Healthy Hearing's week of school lunches
Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate, especially against age. Hearing loss might seem like an ‘old person’ malady, but it can afflict children, teens and young adults. In fact, children and teens are being diagnosed more often with noise-induced hearing loss, thanks to earbuds and loud volumes of music.
The good news is there are many ways to help children (and yes, even teens!) prevent hearing loss. One way is through proper nutrition. Consider packing this week’s worth of lunches packed with hearing loss-fighting nutrients, minerals and vitamins like magnesium, zinc, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
The best part? Each lunch takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and use ingredients handy in the typical kitchen pantry. The even better best part? Double or triple the ingredients and you’ll have dinner for the evening, too. Two birds, one stone.
Healthy Hearing’s Week of School Lunches
Monday: Bean and rice burritos
Burritos are a lunch time favorite, and most school cafeterias come equipped with a microwave kids can use. The avocado in the guacamole provides 30 percent of the recommended daily amount of folate your child needs. Folate is great for hearing health as low levels of it have been linked to hearing loss in numerous, recent studies. Beans will provide the other 70 percent recommended daily amount of folate needed in the day, meaning your child is set in just one meal!
Ingredients: 1/4 cup black or pinto beans, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 flour tortilla, 1/4 cup guacamole
Directions: Place tortilla on flat surface. In middle, smear guacamole. Add beans (drained) and rice. Fold edges in and roll into a wrap. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap.
Tuesday: Almond butter and jam sandwiches
Tuesdays should be simple which is why just a simple twist on the classic PB&J is in order. Almonds — and all nuts, really — are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which supports healthy blood flow. This reduces the chance of cochlear degeneration because omega-3s improve your lipid profiles, decrease vessel inflammation, reduce blood pressure and improve clotting factors.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1-2 tablespoons favorite jam, 2 slices whole grain bread
Directions: No directions necessary; make your kid's preferred way and enjoy!
Wednesday: Tuna salad sandwiches
Tuna is chock-full of magnesium, which creates and maintains bone integrity. It's actually a really important mineral and is often overshadowed by calcium (which of course, is important too). Lack of magnesium can make people more susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss, according to a 2003 study by Cevette, Vormann and Franz. For adventurous eaters, try adding chopped dill pickle, onion, sriracha or additional spices to your tuna salad.
Ingredients: 1 can tuna, 1 tablespoon low-fat mayo, salt, pepper, 2 slice whole grain bread
Directions: Mix tuna, mayo, salt and pepper. Build a sandwich and enjoy!
Thursday: Tomato and vegetable soup
Okay, so a soup might take more than 10 minutes to prepare, but nothing says school lunch like a thermos full of hot soup. Tomatoes are full of magnesium, folate and zinc, which are all major players in keeping ears healthy. Any additional vegetable in your tomato soup is just a bonus! Best part about this meal? You can make it for dinner the night before and have an easy, already-packed lunch for the next day.
Ingredients: 1-28 ounce can of tomatoes with juice, 1 can tomato paste, 1/2 container vegetable stock, any of your favorite vegetables, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.
Directions: Heat tomatoes with juice, tomato paste and stock in a sauce pan over medium high heat to a boil. Add vegetables until soft, about 15-20 minutes.
Friday: Hummus, pita bread and vegetables
When it comes to eating for a child, the more interactive a meal can be, the better; that's why hummus and veggies or pita bread is a great lunch time meal for your child. The best part? A serving of garbanzo beans provides 23 percent of the zinc needed in one's daily diet and zinc can help prevent hearing conditions like tinnitus, which is characterized by a ringing or buzzing sensation in the ear.
Ingredients: 1 can garbanzo beans, drained, 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons tahini, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, 1/4 cup olive oil, any of your favorite dipping vegetables like carrots, celery and jicama, washed, peeled and cut into strips, pita bread, cut into triangles.
Directions: To make the hummus, blend beans, tahini, garlic and juice of one lemon in a food processor. Slowly add olive oil until incorporate. Salt and pepper to taste.