As the ‘new normal’ continues to evolve and life begins to return to normal with care, it is more important than ever to nourish the body with foods to get through the day. The body continues to grow and repair each day, the mind needs the right fuel and nutrients to maximise potential.
Arming yourself and your loved ones with nourishing foods to get them through the work and school day can be difficult, but there are some guaranteed ways to ensure your everyone’s lunch box is filled with appealing, tasty and truly nutritious foods.
▪ Variety is the Spice of Life
How often do you eat the same lunch every day and honestly enjoy it? It’s probably not very often. Eating the same foods day in, day out may lead to taste fatigue – a condition where the sense of taste becomes diminished over time, think about a sandwich for example. Instead of preparing it with conventional white bread, try seeded bagels, whole-wheat wraps, sandwich crackers, pita bread or English muffins. Mix up the fillings with satisfying choices. Some choices are egg and salad, tuna and lettuce, cream cheese with smoked salmon, feta and avocado, and cottage cheese and cucumber.
Providing a variety of foods will help ensure that nutritional requirements are met and will help to withstand the rigours of the day, while also helping keep you satisfied.
▪ Healthy Snacks
Fresh, unprocessed food items such as fresh fruit and vegetables are the best source of snacks. Packaged fruit bars, cheese dips and biscuit options are tempting but are inferior to fresh options. So healthy snacks to pack might be fruit, vegetable sticks with salsa, yoghurt, no-added-sugar flavoured milk drinks, homemade air-popped popcorn (sprinkle with dry herbs rather than butter and salt), baked beans, a hard-boiled egg or canned fish.
▪ Don’t Forget Breakfast
Research has shown that individuals who skip breakfast are heavier than those who eat breakfast and may struggle to obtain their daily requirements of fibre, iron, calcium, zinc and riboflavin. Eating a nutritious breakfast reduces fatigue, facilitates learning and increases concentration. Some easy-to-prepare breakfast foods include porridge, whole-wheat and wholegrain cereals, multigrain toast with peanut butter or fresh fruit, yoghurt, a glass of milk and baked beans or eggs on toast. Lack of time is a common excuse among those who skip breakfast. However, eating breakfast needn’t be a laborious task for you or your family. Make the extra 5-10 minutes needed to eat a nutritious breakfast to set yourself up nicely to maximise the day ahead.
▪ Treat Yo’Self
There are no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, think of food items more of everyday or not so often. An apple is a food that should be enjoyed regularly but a chocolate bar should only be consumed from time to time. If you have developed less ideal habits over time, there is no time like the present to re-learn and re-build these relationships with food. Similar to how kids are taught this philosophy from an early age, enjoying the rare chocolate bar or packet of chips is acceptable – just be sure not to make it an everyday occurrence.
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