Sunday 22 September 2019

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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Lunch can come with a warning!

Thursday, 22nd August, 2019 8:54am

With school starting soon, parents are running around trying to get the necessary things together like books, bags, pencils etc.

The list of things to do is so long including learning about the food policies many schools now implement to discourage parents adding sweets to the lunch box.

Last year a friend of mine got a ‘warning’ note because she added a few raisins to the box.

We had a long discussion on a balanced diet for children and I personally didn’t see anything wrong with a few raisins. I would have more problems with a sandwich made from sliced white pan, plastic ham and cheese singles.

When packing your child’s lunchbox, make sure you have read and understood the guidelines – nothing is worse than getting one of these ‘warning’ notes. But it’s not only children who have lunchboxes – parents are returning to work now as well and looking back at what some former colleagues of mine considered a balanced lunch, I think adults also need encouragement to eat well!

Not every company has canteens like Apple where you can get really good food, so thinking ahead is the key to a delicious lunch.

When deciding on what to add to your scrumptious lunchbox, you need to consider a few options. For example, when working in an office, your needs will be different from a carpenter.

You don’t want to feel bloated after your lunch but re-energized and you won’t achieve that with an egg-filled white cheap bread sandwich. You also don’t want to be hungry again after an hour – so a light leaf salad won’t be the right option either.

I once made falafel to take to work – with pita bread, hummus and a few leaves. Sounds good, doesn’t it? What I didn’t consider was that it was rich in pulses with hardly anything to cut through the richness of it.

I had two pita breads, filled with delicious falafel. I think the portion was a bit big as well (I am a glutton after all) and after about an hour I started to feel sluggish and tired.

A better option would have been to reduce the falafels to maybe two pieces, replace the pita bread with a bit of rice and add a lot of lettuce. I would have been so much more productive at work that day.

John McKenna from the famous McKenna Restaurant Guide has championed a food pyramid – not the one that is still promoted by the HSE but an updated version.

He added two layers and has re-arranged others. I prefer his to the HSE one as it is more based on eating well and not only concentrates on the calorie intake.

When you see low fat products, always look at the sugar content and the same when you read free of sugar – how high is the fat content?

Don’t believe the hype of things – read the label. It is easy for me to say bring your own lunch as I work from home and can cook in my own kitchen for lunch - a luxury not everyone has.

Saying that, I still have to think about what to eat – it would be very easy to just snack away at the desk – planning ahead is the best tool and as I have no excuse now, I better get planning!

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