(Ostlands Boston): Nutrition consultant Iselin Bogstrand Sagen is keen to make sure the average lunch box is still more than good enough, and has some tips for making it the best it can be.
A survey conducted by Norstat in 2022 on behalf of the Bureaus of Agricultural Information showed that packed lunches that high school students bring from home are healthier than food they buy outside of school.
The survey showed that 34 percent of girls and 24 percent of boys had energy bars with them in packed lunches.
It has nothing to do with the food package
In addition, there were many youths who had bought it from the store during school hours. Sagen believes that the marketing around many energy bars makes them sound like a good, healthy snack, but that’s not the case.
– Sagen points out that energy bars have nothing to do with the lunch box, and says that what kids and teens eat for lunch should help them maintain steady focus and energy for the rest of the school day.
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It is therefore important that lunch does not consist of ultra-processed sugar bombs. Many energy bars boast “whole grain”, but it’s usually pretty much an extruded grain, a processed grain that no longer has the same health-promoting properties.
A recent survey conducted by Responses Analysis on behalf of the Fruit and Vegetable Information Bureau showed that 76 percent of those under the age of 35 completely disagree or partially agree that an energy bar is a better snack option than fruit. Those with a higher education largely believe that energy bars are a worse choice than fruit.
The dietitian thinks it might appear that when people are given a choice between an energy bar as a snack versus fruit, they choose fruit. But how do you get vegetables and fruits in the lunch box?
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Best packed lunch veggies
Vegetables cut into sticks are ideal packed lunches. You can diversify, and children get more types of vegetables. Carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers and, not least, turnips are appropriate in food packaging.
Surveys show that many people want pre-cut vegetables from the store. As many as 36 percent answered that they would definitely buy turnips if it was already cut into sticks.
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To avoid spending time chopping vegetables, for example, sugar peas can be a good advantage. There are also a number of snack vegetables that are smaller and fit nicely in a lunchbox.
Bogstrand Sagen thinks it’s important to remember vegetables, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated.
– If you feel like it might be a no-go to cut many different fruits and vegetables, then less is better than nothing. Put some slices of sweet pepper or cucumber on the slices of bread, add a few cherry tomatoes, or send it with an apple. A colorful lunch box often looks more enticing.
10 tips for those who are going to prepare packed lunches
- Try to get some fish in your lunch box, mackerel in tomato, salmon and fish cakes can be good choices.
- Choose coarse bread, and look at the bread scale, the loaves should be three quarters or four quarters coarse.
- Feel free to let the kids get used to natural yogurt or Greek yogurt. Natural yogurt with a little honey, fresh berries, and muesli is healthy and almost dessert-like; really good.
- Make your lunch pack interesting by diversifying it with dinner leftovers, coarse baked goods (eg, vegetable rolls, etc.), coarse bread with lots of vegetables or omelet pancakes – the possibilities are many, but don’t set the bar too high. Fresh slices of bread and some Fruits, greens and maybe Greek yogurt for more than enough variety.
- Use lunch boxes with multiple compartments so it’s easy to fill multiple ingredients without the food getting mixed up in one big compartment.
- Cut out today for tomorrow’s lunchbox when you’re preparing dinner/evening. Save time by cutting off a little extra when you’re making dinner, then put it straight into the lunchbox, and it’s ready for tomorrow.
- Sweet toppings like jam and nougat should be rare and have no place in the lunchbox. The same applies to cakes, cookies, cakes and other sweets.
- Choose regular cheese over spreadable cheese.
- Choose whole fruits and berries instead of compression bags – Once kids start kindergarten, the days of compression bags should be over.
- Fruit sticks and similar snacks that you find on the baby food shelf should be avoided in the lunch box. Giving children healthy food on a regular basis. Use soft vegetables instead, as they are often sweeter and more flavorful than “large” vegetables.
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Tips for what to put in your lunch box:
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