Monday, August 12, 2013

Reading the Bread Label for School Lunches

As the new school season is fast approaching, parents start to think about the daily task of making school lunches.  Even if you are past the school lunch stage, making your lunch to bring to work or to eat at home is a good idea anyway.  Why?  It saves calories, because takeout and restaurant food is high in fat and sugar.  It saves you money because takeout and restaurant food cost more than food you make yourself.  It also saves you time from worrying about where you should go get lunch and the time it takes to go out and buy lunch. 

While it is good to be creative and make things like vegetable, pasta or grain based salads, sometimes the sandwich is just the easiest.  I do not like to eat too much bread because it is hard to digest, but kids (and the young at heart) like sandwiches. 

To me as a Mom and Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, a meal is an opportunity to nourish a body, so I like to choose good things for the meal.  The bread used for sandwiches should be 100% whole grain or whole wheat.  Do not be fooled by the words "multigrain" or "whole grain" because they are meaningless without a 100% in front of it.  This way you know there is no bleached or refined white flour.  The next thing you want to check for is the serving size.  Are the nutrition facts for just one slice?  A sandwich needs two slices and you want to be clear about the calories you are eating.  Finally, you want to check for the little additions.  This would be how much salt and sugar is in each serving.  Your sandwich will have its own flavor, so you can ditch the extra amounts of salt and sugar and use them for a better occasion. Preservatives are another addition that you should try to avoid.  Chemicals are hard for the body to digest and do not benefit you nutritionally.

Now, what do you put in those sandwiches?  I like almond or sunflower butter and raw honey, egg or tuna salad with lots of chopped veggies in it,  avocado, cucumber, tomato and farmer's cheese or spinach, feta cheese, tomato and olive tapenade.  The possibilities are endless, but I try to guide the eater to a healthy choice.

Stay healthy & well,

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