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Your Health Blog

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Back to school: a healthy lunch!

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I can tell Summer is almost to an end.  The mornings are cooler, the nights are darker, and Indigo is filling up with notebooks, pens and gadgets all for Back to School.  I myself am going back to school part-time in the evenings this September and I know that the best way to get through the day with clarity and mental focus is by having a good, nutritious and satisfying lunch!

Since I was a kid I have always brown-bagged it.  When I was in 1st Grade, I had a seriously cool neon pink lunch pail with an image of Malibu Barbie and Ken driving a sports car.  Sadly, there came a day when I realized that in fact, my Barbie lunch pail wasn’t actually all that cool and I traded-up for a bigger, better lunch bag.

What’s even better than my lunch bag is what’s in it!  Fresh fruit, veggie sticks and hummus, homemade smoothies and always a great lunch.  My meal needs to be vibrant and colourful, packed full of nutrient-dense foods, flavourful and delicious.  As well, my meals need to provide me with energy and sustenance.

Here are a few components to make a good lunch great!
  • Brain food - Omega-3 fatty acids are Essential Fatty Acids, that is, fat that your body cannot manufacture on its own so therefore they must be obtained through the diet and are necessary for human health.  Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the brain and play an important role in memory, performance and behavioural function.Food sources include walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and salmon
  • Slow-burning fuel – While carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source, protein can also be used for energy and it helps to keep you full for longer.  Protein gets a lot of flack.  What matters is the source of protein, quality over quantity is key.
    Food sources include quinoa, lentils, spinach, free-range eggs
  • Sweet treat – If you need something sweet after lunch and often find yourself going for donuts, cookies and candy bars, ditch them in favour of homemade trail mixes, smoothies, kefir with fruit and raw dark chocolate.  Eating these nutritious foods in moderation will satisfy your sweet-tooth without the unwanted processed sugars, preservatives and chemicals found in junk food.
    Food sources include fruit, dates, raw dark chocolate, nuts and sulphite-free dried fruits
Need a recipe the whole family can enjoy?  Try this!

“Tuna” Salad
The Happy Herbivore Cookbook, By Lindsay Nixon

Ingredients

1 15-oz can chickpeas
2 celery stalks, washed
1-2 tbsp pickle relish
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mayo (see The Happy Herbivore Cookbook, p271)
½ tsp kelp powder
½ tsp lemon juice (optional)
pepper, to taste

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork until coarse and no whole beans are left. Alternatively, pulse beans in a food processor a few times, careful notto puree, and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Shred celery with a cheese grater or mince in food processor by letting the motor run.

Transfer to the mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Add more mayo or kelp as necessary or desired.

 

Check out these cookbooks for more great lunch ideas!

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