September 2020: Covid-19: War against viruses and bacterias in our lunchbox. by Francine Joyce

Living during this pandemic has brought a new concern: Being able to go back to work, school and to our canteen with all the appropriate safety measures. 

In 2019, 38% of pupils and 33% of adults would bring their lunchbox with them during their lunch break. Today, the risk of viral contamination associated with eating together in enclosed spaces (canteens, corporate restaurants, cafes, etc.) has led 57% of active workers and 56% of students to opt for the “home-made” solution… consuming it while respecting social distancing and the new sanitary rules imposed in public spaces. The lunchbox is a link between home and parents which can be reassuring for children.

For those who haven’t quite got the hang of the concept “homemade” yet, it is a question of preparing a meal:

– tasty and nutritious, but not softened, soggy, withered or dried

– which can be stored without a fridge

– does not require a microwave to be heated

– which corresponds to the complicated tastes of your little darlings (and their incessant greed for emancipation!), your husband, your wife, your boss … 

– boosts their immune system  

Even if the pandemic has not changed the appetite of our big and small eaters for chips and chocolate, the content of this daily picnic should not stray too far from the rules of food balance. To strengthen their immune defences, maintain energy levels, concentration and academic or professional performance, ensure that it contains:

– of crudities or cooked vegetables – starchy (mixed breads, wraps, salty cakes, rice cakes, hummus, bananas, etc.),

– proteins (white ham, bresaola, tuna, roast slices, hard-boiled egg, surimi, etc.),

– a dairy product (cheese, drinking yogurt), – a fresh fruit, or a compote (sprinkled with dried fruit or granola or crushed hazelnuts, if necessary), – a bottle of water – a small sweetness: 1 homemade madeleine, a puff pastry, some quinoa chocolate pops

– Include a small bag with a towel towel to wash hands and face.

Explain to children why they should not share their lunch or utensils with another friend,

Some suggestions:

– Cold omelets / tortillas (with cheese, peppers, ham, chives, etc.)

– ham, turkey, roast beef rolled up in cigars with Philadelphia, goat

Pasta salad, potatoes, couscous, rice, lentils, ebly, boulgour, taboulé, quinoa

Corn salad / red beans / peppers / tuna (yogurt sauce / tabasco)

Raw vegetables: carrots, cherry tomatoes, edamamé beans, avocado, lettuce, spinach leaves, easy-to-peel fruits (mandarins, apples, apricots, etc.)

For sandwiches think about seasoning them with basil, chives, olive oil or nuts; replace mayonnaise with avocado, guacamole, humus; vary the base: bread with cereals, wraps, pancakes, tacos, crackers

Be versatile, cut, bake, different shapes and colours; let your imagination seduce their stomach and taste buds!

Francine Joyce – dietician

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