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Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Healthy Appetite At School!

Had intended to post my healthy update and school lunch ideas as separate posts but I’ve been pressed for time lately what with school restarting and making a big effort to keep on top of my studies (more on that later). As a result, I won’t be adding two new resolutions this week. I’ve missed a few walks and jogs lately, so I’m going to focus on keeping my original plans in place now I’m settle back in at school.

I have, however, started keeping a food diary. It’s been really useful in making me realise where problem areas are, and just making me more aware of what I eat in general. I write down all the food and drink I have in a day, and then I colour code it. Green is for healthy food, orange is something which is OK but I could’ve gone without, and red is just really unhealthy food that there’s no excuse for! This way,  I can look at it after, say, a week and see where I can do better. I allow myself a few reds in there, but if I notice too many I make a big effort to make the next week more “green.” I’d highly recommend it, because while I’m not into diets I do think it’s really good to get a handle on how much you’re eating and see on paper where you could be cutting back/adding on.

A few weeks ago, I went to the Tullamore Show, which is the largest agricultural show in Ireland. It’s not just cows (though there are SO MANY COWS); there really is something for everyone. Think village fete on steroids. There were hundreds if not thousands of varied stalls and competitions. Two in particular caught my eye and gave me ideas for blog posts.

The first, “Shauna’s Boom Books” will feature in a “Surrounded by  Awesome” post very soon, but something else I saw was a competition for imaginative, healthy packed lunches!  

I thought these were great, and the competition as a whole was inspired, but something I noticed was that... well,

Is anyone else sick to death of blooming sandwiches? They’re a great idea, don’t get me wrong, I mean no disrespect to certain Earls, but after a week or so they can get just a little boring. I’ve put together some nice lunch ideas for you all in today’s post.

But first things first, if you’re going to survive till lunchtime, you’ll need to eat a proper healthy breakfast. Even though you might not feel hungry in the morning, you should be eating the largest meal of the day at this time. Skipping breakfast will only lead to you snacking later on, so if you think it’s a way to lose weight, think again! Make sure it’s a balanced meal. I like to have cereal e.g. Wheetabix, with some fruit and a cup of (now herbal) tea. You could try things like scrambled eggs on toast, porridge... as a general rule, try to fit in protein, carbohydrate and fruit.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was getting really hungry before lunch time, so I tried to find ideas for a snack at break. We only get about ten minutes at school, so it had to be something quick which would fill me up. Again I opted for protein as it releases energy slowly...
Thus began my love affair with peanut butter. I brought it in spread on a half-sandwich of wholemeal bread, and it kept me satisfied for hours! I also tried “Ants on a Log”, a popular American snack made of celery, peanut butter and raisins. I was skeptical because I do love celery but I wasn’t sure if the flavours would go together, but it ended up so tasty and filling!

Now onto lunch!

A great alternative to sandwiches is soup. As soup doesn’t expand the stomach so much, it makes you feel fuller for longer. It’s also a great way to get some of your five-a-day if you’re not keen on veggies!
I’ve invested in a cute little Thermos—they’re going for €5.00 in Dunnes Stores right now! It brightens up my day and is a great way to bring in my soups or teas to school without the bulk of a full-sized flask. I rarely advertise or encourage you to spend money, but honestly I’d recommend nabbing one quick!

I’ll be posting a recipe for Autumn Vegetable Soup very soon, but for now I love this recipe for Peaand Pesto soup by Nigella Lawson. It really filled me up, but you can try bringing in a slice of wholemeal or soda bread if you’re feeling ravenous!

Another thing great for lunch, again full of protein, would be my Hummus with a Twist. You can bring in some celery, carrot or cucumber crudités like in my recipe, or why not try using it to fill a sandwich with wholemeal bread. I’ve tried both and it’s really tasty. That’s all we’re looking for in a lunch—something yummy that will fill us up ready for the last lessons of the day!

I’m also a big fan of pasta, so I made a lot of homemade sauce at the weekend and stored it in jars (sterilise the jar with boiling water and the sauce will keep for over a week in the fridge). I then cook the pasta the night before or in the morning and bring it to school in a little Tupperware container. You could also try adding a knob of butter and a spoon of Marmite to your drained pasta and heating for a few seconds. Nigella (are we sensing a pattern?) suggests doing this with spaghetti and I’d recommend it for Marmite lovers!

It’s also important to keep your schoolbag filled with water (in a bottle of course, or your books will get soaked) and maybe some extra fruit in case you need it. I usually have an apple or banana with me, but you could try dried fruits too like raisins or apricots.

I hope this had given you some ideas to keep the rumbling stomachs at bay! I’ll try to have some more ideas for you very soon! 

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