Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Definition of A Packed Lunch...

The picture below shows clearly the difference between a healthy packed lunch and an unhealthy one. Sadly it is my experience that some parents still don't know the difference between the two...

For most scouting activities we ask that the youth members (and the adults) bring at least one packed lunch, this allows us to dispense with the hassle of cooking on the first night if we are going away on camp and allows us to restore our energy reserves if we're off on an activity.

The Food Pyramid

Scouting promotes a healthy lifestyle on many levels and food should be no different. When we are planning the menu's for an activity a lot of thought goes into how we can provide a balanced diet, while hopefully satisfying the youthful tastes of our members. 

One big rule in our group is that youth members do not  bring fizzy drinks with them. A while back we decided that these would be provided by the group as a treat for our hard working boys and girls, rather than the norm. This way a healthy balance is maintained between youthful enthusiasm and hyperactivity brought on by sugar/caffeine overload. It makes for an easier life for everybody ~honest!

An interesting article published by the BBC News site gives the following advice for parents regarding packed lunches:
According to advice from the Food Standards Agency,a healthy packed lunch should include:

• Meat, fish or a dairy source of protein
• Starchy carbohydrate, such as a wholegrain sandwich, to provide energy
• At least one portion each of a fruit and vegetable or salad
• Water or milk to drink, but diluted fruit juice and yoghurt drinks or smoothies are acceptable

The key foods to avoid are:
• Sweets and chocolate
• Snacks, like crisps, with added salt/sugar/fat
• Sugary and fizzy drinks
• Deep-fried foods and processed meats
• White bread - if children won't eat brown, try whole white sliced bread 

We also ask that you provide some goodies for a midnight/trail snack. Once again this is an important part of a parent's planning for a scouting activity. Keeping added fat and sugar to a minimum is recommended, but so is the inclusion of high calorie food! This is because camping and hiking, etc is hard work as well as good fun and it's important that everybody is running on a full gas tank otherwise people get cranky and this can spoil the activity for themselves and others...

For hikes trail snacks such as G.O.R.P. are ideal for these activities as they contain a mixture of natural sugars, proteins and carbohydrates all in one go.There are numerous 'recipes' for G.O.R.P. or you can just add some raisins and salted peanuts to a bag and give them a shake! 

Don't forget that if you are hiking or camping it can be hard work, which leads to perspiraton or sweating! This fluid needs to be replaced or dehydration and/or overheating can occur so a plentiful supply of water is also needed. One little can or bottle of water isn't enough. On a personal note I usually bring at least two litres of water with me for all activities and usually end up drinking all of it...

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