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February, 2012

Home Lunch and Excercise

By Mark Mulcahy


The study showed that kids who eat lunches brought from home and exercise more had fewer problems with obesity than kids who ate school lunches and were less active.

VeggiesI was preparing for my radio show An Organic Conservations the other day and found some interesting information on childhood obesity from a University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study. First was the obvious, if we want to create opportunities to improve childhood health, we should:

  • Emphasize programs that increase physical activity
  • Reduce recreational screen time (TV, video, etc)
  • Improve the nutritional value of school lunches

The study showed that kids who eat lunches brought from home and exercise more had fewer problems with obesity than kids who ate school lunches and were less active. This got me thinking that making the produce department your first stop when thinking up your kids lunch menu can have a much bigger impact than we’ve ever expected. Obviously, we need to make sure we pack what kids will like, but also what they need.

Many new programs show that including kids in the process can go a long way toward having them make better choices. For example, I know kids who like green beans raw, but not cooked. A little baggie of organic raw green beans can provide a lot for a growing kid. A one cup serving is a mere 25 calories and they are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Or how about organic red, green, yellow and orange peppers? They are sweet, easy to prepare and kids love them, especially if you include some Melissa’s Hummus, available in three unique flavors including Traditional, and Roasted Red Pepper flavors, for them to dip them in. Even homemade potato salad can contain less fat while still satisfying the kid’s yum factor. Start with Melissa’s Organic Fingerling Potatoes; they are really flavorful and stay firm when cooked, which many kids who have texture issues will appreciate. If your kids like yams, then Melissa’s Organic Garnet, Jewel and Japanese Baby Yams could be just the ticket. Sweet, healthy, full of vitamin A and just the right size, they are perfect for the lunch bag. Of course you can’t go wrong with Melissa’s Organic Baby Carrots, as even the pickiest of eaters will eat these. Round these veggies out with a little protein from lean poultry or tofu and you’ll keep your kids going all day.

Apples

Don’t forget the fruit! Organic Apples are easy and have been shown to keep those tummies full; Hass Avocados can be the perfect filling for a sandwich with a slice of cheddar, or make into guacamole. The selection of citrus couldn’t be better right now, including organic Grapefruit, Navel Oranges, and Cara Caras. Just having a pink orange with the texture of a navel and no seeds will keep them asking for these week after week. And, don’t forget organic Blood Oranges, Minneolas and Kumquats are all coming into their own as well.

Fresh cubed Melissa’s Organic Mangoes or Pineapple will have all of the kids wanting to trade, so you may have to pack a little extra! Another thing going for kids is that they have grown up with a wider range of food options, so lunch can literally be a daily adventure, which makes it more fun for both of you. There are many things we can do to help our kids lead a healthy life and an important one starts in your produce department with Melissa’s Organic Produce.