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Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

lunch

The following tips are courtesy of bodyandsoul.com.au. Remember that a healthy lunch can do wonders in helping children concentrate in class:

1. Avoid processed foods

Avoid packing processed snack foods such as chips, sweet biscuits, chocolates, commercially-made muffins and breakfast bars. These contain high amounts of sugar, salt and fat, and are best left as a “sometimes” treat to be eaten at home. They shouldn’t make a regular addition to your kid’s school lunch box. If eaten too often, these types of foods can increase the risk of your kids putting on weight and developing type-2 diabetes and heart problems later on in life.

 

2. Healthy snacks

A healthier and cost-effective alternative is to buy your own fresh, natural ingredients and prepare your own snacks for the kids. Some great healthy snack ideas include wholegrain crackers, rice cakes or vegie sticks with hummus or cubes of low-fat cheese, small tubs of yoghurt, dried fruit and mixed raw nuts (avoid nuts if there is a ‘no nut policy’ at your kids’ school). Or if you’re prepared to get cooking, homemade fruit muffins, banana bread, oat cookies or muesli slices, are other great healthy treats to give kids.

 

3. Add fresh fruit

Always pack a piece of fruit for your child. Fruit is rich in vitamins A and C and antioxidants needed for strong immune systems. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruit, try these tips: pack a container of grapes, berries or cherries; give them a kiwi fruit to eat with a spoon; or mix diced fruit through a small tub of yoghurt. Tip: if you are cutting apples squeeze a little lemon juice over it so it won’t go brown.

 

4. No white bread

I recommend staying well away from white bread and make kids’ sandwiches with wholegrain bread. This is higher in fibre (to look after their bowel health) and also gives their tummy that feeling of fullness after their meal. Wholegrains are made up of slow-releasing carbohydrates which provides kids with energy to fuel their bodies and brains through the day, and helps support concentration at school too.

 

5. Pack in the protein

Be sure to include some type of protein with your child’s lunch. Protein is needed for kids’ healthy growth and development. It helps stabalise blood sugar levels, so your kids won’t have a dip in energy and craving sugary junk foods. Some good protein-rich sandwich fillings include low-fat cheese, hummus, tinned tuna or salmon, lean meat slices, chicken, turkey or a boiled egg. You could also include a protein-rich snack like a mix of raw nuts and seeds, yoghurt or cheese with crackers.

 

6. Add some veg

To get kids to eat their veggies through the day, give them chopped-up carrot or celery sticks packed with a small tub of hummus or cottage cheese. Or add some grated carrot, cucumber, capsicum or lettuce to sandwiches. Leftover roast vegies also make great sandwich fillers too.

 

7. Fruit juice warning

Avoid giving kids popper juices as too much fruit juice (and added sugars) can cause tooth erosion. If you need to give them fruit juice make sure you dilute it in a drink bottle, or buy one without added sugars.

 

8. Drink water

Always pack a bottle of water with your child’s lunch. It is important that kids drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, especially if they are running around outside in the hot weather. Put water bottles cool in a cold pack to keep them cool.

9. Nutritious sandwich fillings

Leftovers make for nutritious (and handy) sandwich fillers too. For something different try mixing left-over frittata, pasta, rissoles, fish cakes, roast chicken or lamb on your kids’ sandwiches.

 

10. Other than Vegemite

If they insist on having the traditional Vegemite, peanut butter or honey sandwiches each day, here are a few tips to make their favourites more nutritious. For Vegemite lovers (there’s now one available with low soidium too), a healthy combo is to mix it with either lettuce, avocado, crushed walnuts or cheese. If your child is going through a peanut butter stage, buy an all-natural one made from pure peanuts (without all the added salt, fat and sugar). Almond butter is also delicious and a great source of good fats, protein and calcium. Sliced banana or ricotta taste great with nut butters too. And since honey is high in sugar, you don’t want to be giving it to them all the time. However buying a raw honey and adding it to some sliced banana, ricotta or nut butter makes a more nutritious sandwich filling.

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on A Long School Day With No Time to Eat

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Click on the link to read Good Heavens! It’s the Lunch Box Police!

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