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Pack a lunch the MyPlate way

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:47 a.m. CDT

There are many benefits to taking a packed lunch to work or school. The possibilities are nearly endless, so you get to eat exactly what you want every day. You are also 100 percent in control of what you pack, which means you can plan healthy choices for you or your kids.

MyPlate is a tool that is used to create a healthy plate at mealtimes. You might remember the food groups that stacked up to make a food pyramid; the same groups are still used for MyPlate but are now arranged in the form of a place setting, making it simple to visualize what a well-balanced meal looks like. 

The MyPlate concepts can easily be used to build a healthy boxed lunch. Focus on the foods you should include more of every day — vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Then, choose wisely when picking your protein, dairy and fats.

Great protein sources come in many forms such as lean meats, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, fish and beans.

Calcium is a nutrient that is important for bone health. Milk including flavored milk contains calcium, and many other dairy foods such as cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese retain their calcium. These are all good choices from the dairy group that can be included in a boxed lunch.

The following key messages will help you pack a MyPlate-inspired lunch:

• Make half your plate (or lunch box) fruits and vegetables.

• Make at least half your grains whole grains.

• Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Quinoa Tuna Salad

Serves: 4 (11⁄4 cups each)

Source: Hy-Vee.com

All you need: 

2 tbsp Hy-Vee Select olive oil

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1⁄4 tsp Hy-Vee salt

Several dashes Hy-Vee black pepper

1 1⁄2 cups cooked white quinoa, cooled

2 (5 oz each) cans Hy-Vee chunk light tuna in water, drained

1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 (2.25 oz) can Hy-Vee sliced ripe olives

1 green onion, sliced

2 cups baby spinach

All you do:

In a medium bowl, stir olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.  Add quinoa, tuna, tomatoes, olives and green onion. Gently stir in baby spinach. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 

260 calories, 19 g carbohydrate, 1 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 630 mg sodium

Emily Ring will be offering a Pack a Healthy Lunch class at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 31, in the Newton Hy-Vee Club Room.

Cost to attend is $5 per person.

For more information or to register, call (641) 792-7030 or stop by the Newton Hy-Vee customer service counter. 

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