What types of food can keep my child satisfied throughout the school day?
For many children nowadays, school hours end in the early and even the late afternoon. The mid-morning snack may not last long enough, leaving the child hungry by 1 pm. The child’s developing body needs “fuel” for the extra hour or more of physical and mental exertion.
It is crucial that children enjoy a nutritional and satisfying meal at school, which not only improves physical performance, but also helps the child remain alert and concentrated and maintain a relaxed and positive outlook that is beneficial to academic achievements. Even a ten-minute break is sufficient time to enjoy a sandwich that is as much nutritional as appetizing.
Tips and practical suggestions:
- We are all familiar with stressful mornings and the confusion in trying to choose what food the children will take to school. For calmer mornings, plan ahead: talk with your child to decide on food choices for school. It may be helpful to prepare an organized and detailed “sandwich schedule”, similarly to the school schedule, to hang on the refrigerator. For pre-reading children, post empty packages instead of writing.
- It is important (especially for children) that school-time meals contain the right balance of carbohydrates (bread, crackers), protein (cheese, eggs, meat substitutes) and fats. The meal should be accompanied by vegetables or fruit and, naturally, water. Most sandwiches can be prepared in advance the evening before. Platic wrap and keep refrigerated.
- Offer whole-flour breads (whole wheat, rye) that provide complex carbohydrates, nutritional fibers, vitamins and minerals.
- Sliced bread is preferable to pitta bread or bread rolls, particularly for overweight children. Another option is low-calorie bread or bread rolls.
- The sandwich filling should optimally contain protein. Preferable high-quality proteins include dairy products, eggs, tuna and meat substitutes.
- Vegetables and fruit: provide vitamins (such as vitamin C, beta-Carotene), minerals and nutritional fibers. Choose vegetables and fruit that do not easily bruise or go soft. It is recommended to give the child a plastic box full of colorful vegetables that are cut into interesting shapes.
- Drink – the recommended drink is water. Only water. Extensive drinking of water reduces the risk of dehydration, helps the child feel refreshed and prevents constipation and headaches.
- The combination of high-quality proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables or fruit ensures a well-balanced and healthy meal.
Healthy sandwich suggestions:
- Two slices of bread (preferably whole-flour bread) with 5%-fat white cheese spread. A dash of olive oil and hyssop powder (za’atar) will complete the sandwich. Accompany with carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes, a pear and a bottle of water. In addition to the high-quality protein, dairy products also provide calcium that is essential for the growth of children and the strengthening of bones as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to the proper functioning the the child’s body. Carrot sticks do not go mushy or moisten the sandwich. Offer the child choices of possible toppings to the cheese: corn, chopped olives, hyssop powder etc. or add flavor and color by using other spices.
- Wholesome lunch: whole wheat bread roll + 1 teaspoon of tahini + 5%-fat vegetarian hamburger. On the side: cherry tomatoes and lettuce (for children that like their greens). Soy protein is a complete and high-quality protein that has a high nutritional value.
- Half a pitta bread (preferably whole wheat) with tuna and sliced hard-boiled egg (optinal – replace the egg with cottage cheese, you will be surprised how well-liked this combination is among children). On the side: a whole cucumber. Tuna and eggs are a source of high-quality protein. Tuna – offers omega 3 fatty acids that are essential to proper development.
- Two slices of whole-flour bread, tahini, pastrami and tomato. Add a leaf of lettuce to protect the bread from the moisture of the tomato. Pastrami is preferable to sausage. Tahini (particularly whole-sesame tahini) offers the body good fats, calcium, iron and other minerals.
- Small whole wheat pitta bread with a dash of tahini and a vegetarian “chicken breast”. Side of cherry tomatoes. Soy protein is a complete and high-quality protein that has a high nutritional value.
- Sweet sandwich – a sweet sandwich can be nutritious too. A sandwich made of two slices of whole-flour bread, 1 tablespoon of raw whole-sesame tahini, 1 tablespoon of sillan (date honey), with a few nuts on the side.