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Thinking Inside the Lunch Box

Thinking Inside the Lunch Box
Ah, what a wonderful time-hearing the school bell toll to indicate recess, racing to the play ground to release all that pent-up energy and then topping it off with a much needed snack or lunch. But did you know that the food your child eats now will affect the rest of their life?
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  • Ah, what a wonderful time-hearing the school bell toll to indicate recess, racing to the play ground to release all that pent-up energy and then topping it off with a much needed snack or lunch. But did you know that the food your child eats now will affect the rest of their life? Nutrition can control whether certain genes are operative or non-operative, and studies have even linked it to criminal behavior. Since the early 1900s, researchers have been making connections between diet and behavior. Let’s have a look at some of the items available at a typical school canteen in Pakistan and discuss the long-term problems associated with them.

  • French Fries

  • The French fries sold at canteens are not only packed with sugar (calories, anyone?) but they are also deep fried and dripping in oil. In the long run, this can clog ones arteries and cause heart problems and obesity.

    The oil used to cook these French fries is reused many times over. When cooking oils are re-heated, a toxin called HNE is formed. This toxin makes you more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, various liver disorders and even cancer. Reused oil is also directly related to high blood pressure, according to a study by Soriguer.

  • Potato Chips

  • The British heart foundation warns that eating a packet of potato chips a day is the equivalent of drinking almost 5 liters of cooking oil a year!

  • Packaged potatoes are fried using an artificial fat by the name of Olestra. This fat “inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients,” according to the food and Drug Administration. Although the warning labels have been removed from products containing Olestra, you can avoid it by looking at the list of ingredients and ensuring it isn’t there.



  • Soft Drinks

  • It is almost second nature for students to sip on sugar-filled soft drinks at school. You may be shocked by how sweet that soda really is. A 20oz bottle of coca cola contains 65 grams of sugar, and a Mountain dew bottle of the same size contains 77g. Excessive amounts of sugar can lead to obesity and cavities. It also speeds up your heart rate and blood circulation which is bad for your arteries and veins.




  • MAKING CHANGES

  • A good diet doesn’t always mean you have to forgo good taste. These recipes are best from a child's perspective.

  • Gentle Breeze

  • Serves one
    An energy-boosting juice rich in vitamin C, which helps ward off colds that go around at school.
    Pour 250ml each of cranberry juice and grapefruit juice into a bottle. Shake it up and you’re ready to go.

  • Traffic Light Kebabs

  • Serves 1-2
    Getting kids to eat their veggies can be quite a task, so why not make it fun? Pick out any green, yellow and red vegetables, one of each, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Thread them onto a skewer and eat raw.

  • Colorful Hummus

    Serves 4
    This is a great healthy recipe which can be stored in the fridge for three to four days, which makes it a quick, easy lunch to send to school with your children.

  • For Basic Hummus:
    Chick peas 410 g
    Tahini 2 tbsp
    Lemon juice 1 tbsp
    Cumin 1 tbsp (ground)
    Olive oil 2 tbsp

    Freshly ground black pepper to taste, blend all of the ingredients in a blender and then add freshly ground black pepper to taste, if necessary.

    Colorful Variations: Add these ingredients, depending on which color you want, for an extra twist at lunchtime. 2 medium sized beet root. 1 red pepper, deseeded juice of 1 lemon and a handful of coriander leaves juice of 1 lemon and a handful of olives, stoned.

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