Healthy Lunchbox Advice
By Funch Dietician Caryn Kave
Trepidation of preparing kids school lunchboxes is not uncommon among parents. There is the feeling that we need to create something healthy, offer variety and of course exclude any items on the schools banned list of allergen products. Not only is the challenge something that many parents find monotonous but it also takes valuable time that many parents simply don’t have.
What parents must remember when approaching the monotonous task of school lunches is that it really is important. The content of the kids lunchbox fuels not only their bodies but also contributes to how alert and active their minds are throughout the day.
The quality of the food you feed your kids has a direct impact on how much their body benefits. Whilst our main meals are important, don’t underestimate the importance of also giving kids high quality snacks for morning and afternoon tea, ensuring that they have the fuel to maintain their physical and emotional status quo throughout the day.
Here are some suggestions for how you can improve your kids lunchboxes:
- Get back to basics - Cut out as much processed and pre-packaged food as you can. We should feed our children as much REAL food as possible. This means no preservatives, no colouring and lots of whole foods
- Include food from the 5 food groups every day. Ideally you should also include a variety of foods within these 5 food groups
- Make your fruit and vegetables colourful. An array of colours will ensure there is also a range of vitamins and minerals
- Get your kids involved. Talk to your children about the benefits of good food and the negatives of ‘bad or unhealthy’ food. The more they understand the more likely they are to care about what they eat
- Eat seasonal. Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season, offering the freshest most vitamin packed product you can.
- Cut it, grate it, dice it. Offer the same food in a variety of forms. Fruit and vegetables can be served whole, cut up, grated, diced... just to name a few
- Get a small ice pack suitable to include in the lunchbox to keep the lunch cool – particularly when cheese, yoghurt and milk is included
- Send a drink bottle. Water is by far the best drink for kids, it is also important that kids drink regularly throughout the day.