Monday, January 22, 2018
Cooking

What's forlunch?

The most disgusting thing 11-year-old Logan Coleman says she ever found when she opened up her lunch box was a tuna and peanut butter sandwich.

"I'm pretty sure my sister made it," said the about-to-be sixth-grader at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg. "It was really gross."

Any sandwich eater of any age would be hard pressed to argue that one. But there were many other lunch items labeled "disgusting" by elementary and middle school students we talked to last week at city recreation centers, proving one thing: Gross is definitely in the eye of the lunch beholder.

Coincidentally, recently released results of the Project Lunch Box Study at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, which sought to compare packed lunches with school lunches, found that some home-packed lunches are also not very nutritious.

Just 27 percent of the lunches brought from home by the elementary students studied met three of the five National School Lunch Program standards: half a cup of fruit (excluding juice), ¾ cup of vegetables, 1 ounce of grains, 1 ounce of meat or protein, and 1 cup of dairy.

The study found that lunch boxes contained a lot more high-calorie packaged foods than fruits, vegetables and dairy items, and 42 percent contained snack foods.

What they should eat

Although some might find that filling a lunch box with items that meet the School Lunch Program standards isn't always easy, there are many choices available to keep a meal healthy. From the USDA's choosemyplate.gov, here are some suggestions:

1 ounce of grains

• a slice of bread

• a cup of ready-to-eat cereal

• ½ cup of cooked cereal, rice or pasta

• a mini bagel

• a small biscuit

• 5 whole wheat crackers

• ½ English muffin

• a small muffin

• a pancake

• 3 cups popped popcorn

• a small flour or corn tortilla

1 ounce of protein

• an ounce of meat, poultry or fish

• ¼ cup cooked beans (black, kidney, pinto, white, baked, refried)

• an egg

• a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter

• ½ ounce of nuts (12 almonds, 24 pistachios, 7 walnut halves)

• ½ ounce of seeds

• ¼ cup cooked peas (chickpeas, lentils, split peas)

• ¼ cup tofu

• 2 tablespoons hummus

• a falafel patty

½ cup of fruit

• ½ small apple

• ½ large banana

• 16 seedless grapes

• ½ large orange or peach

• ½ medium pear, a large plum or 4 large strawberries

• ¼ cup raisins, prunes or dried apricots

¾ cup vegetables

• 1 ½ cups leafy greens (any type of lettuce, spinach)

• 15 medium french fries

• 1 ½ large stalks celery

• ¾ cup broccoli florets

• ¾ cup baby carrots (about 9)

• ¾ cup cooked vegetables (broccoli, greens, sweet potato, squash)

1 cup of dairy

• a cup of milk

• an 8-ounce container of yogurt

• 2 slices of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss or Parmesan cheese

• 3 slices processed American cheese

• 2 cups cottage cheese

• a cup of pudding

Once the items have been selected, keep the lunch cool by packing it in an insulated lunch box or bag, including an ice pack or frozen beverage container.

Patti Ewald can be reached at [email protected]

     
               
Comments
Taste test: New cereals

Taste test: New cereals

The cereal aisle is one of our favorites at the grocery store. Every week, it seems new options are rolled out, each with even more sugar, chocolate or some twist on an old favorite. January seems a particularly popular month for new cereal promotion...
Updated: 5 hours ago

From the food editor: Mastering the frittata, with help from a lot of mozzarella cheese

Let’s talk about frittatas. Specifically, how I can never seem to make one that actually tastes good. They are described in blogs and cookbooks as an easy, breezy dish suitable for using up leftovers lingering in your fridge. Like a quiche, but low-c...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

By Ellie KriegerI recoil at the repentant food chatter that crops up this time of year, dominated by words such as "cleanse" and "detox," which, from what I can tell, are just modern code for "extreme diet." But part of cultivating a healthy, balanc...
Published: 01/17/18
We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

I sat at my desk eating chunked pineapple straight out of the can, reading about how much fruit and vegetables we should all be eating every day: 1 1/2 to two cups of fruit, 2 1/2 to three cups of vegetables, at a minimum, per the United States Depar...
Published: 01/17/18
Taste test: pot stickers

Taste test: pot stickers

Whenever I order meals at a Chinese or Japanese restaurant I always look for pot stickers on the menu. The tasty Asian dumplings are filled with pork or chicken and veggies and cooked with a perfect balance of steaming and frying. The reason I order ...
Published: 01/16/18
From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

When I first made this soup, Florida was in the grips of a cold weather snap, the likes of which rarely happens in this part of the state. We’re talking a whole week of lows in the 30s. The 30s! It was everything I ever wanted and more — the rare win...
Published: 01/16/18
Will you be drinking mushroom coffee in 2018? Here are some predicted food trends

Will you be drinking mushroom coffee in 2018? Here are some predicted food trends

By Drew JacksonBleeding veggie burgers, edible flowers and tree-based sparkling waters could be the most popular foods of the year.Whole Foods, the organics pioneer and Jeff Bezos-backed supermarket, peered into its crystal milk jug and unveiled what...
Updated one month ago
Tampa’s JoAnne Tucker takes a win in Pillsbury Bake-Off

Tampa’s JoAnne Tucker takes a win in Pillsbury Bake-Off

The Pillsbury Bake-Off is serious business and big bucks. Since 1949, the country’s most competitive home cooks put their thinking caps on: How can I use one of the designated Pillsbury products in a new, original — and here’s the tricky part — outra...
Published: 01/09/18
For something different, embrace the country-style pork rib

For something different, embrace the country-style pork rib

When it comes to pork, most home cooks know the chop, the tenderloin, the loin roast, even the Boston butt. But because I am a sucker for the underdog and the oddball, I have a new favorite cut of pork: the country-style rib.Why oddball? First, it su...
Updated one month ago
From the food editor: Turkey meatloaf and potatoes cook together in this one-pan recipe

From the food editor: Turkey meatloaf and potatoes cook together in this one-pan recipe

January brings a weird dichotomy. I’m often exhausted from December, a month packed with lots of travel and merriment and comfort food. But I also feel energized for the new year, fresh planner in hand and lots of lofty goals ready to be set.It’s the...
Updated one month ago