Toasted cheese sandwich….., hot dog……, chicken pie? Have you ever wondered if you were on the right track when packing lunch for your child? Don’t worry, this is very normal.
The most important thing to remember is that children are not the same as adults. They have small stomachs, and will only eat what they WANT to eat. The challenge for you as a parent is to make sure that whatever you pack for lunch is both nutritious and tasty.
The key to all of this is to always follow a few guidelines:
- Put some time aside to always plan for the day ahead. This will ensure that you don’t end up having to pack unhealthy food, simply because it is the only option available
- Generally, children are fussy eaters, therefore include a variety of foods throughout the week so that they are not bored with your offerings
- To help you to provide a balanced diet in every lunchbox, select foods from all the food groups, namely fruit and/or vegetables, protein and starch.
- Milk and dairy products are especially important for this age group as they not only provide protein to build the body, but are also rich sources of calcium to help with the development of bones and teeth.
- The amount of sugar that the children consume should be limited. The best of ensuring this is to refrain from packing fizzy cold drinks, sweets and chocolates. These can be packed occasionally as a treat.
The following is an easy guide to make your life easier, and at the same time have a more alert and eager child to learn:
- Half of lunchbox can have fruit and/or vegetables (2 different colours). These could be tomato wedges and green grapes
- Protein should make up a quarter of the lunchbox, and usually the size of the child’s fist. Examples of protein sources are mini meatballs, sliced roast beef and low fat cheese cut into wedges, fingers or grated.
- The rest of the plate should be starch, preferably whole wheat bread, crackers or pasta.
- Some interesting sandwich fillings could include leftover meat or mince, tuna (in brine ,not oil) and mayonnaise, chicken and mayo or mashed pilchards and tomato sauce.
For more practical , easy to make healthy lunchbox ideas, join us on the 4th of April. Until then , let us keep the kids Happy and Healthy!