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Eat Yourself Beautiful: The best foods for your skin, hair and nails

Eat Yourself Beautiful: The best foods for your skin, hair and nails

Lyndi Cohen | August 22, 2019

Face lotions and creams help your skin, hair and nails become more resilient but what you eat and drink really does make a big difference. 

What foods should you be eating for healthy glowing skin, stronger hair and nails? Here is an overview of the foods that can help you get the glow. 

 

What are the best foods to prevent acne and redness?

Acne is caused by many things, one of which is hormonal fluctuations. That’s why you get more breakouts when you’re a teenager. As you get older, not getting enough sleep, stress and an unhealthy diet can cause hormonal issues. 

Including whole grains and slow-burning carbohydrates into your diet like oats, chickpeas, lentils and beans, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato and corn will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and prevent the highs and lows that can contribute to acne and cause skin redness. 

 Best foods for skin hair and nails beauty

What foods help reduce eczema? 

Eating foods high in antioxidants can help manage eczema. Basically, all those bright and colourful vegetables and fruit will be loaded with antioxidants, to reduce eczema-contributing inflammation. However, stress is on the biggest causes of eczema.

That said, you can eat salads all day, but if you’re perpetually stressed, you’ll continue to get flare-ups. When I get stressed, I get eczema on my fingers… Which I affectionately call my stress fingers. When they flare-up, I use it as a sign that I’m pushing too hard, not sleeping enough and need to slow down. Thanks, body!

 

What are the best foods to prevent wrinkles and lines?

Tomatoes may help prevent skin damage from the sun. The part of the tomatoes that makes them red is called lycopene, an antioxidant that buffers ‘free radicals’. Those are the things that cause premature signs of ageing. A study found that those who consumed tomato paste 33% more protection from the sun. Don’t skip the sunscreen but do add tomatoes to your meals like this breakfast. 

Oranges, kiwi fruit and cauliflower are great sources of Vitamin C. Yes, vitamin C is good for boosting immunity but it’s also needed by your body to produce collagen. That’s what helps your skin stay plumper. Loads of fruit and vegetables have vitamin C, just another reason to eat the rainbow and practice crowding out less healthy options for more fruit and veg. 

Berries are also a great source of antioxidants, which can prevent free-radical damage helping to reduce redness, inflammation and create a smoother skin surface. 

Lyndi Cohen The Nude Nutritionist

What are the best foods to help grow strong hair?

A lot of the foods that are good for your skin are also good for your hair and nails (as they are all connective tissue). There are a lot of reasons to include healthy fats in your diet and strong, healthy hair is just one of them. People who don’t get enough essential fatty acids find their hair breaks and falls out.

Healthy fats can help your scalp and hair shiny and hydrated. I like to include salmon about twice a week, I’ll eat around an avocado over the week and eat seeds, nuts and extra virgin olive oil daily. I also buy a dozen eggs once a fortnight. I always include the egg yolk which contains biotin, a B-group vitamin that may help your hair, skin and nails. 

Iron is also important for stronger hair (and energy!) so make sure you aren’t low on iron, especially if you get heavy periods or are an athlete. 

 

What are the best foods for stronger nails?

Pumpkin seeds, walnuts and brazil nuts are all great sources of zinc, selenium, healthy fats and fibre. These nutrients help you grow stronger nails. White spots on your nails can indicate that you might be low in zinc. 

Because your skin, hair and nails turn over quite often, you need to keep getting enough zinc in your diet. My tip? Add pumpkin seeds to your yoghurt and muesli in the morning, toast and put on a salad or include it in your nut and fruit mix. 

I have brittle nails (naturally). I found applying a nail strengthening top coat on my nails every other day for 1 month made a big difference to my nails. 

Healthy berries

What about probiotics for healthy skin?

Having a daily probiotic is a great way to boost your skin health (as well as your digestion, immunity and potentially, mood and concentration). Probiotics help your body buffer from free-radical damage. By boosting your gut health, you might also notice an improvement in your skin. 

You don’t need to take a probiotic supplement. Personally? I prefer to eat real food than take supplements for health. Greek Yoghurt is the best source of probiotics in the diet so have plain greek yoghurt every day with your smoothie, wholegrain muesli or enjoy as a snack. 

Not sure how to find a healthy yoghurt? This blog post might help. 

What about supplements for skin, hair and nails?

  • Some people take biotin for better hair health but there really isn’t much evidence that B-group vitamins are a magic bullet for better hair. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • What about collagen? Many people are fans of collagen to boost the appearance of skin. There is limited research out there to support thing. Take it if you want, but personally, I prefer to get collagen naturally in my diet by eating fish, plenty of brightly coloured fruits and veg (red, orange and yellow ones especially) and including a moderate to small amount of meat in my diet. 

Healthy fats salmon

Take home message

  • The best diet for your skin, hair and nails includes variety. Include whole grains, seeds and nuts, healthy fats, eggs and yoghurt, and plenty of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables.
  • Drinking too much alcohol, stress, not enough sleep and eating highly processed, sugary and fatty food will not be good news for your blood sugar levels, mood or skin, hair and nails. 
  • Probiotics are the only supplement I recommend but I like it best in the form of plain Greek yoghurt.
  • Take supplements if you want but I recommend eating a balanced diet where you get all the nutrients you need. 

Remember: You don’t have to look perfect to be healthy. 

Sure. Topical products can help. Eating the right foods can boost your hair, skin and nails but let me keep it real. There are a lot of things that are completely outside of your control.

Some people naturally have more brittle nails and hair whilst others are really sensitive to hormonal fluctuations so their skin flairs up. Take care of your body but at the same time, be kind to yourself. You don’t have to look perfect or be beautiful to be healthy. 

 

20 Practical Money-Saving Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

20 Practical Money-Saving Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Sharon Selby | August 15, 2019

So often we hear that eating whole foods is too far outside the budget of everyday Aussie families. We believe that eating healthy, whole foods is the best thing for our lifelong health, and worth investing in. But, are always happy to share practical money saving tips for eating healthy on a budget

  1. Plan your meals for the week to stop spontaneous purchases and keeping waste to a minimum and then stick to your shopping list. do not shop when you’re hungry!

  2. Buy whole foods, that is food as close as possible to its natural form, like rice, almonds, whole cauliflowers etc. Grind and chop these yourself to make flours. Any processing from the suppliers just adds to your bill.

  3. Don’t buy drinks and make your own such as almond or other nut milks. You’ll be amazed how easy and quick they are to make and they are so much cheaper than the store bought versions.

  4. Stock up on sales on produce that you use frequently, BUT only if you will use it in time, otherwise walk on.

  5. Dive into the bargain bin. Often many fresh food grocers have a discount section for food that needs to sell fast, such as Harris Farm’s Imperfect Picks.

  6. Buy in bulk – If you don’t have much storage buy with friends and distribute. This is great for grains and legumes as well as pantry staples such as seasonings and oils.

  7. Use dried herbs and spices instead of the fresh variety for many recipes.

  8. Check out online retailers – many offer the same produce at a slightly lower rate and have great loyalty reward programmes.

  9. Hunt out bargains at your local farmers market and enjoy tastier, fresher and better quality produce.

  10. Buy fruit and vegetables that are local and in season as it cost’s farmers less to grow and you’re not paying for travel.

    Fresh Produce on a Budget
  11. Buy frozen fruit and vegetables instead of fresh such as berries, plus they last a lot longer!

  12. If any fruit or vegetables are going bad, cut them up and freeze and use for smoothies for another time.

  13. Grow your own herbs – you don’t need much room or even a garden or green fingers. Herbs like parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives and mint are all pretty resilient.

  14. Keep vegetable scraps in the freezer and use for homemade stocks and broths.

  15. Buy cheaper cuts of meat, such as meat on the bone, brisket, chicken legs and thighs, lamb shoulders etc. They’re great to use in casseroles, soups and stews. Make a big batch and have lots of leftovers.

  16. Try offal (organ meats) – since many don’t have a taste for it or know how to cook it these highly nutritious organs come at a bargain.

  17. Cook large portions and use your leftovers. Batch and freeze casseroles and stews as well as cooked rice and quinoa. When it comes to reheating pop a fried egg on it and salad and stretch your meals deliciously.

  18. Bulk up meals with salads, sweet potato and pumpkin, gluten free grains, beans and legumes. They’re nutritious when prepared properly.
  19. Make soups and smoothies often to use up leftover fruit and vegetables. Not only do you avoid waste but you’re on your way to eating 5 a day.

  20. Chose vegetables wisely as they vary greatly in price. Vegetables like cabbage and sweet potatoes are inexpensive year round and are great fillers.

 

See, you don’t have to break the bank to eat well. There are many ways to eat healthy on a tight budget.

Also, keep in mind that junk food costs you twice, as bad health comes with medical costs and drugs. Do what you can, at the end of the day you really can’t put a price on good health.

 

The Benefits of Breastfeeding; Celebrating World Breast Feeding Week

The Benefits of Breastfeeding; Celebrating World Breast Feeding Week

Megan Garner | August 4, 2019

 

It’s World Breastfeeding Week!

World Breastfeeding Week is all about the promotion and protection of breastfeeding, to achieve a world where breastfeeding is the cultural norm, where mothers and families are enabled to feed and care optimally for their infants and young children thus contributing to a just and healthy society (extract from the WABA website)

This month I am excited to share with you an excerpt from my ebook ‘Babies and Toddlers Plant Based Nutrition’. In this chapter I share with you advice for all breastfeeding mamas. 


Breastfeeding and Weaning

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond” (“Breastfeeding”, 2018).

The natural age of weaning in humans is believed to be between 4.5 and 7 years old. Studies have shown that a child’s immune system doesn’t completely mature until about 6 years of age. It is well established that breast milk helps develop the immune system and augment it with maternal antibodies as long as breast milk is produced.

Breast Feeding Facts

  • Human breastmilk is species specific, providing energy and nutrients (as well as many other beneficial substances).

  • Bioavailability and concentrations of many nutrients in breastmilk is higher than infant formulas.

  • Breastmilk is 80% water, even on a hot day a breastfed baby does not need water or any other liquids.

Breastfeeding mama

Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Breastmilk protects from infections. Breastfed children have a lower incidence and severity of infectious diseases (Hechtman, 2014).

  • Some studies have suggested that breastfed children may have increased protection against certain diseases including obesity, childhood leukaemia, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel  diseases compared with those who were not breastfed (Hechtman, 2014).

  • Prolonged exclusive breastfeeding has been associated with enhanced cognitive development (Hechtman, 2014).

  • A research study released in May, 2017 found that the bacteria found in mother’s milk and areolar skin seed the infant gut and profoundly influence the development of infant microbiome (Pannaraj et al., 2017).

Breastfeeding Mama

Breastmilk is a product of living tissue and changes as the needs of your child change. Riordan & Wamback (2012) state, “Human milk is similar to unstructured living tissue, such as blood, and is capable or transporting nutrients, affecting biochemical systems, enhancing immunity, and destroying pathogens ”  “Breastmilk, like all other animal milks, is species-specific. It has been adapted throughout human existence to meet nutritional and anti-infective requirements of the human infant to ensure optimal growth, development, and survival” (Riordan & Wamback, 2012).

 

  • Breastmilk continues to give your toddler MANY vitamins, minerals, enzymes, electrolytes, antibacterial properties, antimicrobial properties, antifungal properties etc. There are many benefits for continuing to breastfeed for as long as possible. 

  • New studies show the gut-brain development continue to develop into the third year of life and breastfeeding during this period is crucial for brain and gut development (Clarke et al., 2014).

Breastfeeding Mama

If Experiencing Difficulties When Breastfeeding

If you experience difficulties seek advice from The Australian Breastfeeding Association and/or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

I can also offer one on one support for breastfeeding mothers to assist with milk supply, increasing energy levels and healthy nutrient levels in breastmilk. 

 

References

Breastfeeding. (2018). World Health Organization. Retrieved 23 April 2018, from http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/

Clarke, G., O’Mahony, S., Dinan, T., & Cryan, J. (2014). Priming for health: gut microbiota acquired in early life regulates physiology, brain and behaviour. Acta Paediatrica, 103(8), 812-819. doi: 10.1111/apa.12674

Hechtman, L. (2014). Clinical naturopathic medicine (1st ed.). Chatswood: Elsevier.

Pannaraj, P., Li, F., Cerini, C., Bender, J., Yang, S., & Rollie, A. et al. (2017). Association Between Breast Milk Bacterial Communities and Establishment and Development of the Infant Gut Microbiome. JAMA Pediatrics, 171(7), 647. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0378

Riordan, J & Wamback 2012, Breastfeeding and human lactation, 4th ed, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Massachusetts.

 

This blog is an excerpt from Megan’s book ‘Babies and Toddlers Plant Based Nutrition’. You can purchase this extremely informative book on her website

 

12 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

12 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Lyndi Cohen | July 28, 2019

 

I’m loving The Pineapple Project podcast. It’s about money… for people who don’t like talking about money. It got me thinking about food (of course).  

Don’t believe anyone who tells you healthy eating is too expensive! Truth is that healthy eating is cheaper. By a long shot. 

And like the Barefoot Investor, I don’t believe you have to compromise on your standard of living and eat beans and rice to save $$$$. Like you, I’m not willing to miss out on avocado. 

Let me keep it real. Making a few simple changes to how you eat can help you save more without feeling the pinch. When you eat healthier, you naturally save money. #twobirdsonestone

Here are some non-sucky ways to save big AND eat healthily.

1. Create an ‘Eat Now’ Tray For Your Fridge

Place any food that’s close to going bad in the tray (which lives in the fridge). Each time you open the fridge, use the food in the ‘eat now’ tray first. Make an omelette, salad or freeze it. 

2. Idolise the Ice-Cube Tray

Chop up (or blend) leftover herbs, combine with oil or stock and freeze in ice-cubes, perfectly portion sized for your next cook up. While you’re at it, add a little garlic. It’s a perfect way to save the remaining stock from going bad. 

Using Ice Cube Trays to Save Money

3. Don’t ‘Let It Go’ Like Elsa. Get Frozen Instead. 

Freeze almost everything including:

  • Milk in ice cube tray for thicker smoothies and to prevent milk from going bad.
  • Overripe avocado for smoothies or avocado dressing
  • Baby spinach leaves that are on their last legs. Throw in a smoothie.
  • Overripe tomatoes. 
  • Breadcrumbs. Blitz your stale bread in a blender and freeze.
  • Grated ginger (because who really gets through the whole knob in one week?!)
  • The remaining tin of coconut cream/milk from that recipe you made.

Smoothie packs ready to go into the freezer. I bought baby spinach, mangoes, strawberries in bulk + I freeze milk in ice-cube trays for thicker smoothies. 

4. Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit…

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I think legumes (aka beans) are the bomb. Chances are you overestimate how good acai berries are for you and underestimate the benefits of legumes.

I eat beans about four times a week. You may be gassy when you start this habit, but your gut will adjust and the farting will subside. You’ll be left feeling much fuller, healthier and wealthier. Worth it. Beans are also a brilliant food to help prevent and manage constipation

Get the recipe for my Teriyaki Salmon Bowl and sneak in some legumes. 

5. Grow Plants That Even You Can’t Kill (Easily)

I accidentally kill almost every plant I have but rosemary and mint are resilient and hardy. Grow your own herbs and start with these in a little pot directly in the sun. Stop spending $5 on a bunch of herbs (only to have one-half of the herbs get funky in your fridge).

TIP: To store herbs for longer life, wrap in a slightly damp paper towel. Store in the fridge. 

I have the opposite of a green thumb. If I can grow herbs, so can you. 

Lyndi Cohen grow your greens

6. Cook More at Home!!!

I can’t stress this one enough (thus the flamboyant use of exclamation points)! 

It takes just as long to cook your own food as it takes Uber Eats to deliver your food to your front door. 

  • Order Pad Thai from local Thai restaurant: $10 per serve
  • Make gourmet, healthy Pad Thai at home: $4.85 per serve

Cook at home, and you’ll have a healthy lunch ready for the next day so you SAVE AGAIN the next day. Your colleagues will be jealous/impressed and you’ll skip the overpriced, average tasting sandwich. Hooha! 

7. Adopt a Healthier Online Shopping Habit

The number one reason you turn to take away? You missed out on a decent grocery shop. It’s not really your fault. You’re so busy! Keep it real. Shop online at TWC for all your pantry staples, and find a local fruit and veg box delivery service to get fresh produce delivered once a week. It takes time to set it up the first time, but once you’re up and running, you’ll be a winner, winner, chicken dinner (served with salad and veg, of course).

8. Get a Dreamy Drink Bottle

As a human, you get thirsty. It’s been known to happen! Get yourself a lovely drink bottle and get into the habit of carrying it around. I love a thermos style bottle because it keeps my water icy-cold for hours. Not only will you save money, but you can feel smug about helping the environment. You’ll ingest less BPAs and your skin, digestion and pretty much every cell in your body will thank you. 

  • Cost of water from a tap: $0
  • Cost of bottled water from a cafe: $3-5. Ridiculous, I know. 
  • Cost of coconut water: $3-5 per serve
  • Cost of soft drink: $2-5 per serve

S'Well Drink Bottles

9. Squirrel Healthy Snacks (Like Winter is Coming)

The main reasons you lose control over food is because of a) cravings b) you’re hungry and c) you don’t have anything to eat. Starting today, keep healthy snacks with you like a smart squirrel before winter. That’s right – nuts are a great choice and so is a piece of fresh fruit, a tub of greek yoghurt and a few boiled eggs or tuna (if that’s your thang). 

  • Cost of a chocolate bar: $2
  • Cost of a processed protein bar: $4
  • Cost of a banana: $0.78
  • Cost of binge eating your entire pantry: Priceless?

10. Become a Meal Prep Ninja

It’s official. Soups are cool again (or are they ‘hot’ again)? Either way. Make big batches of soup, ideally on a Sunday. Come Manic Monday, you’ll have a cheap-and-cheerful meal that’ll be perfect for Meat-free Mondays, taking healthy lunches to work for the whole week and freezing for back up meals. Try this Quinoa Lentil Soup

Try my Quinoa Lentil soup recipe. “It’s so hot right now”. And cheap! 

11. Invest in a Slow Cooker

Yes, this is an investment. BUT slow cooking saves you heaps of time and money as you can use all the cheap cuts of meat and wonky/imperfect vegetables. I use about 400g of chuck steak when I make a batch that makes six meals. Eating less meat is good for your health, budget and the environment. Note: I always add legumes.

12. Buy in Bulk

Who doesn’t love a sale? When there is a tray of fruit or a bundle of veggies, buy up big. Cook it up and freeze in portion-sized containers (so you don’t have to defrost the whole thing). 

  • Juice limes and freeze the juice in ice-cube trays.
  • Buy luxe fruit when it’s in season like berries, mangoes, peaches etc. Feel like a queen as you enjoy the lush stuff in smoothies and ‘ice-creams’/sorbets year-round. A few months ago I bought a tray of strawberries (18 punnets) for $12 from Harris Farm. Crazy, I know!!! I’ve been enjoying strawberry smoothies ever since.

 

I clearly find buying in bulk is hilarious. You might not find a tray of fruit as comical and fun as I do but you will save lots of money. And that’s fun, right?!

 

Find more fabulous recipes, health advice and more on Lyndi’s website. Purchase Lyndi’s book here https://www.lyndicohen.com/book 

 

Healthy Fats – Three of the Best!

Healthy Fats – Three of the Best!

Brenda Janschek | July 24, 2019

Not all oils and fats are created equal.

Heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body.

However, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly.

Our bodies also need fat for insulation and to protect and hold our organs in place. A healthy percentage of high-quality fat in a meal satisfies and leaves feelings of energy, fulfilment and warmth. When there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, symptoms can include weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness.

Signs of insufficient high-quality fats are brittle hair and nails, dry skin, hunger after meals and feeling cold. There are many sources of healthy fats and oils, here are my three personal  favourites.

Three healthy fats

Avocado

Mmmmm, no member of my family can live without these! They are rich in monounsaturated fats, high in vitamin E which fights free-radical damage, they boost the immune system, keep skin nourished, youthful and glowing. They boost your good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the bad type (LDL) They are so easy to add to your menu in smoothies, dips, spreads, dressings and spread over sourdough toast.

Get more avocado in your diet with this Clean Burrito recipe or with this Hearty Sweet Corn and Black Bean Quesadilla or this cleansing salad or get some high quality avocado oil here.

Healthy Fats Avocado

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil has high levels of monounsaturated fat which is great protection against heart attacks and may protect against strokes as well, It has important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Oleic acid present in olive oil may protect us against certain cancers as well. Always look for extra virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined varieties. Drizzle over this Super Cleanse Salad, use it to roast your vegetables or make this exotic Middle Eastern Spiced Chickpea Rice.

Healthy Fats Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut is high in saturated fats, rich in medium-chain fatty acids. The benefits are endless. It increases your healthy cholesterol (HDL), and also helps to convert bad cholesterols (LDL), into good cholesterol and therefore great for heart health. These fatty acids also improve brain and memory function.

The extra virgin varieties are preferable, as the more refined, the more the health benefits are eliminated. My family finds the taste of extra virgin taste too strong, so I opt for virgin coconut oil to suit their palette.

It’s great to pop into your tea to ward off sugar cravings, delicious in healthy treats and great to cook with. I mix my pure essential oils with olive oil or coconut oil and use it on my skin as a moisturiser as well!

Get more coconut oil into your diet with my gluten and dairy-free Raw Cacao Balls or Brownie Cake

Healthy Fats Coconut Oil

Other Delicious Fats

There are many sources of healthy fats and oils. Here are some of my other favourites:

  • For sautéing and baking, try butter or ghee (clarified butter).
  • Use oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut and pumpkin seed. These are best used unheated in sauces or dressings on top of salads, veggies or grains.
  • Macadamia oil has a delicious nutty, buttery flavour which is great for pan frying fish, baking cakes and slices, and in salad dressings.
  • Other healthy fats are found in whole nuts and seeds and in their butters like almond butter or tahini.
  • Other whole foods containing good fats are olives and coconuts, along with wild salmon, sardines and pastured or organic eggs.

 

Experiment with these healthy fat sources and see which work best for you and leave you satisfied.

When selecting oils, buy the highest-quality organic products you can afford, since cooking oils are the backbone of so many dishes. Good words to look for on the label are organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined. Words to avoid are expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted.

What are your favourite fats?

 

Check out more fantastic recipes, online courses and wellness blogs on Brenda’s website.

 

Share your favourite healthy fats meals with us on Instagram with #myTWC

 

Packing a Healthy Lunchbox – The Easy Way!

Packing a Healthy Lunchbox – The Easy Way!

Belinda Smith | July 16, 2019

Packing a healthy lunchbox each day is one of the most important things you can do to help with your children’s mood, behaviour and learning. No pressure there, right?

But packing a healthy lunchbox is not always easy to achieve when you’re juggling getting breakfast sorted and making sure everyone is getting ready for school and work. Then there’s the challenge of making the lunchbox exciting enough to get your child to eat it. This can sometimes mean you start the day with a fair amount of stress, even before school and work starts. With that said, packing healthy lunchboxes doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few tips to help.

TRC Lunchbox

1. Plan Ahead

Think about what you are going to pack for lunches the night before, or even better, plan for the whole week. Then, the act of packing the lunchbox each day will be far less stressful. Try to avoid including packaged foods (e.g. chips, biscuits, muesli bars, poppers etc) because these tend to have additives and preservatives included, many of which have adverse effects on behaviour.

2. Use Evening Meals as Lunches

This is one of the simplest ways to add diversity to lunch boxes. Use evening meal leftovers for lunch, or repurpose the evening meal to make it into something entirely different for lunches, e.g. roast chicken can become a chicken pasta salad. If you don’t normally have leftovers from your evening meal, cook a double batch. Some can be for lunch tomorrow, then you can easily freeze the remainder for use in the future. If your children don’t like eating cold leftovers, you may like to read How To Get Kids To Eat Cold Leftovers. 

Try repurposing leftovers as well. You can use dishes like leftover Spag Bol sauce into a pie using mountain bread as the base.

3. Pack a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables

Each different colour of fruit and vegetables help support different parts of the body. For instance, red foods such as berries and tomatoes are good for your heart and memory. Try to include as many colours of the rainbow as possible in your lunch box. Factor this into your plan. An easy way to do this is to ask your children what fruits and vegetables from each colour they like.

TRC Lunchbox

4. Pack Good Carbs and Proteins

It’s important to ensure the lunch box includes complex carbohydrates such as starchy fruits and vegetables for longer lasting energy. Include a good quality protein such as egg or chicken (hormone free) to help fill them up so they stay fuller for longer, and help with their growth and development.

Here are a few good examples of foods you can include:

Fruit

Oranges, banana, cherries, grapes, cherry tomatoes, apple (whole or cut on the day and sprinkle with lemon juice to minimise it going brown). Where you can, choose local produce that’s in season or at the very least, produce from Australia.

Vegetable

Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber, celery, broccoli, beans, corn. Where you can, choose local produce that’s in season or at the very least, produce from Australia.

Wholegrain

Brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread or pasta.

Protein

Chicken, roast beef, chickpeas, eggs, hummus, yoghurt, cheese.

Healthy Treats

Quite often, our jobs in packing a healthy lunchbox are made more difficult by what’s in other children’s lunchboxes. If this is an issue for you, my suggestion is to make your own healthy treats so your child does not feel like they are missing out.

Some examples are homemade popcorn, muesli bars, slices, muffins and bliss balls, to name a few. Also have a few back up packaged products which you are happy with (eg. for us, I choose Brown Rice Crackers and Organic Rice Cakes because they are additive and preservative free).

Personally, I do not believe children need treats every day. The definition of a treat is “out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.” Something that happens every day cannot really be considered out of the ordinary. Perhaps you can randomly throw in a treat a couple of days a week, or with your child, choose specific days to have them.

5. Quick Checklist

Use this as a quick checklist for your lunchbox. Have you packed:

– 1 Fruit

– at least 1 Vegetable

– a Wholegrain source (brown rice, quinoa etc)

– a Protein source

– Healthy Snack (home-made or look for additive and preservative free options)

And my last check is to ask yourself whether you’d enjoy eating that lunchbox.

Please feel free to visit our recipes for some lunchbox ideas. You may also like to join us for Term 1 2018 of The 5 Minute Healthy Lunchbox System™ eCourse. It’s a 5 week self paced online course. It includes a proven 4-step process to help you pack healthy lunchboxes in about 5 minutes a day, over 140 recipes plus 12 weeks of menu plans and shopping lists. You’ll also get access to a wonderful supportive Facebook Group, content from our panel of 15 expert contributors plus video tutorials, printables and more! Learn more and enrol here.

 

Find more healthy, wholefood, kid-friendly recipes on Bel’s website, The Root Cause.

 

Share your healthy lunchboxes with us on Instagram with #myTWC

 

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