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Immune boosting lunch box ideas

A change of season and the fear of H1N1 mean every little cough or sneeze from your children sends a chill down your spine. Whether you’ve opted for the flu shot this year or have decided your children should stay home from school all together, it’s important to feed them immune boosting foods to get them through the winter.

Ingredients: Stock your pantry with whole grain breads (check out the latest multi-grain toast from Rich Bake) in toast, pita, and wrap form. Keep your veggie drawer full of broccoli, lettuce, carrots, and avocados.

Have on hand fruits like apples, berries (fresh or frozen), cantaloupe, kiwi, and tomatoes. Get your protein from lean chicken breasts, Omega-3 fortified eggs, flaked, light tuna, almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts, and peanut butter (100 per cent natural if you can find it or make it yourself).

The sandwich: Peanut Butter on whole-wheat toast, wrap or pita. This sandwich can be prepared with a little jam for extra enjoyment. Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches in shapes that your kids will enjoy. Tuna or egg salad. Mix low-fat mayonnaise and finely chopped celery with tuna or boiled eggs for a protein and Omega-3 rich sandwich filling. For kids who like a little spice, you can mix in mustard or curry powder.

Add lettuce, tomato and cucumber for some variation in texture and flavor. CLT or TLT. Use last night’s grilled chicken or oven turkey for a healthier, immune boosting version of the classic BLT. Use your kids’ favorite spread like low-fat mayonnaise, mustard, hummus, or avocado slices. Chicken salad. Mix low-fat mayonnaise with walnut pieces and shredded chicken. Add some raisins or peeled apple pieces for a sweet and salty effect. The add-ins: Pure or sugar-free juices like those offered by Juhayna, Enjoy or Ceres.

Homemade trail mix of cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins, and whatever else you want. Carrot sticks–which you can buy prepared, if you want to save time–with hummus. Oatmeal cookie with raisins, berry muffin, cantaloupe squares with a little fork. General tip: Keep your kids interested in healthier lunches by taking them shopping with you and allowing them to pack or prepare their own lunches. Of course, this will depend on your time constraints and level of patience.

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