Heart Health Matters

Today, for tomorrow

Nutritious lunch boxes for the whole family

Cooking from the heart is all about helping you to make healthy living a way of life – even when it comes to packing lunch boxes. Yes, it may feel like a chore, but with a bit of planning both when shopping and cooking supper, it’s much easier to ensure that even those meals that are enjoyed away from home are still nutritious.

Lunch boxes are not only for kids going to school. The rest of the family will also benefit from the healthy options that can be packed, instead of yet another (often more expensive and less healthy) cafeteria or take-away meal at work.

The aim of a lunch box is to keep you satisfied till your next meal. If this can be a healthy meal, even better. This will not only give you the energy you need, but may also keep your mind focused for the tasks at hand.

Follow these few tips:

1. Include something from each important food group to keep it balanced – this will result in an interesting meal with lots of colour, texture and nutrients. There should be a protein, unrefined starch, fresh veggies and/or fruit and a healthy oil.
2. Plan suppers in such a way that there are some leftovers for lunch boxes, even if it just partly contributes to the lunch box content. Chicken portions or fish cakes; corn on the cob or baby potatoes in the skin or blanched green beans or broccoli are just some examples. Remember to prepare supper with fresh and natural ingredients and seasonings to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle.
3. Avoid pre-prepared and processed ingredients and rather pack fresh fruit and nuts as snacks. Limit sweet treats to special occasions.
4. Pack different ingredients or food in separate containers or wrap in foil or wax paper to prevent them from getting soggy, falling apart or becoming one big mixed up mess. An unappetising lunch box return home untouched.
5. Make a bottle of water part of every lunch box, as we all need to stay hydrated.

Many of the Cooking from the heart recipes available on the website are perfect for lunch boxes as well. Cooking from the heart 2 has a whole section with great lunch box recipes and ideas to make things easy. Follow www.facebook.com/CookingFromTheHeartSA for daily hints and tips.

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