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The importance of a healthy lunchbox

Lunch is a vital part of your child’s school day and getting the correct balance of nutrients and energy is essential for learning and development.

By carefully preparing your child’s healthy lunchbox you can help to ensure they enjoy a balanced and nutritious lunch. Provide foods which are high in the nutrients that children need rather than snacks high in sugar and saturated fats. We highly encourage those parents or individuals that are highly focused on the health of the growing population to consider masters in public health programs to have a positive influence on the children. 

How can I encourage healthy eating at school?

A great way to encourage your child to enjoy a healthy lunch is to involve them in the choices by setting aside time the night before to prepare the lunchbox  together.

If your child is young and having lunch in school for the first time, it is essential you involve them in choosing their new lunch box and preparing the foods, as this will ensure they look forward to and enjoy their lunch at school. By buying a cooler bag set you will be able to offer a selection of healthy foods which stay cool and fresh before lunch.

Swap chocolate bars and cake for other healthy options such as dried fruit, nuts or a slice of fruit bread. Children enjoy snack size portions of cranberries, raisins, apricots, dates and unsalted nuts. Be careful with cereal bars, as often the sugar content is higher than you would expect, so often selecting your own dried fruit and nuts is a better option.

If your child is changing over to a healthier lunch box , give them time to adjust and introduce new foods slowly and over a period of time. As a family try and eat more fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods at home so your child can adjust to their new diet. Your child may enjoy playing the healthy lunch box game which teaches them the importance of having a range of nutritious foods for their school lunch.

What should I include in my child's lunch box?

A healthy balanced lunch box should contain:

·         Starchy foods

These foods should make up a third of the lunchbox  to provide your child with energy, Make this more exciting by including bagels, pitta bread, baguettes, wraps or home made pasta or rice salad. Try and avoid white bread but instead use wholemeal, seeded or brown bread.

·         A dairy item such as a yogurt or cheese

This could include a cottage cheese dip for breadsticks or soft cheese on wholemeal crackers. Cheese triangles are also a healthy snack. Natural yoghurt with slices of fruit is another healthy option. Be careful to select a natural fruit yoghurt and avoid yoghurts which are high in sugar and additives.

·         Protein foods such as meat, fish, beans or eggs

Sandwiches fillings are an easy way to ensure your child has enough protein, make this more appealing by cutting your child’s sandwiches in different shapes with sandwich cutters. Mackerel with rice or pasta salad and mixed vegetables is ideal. You child may also like a boiled egg.

·         Vegetables or salad and a portion of fresh fruit.

Children often enjoy finger foods, so chop up cucumber, carrots or peppers for your child to dunk into their favourite dip! Cherry tomatoes are another favourite and require little preparation! Make fruit more appealing by making a fresh fruit salad and introduce different fruits such as blueberries, kiwi fruit, strawberries and melon.

·         A healthy flask of drink

Children are likely to enjoy a fresh fruit juice or a natural yoghurt drink. Semi-skimmed milk is also a good idea, but find out if your child already has milk provided during the school day, as most infant schools offer this, if this is the case, give them something different to drink at lunch.  Avoid fizzy drinks and those with a high sugar content. Healthy fruit juice cartons or a fruit smoothies are ideal. Be sure to provide your child with a bottle of water that they can have throughout the day to keep them hydrated.

Example of a Healthy Lunch box

Banana sandwich with wholemeal bread

Cherry tomatoes

Low fat natural fruit yoghurt

Small pack of cranberries or raisins

Unsweetened apple juice

 

 

 

 

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