12 August 2010

Introducing Kids to TOPLESS Sandwiches

Let this time of the year before school starts up again be the time to get the kids involved in making their own healthy lunches.
Here is a great little diagram from the Danish website: http://www.2gangeomugen.dk (which translates to '2 times a week').  This chart illustrates the five important components of a healthy child's lunch using a child's hand.  The Danish phrase Gi' madpakken en hånd literally means "give the lunchbox a hand".

dk flag
thumb = VEGETABLES…raw greens, salad or as a topping
index = BREAD…euro pumpernickel or whole grain
middle = MAIN TOPPING…meat, cheese or egg
ring = FISH…at least, once a week.
little = FRUIT…fresh and sweet


thumb = VEGETABLES…maybe carrot sticks
index = BREAD…white – maybe whole grain
middle = TOPPING…balogna and cheese
ring = NO FISH…rarely, tuna…no EFAs
little = FRUIT…maybe apple, orange or banana

If we look at the USDA’s MyPyramid for Children, one can see that the new guidelines are close to the Danish model.kidspyramid

LEGEND to MyPyramid
orange = GRAINS
red = FRUITS
yellow = OILS 
blue = MILK
purple = MEAT + BEANS

Thus, finding a healthy compromise for American children to enjoy using the Danish model is an easy goal.

Here are some great links from teamnutrition.usda.gov:
Be a Healthy Role Model for Children
MyPyramid for Kids Worksheet

Plus, the easiest way to educate kids is to get them involved in the making of meal.

Make this first step with teaching them healthy sandwich alternatives like making their own healthy version of ‘topless bread’ sandwiches.

First, there are a few tips from the Danish model to follow:
  1. Avoid any processed foods, if possible.
  2. Always use multigrain bread made from whole wheat flour or equal.
  3. Teach kids healthy amounts to use for real butter or mayonnaise with olive oil. 
  4. Always use some form of greens on the sandwich
  5. Include some organic fresh fruit or veggies as their treat. (ex: carrots, snap peas, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli florets, grape tomatoes, etc.)
  6. Avoid beverages with high corn syrup/fructose/etc.  Teach kids that natural juices are the best...especially, when combined with homemade soda water!And use simple sheets of aluminum foil or parchment paper to separate multiple sandwiches, if necessary.

Now, here are a few American examples that can easily be used to find inspiration in being able to adopt the Danish lunch model:

peanut butter banana 
Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter with Bananas and Honey

peanut butter apples
Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter with Sliced Tart Apples and Dried Cranberries

Turkey Salami with Mayo and Crunchy Onions on top (not shown)
Tuna with Grape Tomatoes (not shown)

cucumber cream cheese 
Cucumber with Herbed Cream Cheese

Tomato and Egg (not shown)

egg salad face 
Egg Salad with Shredded Carrots on Top

Tomato and Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese and Fresh Basic leaves
Low Fat Cheese (try…light havarti) with Sliced Red Bell Pepper (not shown)
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Slivered Almonds
Make up your own healthy alternative…the possibilities are endless.
Remember kids learn from example.

So, join them in making this new healthy and creative way of making their lunches.   All kids want to be cool and have something different that the other kids will envy.  When kids are given a sense of independence and encouragement in creativity…the results can be many for these open face sandwiches. Who knows…perhaps, they may influence their schoolmates in joining this new way of enjoying a healthy American version of their Danish open face sandwich!

Now I am sure this is one thing that will make both you and your child smile. 
: )


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