Thursday, April 7, 2011

Healthy Lunches for Kids Inspired by Ethnic Traditions

Loss of Traditional Nutrition Practices Leads to Obesity among Minorities
·         Almost 2/3 of Utah adults are overweight.  However, minority Utahns, such as Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, are even more likely to be overweight.
·         American minorities gain weight when they abandon the healthier traditions of their ancestors and start eating unhealthy American convenience foods. Healthy eating patterns begin in childhood.
·         The traditional diets of the Pacific Islands and Latin America can inspire healthy alternatives for kids’ lunches.

Unhealthy American Sack Lunch Example
About This Lunch
·         Bologna and American cheese sandwich on white bread with regular mayonnaise
·         Potato chips
·         Twinkie
·         Fruit punch
·         This lunch is high in calories and fat and low in nutrients.
·         If you look at the label, you see that the number one ingredient in the fruit punch is not fruit, but sugar.
·         Not only is this lunch unhealthy, it is bland and boring.

Pacific Island-inspired Sack Lunch Example
About This Lunch
·         Tuna sandwich on wheat with cucumber and canola mayonnaise
·         Mango
·         Cold steamed or baked sweet potato with cinnamon
·         Coconut juice
·         Fish, fruit and root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, are healthy staples of the traditional Pacific Island diet.
·         Fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and the tuna sandwich has more protein than the bologna sandwich.
·         Mangoes and sweet potatoes are great sources of fiber and vitamins.
·         Make sure to get coconut “water” or “juice”, not coconut “milk”, which is higher in fat and calories.

Latin America-inspired Sack Lunch Example
About This Lunch
·         Black bean, cilantro, tomato and corn salad
·         Tortilla
·         Banana
·         Low-fat milk
·         Beans, tomatoes, and corn are healthy staples of the traditional Latin American diet.
·         Beans are one of the healthiest foods available; they are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids.
·         The corn in the salad is a whole grain.

Buying lunch at school is another healthy and affordable option
·         Many favorite ethnic dishes cannot be served cold, but Utah school districts frequently offer hot, healthy ethnic foods as part of the school lunch program.
·         School lunches are required to meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
·         Free or reduced price school lunches are available for low-income families.  Eligibility guidelines and applications in several languages are available at our website,  You can apply at any time during the school year.

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