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HEALTHY PORTION LUNCH BOX

How to pack a quick and easy healthy Portion lunch box

A healthy Portion Lunch Box contains:
Fresh fruit and/or crunchy vegetables.
A meat or protein food such as slices of lean meat or hard boiled egg.
Dairy food such as a cheese stick or slice, grated cheese, milk or yoghurt.
Starchy food such as bread, a roll, pita or flat bread, fruit bread or crackers, and Water.

PROTEIN

VEGGIES

CARBS

FRUIT

DAIRY

PROTEIN

When we think of protein, we typically think of foods such as meat and eggs - but its important to know that all food groups contribute to what we call a "complete protein", which are essential to ensuring you are enjoying a healthy, well balanced lunch. 

Proteins are long chain molecules that are comprised of amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids, and the human body requires all twenty to function properly. There are two types of amino acids - essential amino acids and nonessential amino acids.

Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the human body and are required in the diet. Nonessential amino acids are produced by the liver in the human body.
Amino acids are not stored by the human body and therefore must be included in the diet every day.
Each type of food contains a different amount of each amino acid. Various foods are high in some amino acids and low in other amino acids.

When a food has all the amino acids necessary for good nutrition, it is called a complete protein. Milk, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and seafood are complete proteins, as are soy and quinoa.

However, foods which have limited amounts of certain amino acids may be combined to form a complete protein.
Beans, peas, and lentils are low in the sulfur containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, but they are high in another amino acid called lysine.
Grains are high in the sulfur containing amino acids, but they are low in lysine. So, by combining foods such as beans and grains, you can get all the essential amino acids that your body needs.

It is important to eat a variety of foods throughout the day to obtain enough of each type of essential amino acid needed for good nutrition.
When you combine two or more foods to form a complete protein, these foods are called “complementary proteins’’.

Some examples of complementary proteins are black beans and brown rice, vegetarian chili and tortillas, and peanut butter on whole wheat bread with sliced banana. Complementary proteins do not have to be consumed at the same time, but they should be consumed in the same day.

Protein provides 4 calories per gram

The body uses protein to maintain muscles, tendons and ligaments, and to grow hair, skin and nails. Some proteins function in the body as hormones, enzymes or antibodies.

VEGETABLES AND SALADS

Vegetables are a great choice for healthy eating.
Vegetables are filled with nutrients like Vitamins A, E, and C, and the B vitamin folic acid, and they contain phytochemicals, which may help prevent disease.

Vegetables contain minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Vegetables are also high in fibre and low in fat and sodium. Non-starchy vegetables are also low in fat and calories.
The best choices for vegetables are fresh, raw or cooked, frozen, or canned without added salt.
When eating vegetables, put lots of colors and variety on your plate for best overall nutrition. Some vegetables contain starch and are counted as a carbohydrate
choice in diabetes meal planning.

Starchy vegetables contain 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
Most non-starchy vegetables contain about 5 grams of carbohydrate in a 1/2 cup cooked serving or 1 cup raw serving.
Starchy vegetables include corn, peas, and potatoes.
Most of the carbohydrate found in non-starchy vegetables is fibre, so you may not need to count the carbohydrates in these vegetables, unless you eat more than 1 cup
cooked or 2 cups raw at a time.
Some vegetables such as lettuce, salad greens, spinach and herbs count as free foods because they have very low carbohydrate content.
Enjoy as many vegetables as you like each day for better health.

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, milk, beans and grains.
Carbohydrates are the simple sugars glucose, galactose and fructose, and complex sugars that include starches and fibre.

Simple sugars are single molecule sugars. Starches and fibre are long chain molecules that are made of many individual glucose molecules.
Simple sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Starches take longer to digest and are broken down into small glucose molecules so the body can absorb them.

The fibre found in food cannot be broken down by the human digestive system and does not contribute calories to the diet.
Fibre is expelled from the body through the stool. And it is great for lowering cholesterol and also helps improve the overall health of the digestive system.

The sugars and starches found in food are broken down into the simple sugar glucose to be metabolized by the cells to produce the energy that the body needs to grow, to work, to repair itself, and to reproduce.

Carbohydrates are found in:
Breads, cereals and crackers
• Rice, grains and pasta products
• Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn and peas
• Beans and lentils
• Milk and yogurt
• Fruit and fruit juices
• Sweet desserts such as cakes, ice cream and cookies
• Jam, jelly and preserves

A portion size for a food containing carbohydrates in diabetes meal planning is 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.

FRUIT

Fruits are also a great choice for healthy living.
Fruits are a good source of potassium and folic acid, and they contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
When eating fruits, put lots of colours and variety on your plate for best nutrition. Fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories, and they are high in fibre.
Fruits contain natural sugar and are counted as a carbohydrate choice.
They are a low calorie, high water, high fibre choice for weight management meal plans. 

Fresh, frozen or canned
fruit contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate for a 1/2 cup serving.
Fresh berries and melons provide 15 grams of carbohydrate for a 3/4 cup to 1 cup serving.
The best choices are fresh fruit, whole frozen fruit or canned fruit without added sugar. Dried fruits are also nutritious, but they have lower water content and their nutrient content including calories and sugar is more concentrated than fresh fruit, therefore the portion size for dried fruits is smaller.

Fruit contains many vitamins and minerals to boost your health, help maintain a healthy weight and can prevent cancer.
Add fruit as a snack to the lunch box each day. Try to eat a variety of fruit in different colours through the week.

DAIRY FOOD

Milk, yoghurt and cheese are important for growing healthy bones and teeth.
Dairy foods are rich sources of calcium and other minerals, protein and vitamins including B12.
The Department of Health recommends reduced-fat varieties of dairy food for people aged 2 years and over, but it’s a personal preference - the most important thing is that children are having calcium rich foods. If you choose or need to avoid dairy products, select alternative products that have added calcium, such as calcium enriched soy or rice drinks.

All milk substitutes have about 1 gram of protein, except for soy milk, which has 8 grams of protein per cup. Unflavored almond milk contains 8 grams of carbohydrate, unflavored soy milk 15 grams, and unflavored rice milk is high in carbohydrates, with 25 grams per cup.

Flavoured milks contain more carbohydrates, added sugar, and calories, so be sure to check product labels..

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