Introducing Kids to TOPLESS Sandwiches

Let this time before school starts up again to 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".

untitled

 

 

dk flagTYPICAL HOMEMADE DANISH LUNCH

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

 

VS.

 

usa-flag TYPICAL HOMEMADE AMERICAN LUNCH

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

green = VEGETABLES

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.

0306_kids_openface_l

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.
  7. 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

open_faced_tomato Tomato and Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese and Fresh Basic leaves

  • Low Fat Cheese (try…light havarti) with Sliced Red Bell Pepper (not shown)

ChickenSalad3 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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