a healthy choice is really important. Here’s why: Eating a variety of healthy foods gives you energy to do stuff, helps you grow the way you should, and can even keep you from getting sick.

Think of your school lunch as the fuel you put in your tank. If you choose the wrong kind of fuel, you might run out of energy before the day is over.

So what is the right kind of fuel? What does a healthy lunch look like? Unlike that killer question on your math test, there are many right answers to these questions.

To Buy or Not to Buy

Most kids have the choice of packing lunch or buying one at school. The good news is that a kid can get a healthy lunch by doing either one. But it’s not a slam-dunk. Chances are, some meals and foods served in the school canteen are healthier than others.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy your lunch, it just means you might want to give the canteen menu a closer look. Read the canteen menu the night before. Knowing what’s for lunch beforehand will let you know if you want to eat it! Bring home a copy of the menu or figure out how to find it on the school website.

A packed lunch isn’t automatically healthier than one you buy at school. If you pack chocolate cake and potato chips, that’s not a nutritious meal! But a packed lunch, if you do it right, does have a clear advantage. When you pack your lunch, you can be sure it includes your favorite healthy foods — stuff you know you like. It’s not a one-size-fits-all lunch. It’s a lunch just for you. If your favorite sandwich is peanut butter and banana, just make it and pack it — then you can eat it for lunch. Or maybe you love olives. Go ahead and pack them!

If you want to pack your lunch, you’ll need some help from your parents. Talk to them about what you like to eat in your lunch so they can stock up on those foods. Parents might offer to pack your lunch for you. This is nice of them, but you may want to watch how they do it and ask if you can start making your lunches yourself. It’s a way to show that you’re growing up.

10 Steps to a Great Lunch

Whether you pack or buy your lunch, follow these guidelines:

  1. Choose fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are like hitting the jackpot when it comes to nutrition. They make your plate more colorful and they’re packed with vitamins and fiber. It’s a good idea to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, so try to fit in one or two at lunch. A serving isn’t a lot. A serving of carrots is ½ cup or about 6 baby carrots. A fruit serving could be one medium orange.
  2. Know the facts about fat. Kids need some fat in their diets to stay healthy — it also helps keep you feeling full — but you don’t want to eat too much of it. Fat is found in butter, oils, cheese, nuts, and meats. Some higher-fat lunch foods include french fries, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets. Don’t worry if you like these foods! No food is bad, but you may want to eat them less often and in smaller portions. Foods that are lower in fat are usually baked or grilled. Some of the best low-fat foods are fruits, vegetables, and skim and low-fat milk.
  3. Let whole grains reign. “Grains” include breads, cereals, rice, and pasta. But as we learn more about good nutrition, it’s clear that whole grains are better than refined grains. What’s the difference? Brown rice is a whole grain, but white rice is not. Likewise, wheat bread contains whole grains, whereas 100% white bread does not.
  4. Slurp sensibly. It’s not just about what you eat — drinks count, too! Milk has been a favorite lunchtime drink for a long time. If you don’t like milk, choose water. Avoid juice drinks and soft drinks.
  5. Balance your lunch. When people talk about balanced meals, they mean meals that include a mix of food groups: some grains, some fruits, some vegetables, some meat or protein foods, and some dairy foods such as milk and cheese. Try to do this with your lunch. If you don’t have a variety of foods on your plate, it’s probably not balanced. A double order of french fries, for example, would not make for a balanced lunch.
  6. Steer clear of packaged snacks. Many schools make salty snacks, candy, and soft drink available in the cafeteria or in vending machines. It’s OK to have these foods once in a while, but they shouldn’t be on your lunch menu.
  7. Mix it up. Do you eat the same lunch every day? If that lunch is a hot dog, it’s time to change your routine. Keep your taste buds from getting bored and try something new. Eating lots of different kinds of food gives your body a variety of nutrients.
  8. Quit the clean plate club. Because lunch can be a busy time, you might not stop to think whether you’re getting full. Try to listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel full, it’s OK to stop eating.
  9. Use your manners. Lunch areas sometimes look like feeding time at the zoo. Don’t be an animal! Follow those simple rules your parents are always reminding you about: Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t talk and eat at the same time. Use your utensils. Put your napkin on your lap. Be polite. And don’t make fun of what someone else is eating.
  10. Don’t drink milk and laugh at the same time! Whatever you do at lunch, don’t tell your friends a funny joke when they’re drinking milk. Before you know it, they’ll be laughing and that milk will be coming out their noses! Gross!

by Mary L. Gavin, MD  for http://kidshealth.org

Try this easy Cheese & Zucchini Scone Recipe

Cheese and zucchini scones recipe

Cheese and zucchini scones

These cheese and zucchini scones are a tasty solution if you looking for an alternative to a savoury roll and they are really easy to make! You can fill them with your favourite deli meats and condiments.

ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini, coursely grated
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup tasty cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 spring onions (shallots), finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.

Wrap the grated zucchini in a paper towel or a new chux cloth and squeeze out all the liquid.

Place into a bowl with the flour, the tasty and parmesan cheese, spring onion and salt. Mix together well so that all the cheese is well coated in the flour and the strands are seperated.

Pour the buttermilk into the bowl and use a spatula to fold the mixture together.

Place on a surface that is dusted with flour and lightly knead. Pat out into a 2cm thick circle.

Take a large scone cutter dipped into flour and cut 10 scones. Fold the dough together and pat out again to cut another round of scones.

Place on the tray so that each scone is touching the next and they are all joined up.

Brush the tops with a little buttermilk and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Split and fill with fresh leg ham and homemade chutney.

Notes

  • If you don’t have any buttermilk, you add a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to full-fat milk to create “buttermilk”.
  • If you don’t have a large scone cutter you can use a drinking glass to cut these scones.
  • I used spring onions for their full flavour but if you like a more subtle flavour you can replace these with 1/3 cup of chopped chives.
  • This recipe was created by Jennifer Cheung for Kidspot, Australia’s best recipe finder.

What do your children like to eat at lunch time?  Share your ideas & together let’s eat healthy and more nutritious food for “everybody’s” health!

 

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