With the start of the school year upon us, I thought it would be fun to dedicate this post to lunchbox “upgrades.” Below you’ll find ordinary lunchbox items, and then their nutritionally dense counterparts. I hope that you’ll find these food “swaps” helpful, and that you’ll incorporate them into your brown bag lunches this year!
1. In place of white bread, try whole wheat bread. As you may remember from a previous post, the grain in bread is made up of three individual parts: the germ, the endosperm, and the bran. Fortunately, whole wheat bread contains all portions of the grain kernel; however, the refined flour that is utilized in the production of white bread is stripped of the germ and the bran. As a result, there is an absence of many vital nutrients and vitamins in white bread.
2. Instead of store bought Ranch salad dressing, experiment with homemade vinaigrette. Might I add, Project Lunchbox has a delicious recipe for “Homemade Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette” which can be found on my website (www.projectlunchboxletseat.com) under the Recipes Tab. Enjoy!
3. Rather than opting for potato chips, try blue corn tortilla chips with homemade salsa. Blue corn tortilla chips offer more protein and fiber per serving, and the extra serving of veggies from the salsa can’t hurt! To make homemade salsa, puree onions, jalapeno peppers, diced tomatoes, herbs, and whatever else your heart desires in the food processor. You can also skip the food processor and finely dice these ingredients. It’s really that easy!
4. In place of iceberg lettuce, try spring mix, baby spinach, or romaine. All of these greens offer more nutrients than iceberg. Also, I personally think that spring mix, baby spinach, and romaine have a better texture and aren’t as bland.
5. Instead of fruit snacks and roll-ups, try fresh or homemade fruit smoothies in a Thermos. By doing this, you’ll be cutting out a great deal of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. Only settle for the real thing, not a modified and processed version of something!
6. Rather than blueberry flavored yogurt cups, (or strawberry, peach, raspberry, whatever you like) purchase a tub of plain Greek style yogurt and a carton of fresh fruit of your choice to split up in personal portions for the week. Not only will this method be more cost effective in the long run, you’ll also be cutting out a lot of the added sugar and artificial colors that conventional style, fruit at the bottom yogurt contains. Also, Greek style yogurt has more protein, and will keep you fuller all the way until dinner.
I hope that everyone has a phenomenal start to the school year! Let me know how you like these lunchbox “swaps” or if you have some of your own that you’d like to share!
Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,