Our Health and Wellness bloggers from Body Fusion are back, and they are sharing some healthy ideas for those beloved lunch boxes.
It’s that time of year again… BACK TO SCHOOL! We understand that this means busy schedules, early mornings and plenty of extra curricula activities. Need some creative ideas to keep the kids interested and save you time? Please read on.
We know that a healthy lunch box is essential for children. Adequate nutrition has been shown to support healthy growth and development, sustained energy, improved concentration and academic performance.
Our top tips on ensuring your child has a healthy and balanced lunch box:
- Involve your child in the preparation of their lunch and snacks
Providing your child with the reign to make decisions about what goes into their lunch box can help to prevent the dreaded lunch box leftovers. Parents should offer and encourage healthy options, assisting in establishing long term healthy habits from a young age.
- Plan your week ahead
Busy schedules can get in the way of packing a healthy lunch box. Planning ahead by developing a weekly meal plan and writing a shopping list are the first steps to a well-planned week. Preparing lunches in advance also supports organisation.
- Encourage your child to sit and eat lunch before heading out to play
It is easy for kids to get excited at lunch time, being inclined to head out to the playground for a slide down the slippery dip or a swing along the monkey bars. But, for them to have the energy to run around and play and later focus in class, it is essential that their bodies and brains are fuelled properly!
- Use ice packs to keep lunch boxes cool, fresh and safe
Food is stored in lunch boxes for many hours, so it is important that they remain cool to keep them from spoiling. We recommended using an insulated lunch box with an ice block.
As many of our wonderful clients also wonder… What does a healthy lunch box look like?
A healthy lunch box is made up of six main components and we have broken these down simply for you.
- Wholegrains (Aim for 2 serves)
Wholegrain carbohydrates are essential for energy. Wholegrain options are high in fibre and low GI, giving kids sustained energy and keeping them feeling fuller for longer. This may include a grainy sandwich, wholegrain wrap or some wholegrain crackers.
- Vegetables (Aim for 2 serves)
Lunch boxes should contain a colourful selection of vegetables. This may include salad on a sandwich or chopped vegetables with a yummy dip or nut butter. Vegetables add fibre and bulk to meals, keeping kids feeling fuller for longer and aiding digestion.
- Protein (Aim for 1 serve)
Proteins like lean meat may include turkey and chicken breast, eggs, canned fish, chickpeas or nuts and seeds. Pairing these proteins with a carbohydrate will ensure kids feel full, stay focused for an afternoon of learning and continue to grow properly.
- Fruit (Aim for 1 serve)
The best choices for fruit include fresh fruit or fruit tinned in natural juice. Make fruit fun for kids by chopping into a fruit salad, spiralising and coring, and using small containers for berries and grapes. Fruit adds fibre and a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to the lunch box.
- Dairy (Aim for 1 serve)
The best dairy based snacks include a reduced fat yoghurt, cheese or plain milk. Dairy is a wonderful source of protein and carbohydrates. It also provides a source of calcium and vitamin D, essential for healthy and strong bones. Make sure you use an ice pack to keep dairy foods from perishing.
Water is the best choice of drink at school. Packing a refillable water bottle will ensure kids are hydrated. Encourage children to fill up water bottles throughout the school day.
EXAMPLE HEALTHY LUNCH BOX 1
- Wholegrain wrap + chicken breast + salad vegetables
- Chopped vegetable sticks + hummus
- 1 apple
- 1 tub of yoghurt
- Bottle of water
EXAMPLE HEALTHY LUNCH BOX 2
- Grainy sandwich + cheese + salad vegetables
- Chopped vegetables + natural peanut butter
- 1 cup of berries
- 1 boiled egg
- 1 popper of plain milk
- Bottle of water
At Body Fusion, we work with adults, children and families to develop individualised and tailored advice. We understand the importance of food and nutrition during all stages of life. As Accredited Practising Dietitians, food and eating is our speciality, and we can help you find what’s right for you.
Address: 221 Longueville Rd Lane Cove, New South Wales, Australia
Phone: 0410 533 213
Web: Body Fusion
Facebook: Body Fusion
Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org