Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Importance of the Paper Towel

By Kurt Lewis

“The importance of the paper towel,” my dad would say, “is threefold. First, I use the paper towel to dry the apple after I have washed it. Second, I wrap the apple in the paper towel to protect it in your lunch bag. And third, you may then use the paper towel as a napkin during your meal. Threefold.”

My dad would go through this speech with me every morning as he packed my lunch, and it never got old to me. He worked a lot when I was a kid, and early morning before he left for work was often the most time I would get to spend with him in a day. I would sit and eat my breakfast while he strolled around the kitchen packing my lunch. He would make my sandwich, bag up some pretzels and always make sure that I got my apple and my paper towel.

Mornings like that will always be special to me. To this day, I wrap my apples (and pears, peaches, plums or whatever fruit I pack) in a paper towel, repeating that threefold mantra in my head. It’s a great way to start my day and a warm reminder of my dad’s love. To me, moments like this are what being a good parent is all about.

If you are a parent, or even if you are not, packing a lunch is a great way to be sure that the food you are eating is the best it can be. School lunches are often not nearly as nutritious as parents would like, and adults certainly don’t set a great example with the food that we grab for lunch. I have put some pretty awful things in my body simply because I only had a few minutes to run out and pick something up.

These days, I pack my lunch most of the time. It’s a guarantee that I have food at hand when I need it and a conscious effort to eat healthier. Now it’s me strolling around the kitchen, making a sandwich and extolling the virtues of the paper towel. It’s a time to clear my head before I head for the train and the workday that awaits. It feels great to take that time to take care of myself, not to mention that cutting out fast food has certainly improved my health.

I encourage you to give it a go for a week. Pack your lunch each day and see how you feel. If you have kids, get them involved. Give them choices in the morning that will pay off in the afternoon. Take the time to be present with them as you all get ready for your day.

And when you pack them an apple, don’t forget to wrap it in a paper towel.

Here's a quick article on healthier lunch choices you can make at home.

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