Out to Lunch
September 30th, 2011 - By Lari Robling
It takes time and effort to pack a healthy school lunch that doesn't become boring. Registered Dietician and Healthy Bites chef and owner, Katie Cavuto Boyle has some tips to keep you from those last minute nutrition lapses.
It's been a number of years since I’ve had to pack my kids’s school lunches. But, I still remember the terror! Will it end up in the trash? Even worse, will my offerings be the object of cafeteria brown bag bullying? Katie Boyle, Registered Dietician and chef and owner of Healthy Bites, says you can fearlessly face the lunchbox. One trick, make dinner do double duty, "taking some of the chicken from dinner leftover and adding some grapes, some apples, maybe some raisins, or cranberries. That's going to add extra nutrients to the dish. It will make it a little bit more fun, and exciting. It will give it a little bit of sweetness and be something that the kids can kind of dip crackers into, or even make into a sandwich."
Even better, make a plain batch for the kids and then add in nuts and curry for your grownup lunch. What to serve it on? "For our healthy carbohydrates we could do something like a whole grain mini pita that is fun and snack size. If the kids aren't into a wheat bread, then doing a white wheat bread, which looks just like regular white bread but has fiber benefits of whole grain bread." White Wheat bread? You can have your white bread and eat fiber, too! "Instead of having that red wheat kernel it's just an albino version so it is white. So, it doesn't have the same tanins, it's not going to have that nutty sweet flavor that those of us who like whole grain bread associate with whole grain bread. But, it's gonna have all the fiber benefits that you would get from a whole grain."
Healthy lunches also means food safety. Boyle notes a recent study showed most bagged lunches, even those with an ice pack, weren’t at the safe serve temperature. She suggests an ice pack plus a frozen beverage. And, Boyle says there are less perishable items to tote, "string cheese or prepackaged cheeses that are okay at room temperature. Other things that would be fine are some of the snack items. Maybe packing a granola bar, or doing things like unpeeled fruits and veggies instead of fruits and veggies that are cut or peeled is going to help to be a little less perishable. I love a little baggie filled with some rainbow cherry tomatoes. They're beautiful, they're colorful and they're nutritious, and it's a great sweet treat for your kids.