What Happened to Healthy Lunch?
We should all be eating up to 80% or more each day of raw foods. These are foods that are unadulterated and in their natural state without processing. Foods such as fresh organic produce, nuts, seeds, sprouted whole grains and vegetable sprouts round out this simple yet healthful diet. There are loads of recipes available that can turn a simple carrot stick into a delightfully delicious meal or side dish. It takes a little bit of planning and creativity, but the health of our families is worth it!
It is difficult for some of us to imagine not eating processed foods. Often, these are foods we were brought up on and they have become a part of our culture. We associate them with happiness and satisfaction. However, these foods are devoid of nutrition and are often processed to the point where they no longer contain any of their original nutritional value. Through over-processing they have become toxic to our bodies.
Refined sugar, hydrogenated oils and fats, refined grains and carbohydrates have become the mainstay and not the side dish. They comprise the largest part of our meals while the healthy foods are cast aside or fill a very small portion of our plates. Large servings of slabs of meat have become the main course and the vegetables and salads have become a small component, if any part, of our dinners. In reality, it should be the other way around. Our plates should be filled with fresh, organic produce with the meat or other foods a small portion of what we eat. Is it any wonder why the health of the American people is suffering?
The healthiest options for lunch incorporate raw fruits and vegetables as the main ingredients. A salad that is chock full of colorful, organic produce can be a filling, nutritious meal. Your salad can include all of the colors of the rainbow. The more colorful, the more nutrient packed a vegetable or fruit is. Add some nuts to your salad to make it a more hearty meal. Walnuts are packed with heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
Healthy school lunches have been lost in a sea of soft drinks and chips. Our children are tempted to make bad food choices because they are available at school and there is no one there to tell them to choose something healthier. When I send my daughter to school with her healthy lunch, she often tells me that she switches components of her lunch with friends so that she can get a hold of cookies, candies or soda. When left to their own devices, children will choose the sugary option over the healthier one. This lack of attention in our schools has contributed to the serious problem of obesity among the youngest members of our society. Childhood diabetes has skyrocketed and it is a lack of nutrition and overload of sweets to blame.
Schools are only recently starting to incorporate healthier options and do away with the sodas and snack foods replacing them with juices and fruits. We should all demand healthier options for our children. Our schools need to step up to the plate and stop making our children fat by allowing them to purchase foods that are high in calories and saturated fats. We need our schools to serve healthy school lunches. If the choices are not available, our children will not be tempted into choosing the unhealthy option.
At home, eliminate the lunch meats, chips and soft drinks. Cut out the foods that are highly processed and contain loads of sugar and chemicals. Teach your children to eat properly by cooking meals from scratch and letting go of the processed junk foods. Incorporate lots of leafy greens into their diets. Their health depends on it.
Let’s get our children healthy again! Bring back the healthy lunch!