BY RYAN WELLICOME
ChooseWell in Lacombe is encouraging families to eat and pack healthy lunches with its Operation Lunch Box challenge, running for the month of September.
Part of ChooseWell’s philosophy is to encourage healthy eating across the board. The Operation Lunch Box challenge targets the mid-day meal.
With schools back in session this week, City of Lacombe Recreation and Culture Administrative Assistant Sonya Beauclair, who spearheads Lacombe’s participation in ChooseWell, said the challenge is particularly appropriate for this time of year.
“We’ve specifically timed it with back to school in hopes of getting the students packing healthy lunches, parents packing healthy lunches for work and then just in general everyone else, whatever they are doing, packing healthy lunches,” she said.
The challenge is asking anyone who wishes to participate to record lunches they pack and participants will be entered into a prize draw at the end of the month.
The Operation Lunch Box webpage features resources that can help participants plan lunches, offer ideas for easy, healthy lunches along with customizable lunch notes to keep kids and adults motivated and on track.
Resources include links to 30 packed lunch ideas for adults, 31 days of school lunches and easy mason jar lunches, all of which include numerous ideas for convenient, healthy lunch alternatives. The pages include ideas for everything from sandwiches to salads to tiny tacos and spaghetti with a focus put on convenience, speed and nutrition.
The page also includes a link to a lunch menu planner template that allows participants to plan for the week and list the groceries needed to build their meals. Also, a mix-and-match list is provided within the first link allowing participants to create combinations for meals.
According to Beauclair, Operation Lunch Box was a natural addition to Lacombe’s ChooseWell lineup.
“Part of ChooseWell is eating right and this is just a way we thought we could make it fun. There will be some prizes and it gives you that little bit of help in case you are unsure or if you get bored having the same salad every day,” she said.
Communities ChooseWell is a province-wide initiative created by the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association to support the development of programs and policies to promote healthy lifestyles throughout communities in Alberta.
Lacombe has been an active participant in the initiative, even garnering recognition in a high achievement award in 2013.
Under ChooseWell, the City runs multiple programs, initiatives and challenges such as Find the Right Fit, the Winter Active Challenge, Winter Walk Day and a Random Acts of Physical Activity month to further its goal of community health. The program also provides resources to help the public understand the benefits of healthy living and to accomplish their goals.
For resources and more information about the challenge and ChooseWell, or to register, go to www.lacombe.ca/choosewell and click on Operation Lunch Box.