Before we look at the kinds of foods you should be filling your kids’ lunchboxes with, let’s give special attention to food safety. If you’re including meat products or dairy as part of their lunchbox, be sure that they have an icepack in their lunch bag to keep it cool and remind your child not to leave their lunch bag in the sun. The aim is to give them nutritious foods, not food poisoning.
Here are just some ideas for keeping your kids satisfied when it comes to their break-time snacks:
Think yoghurt, cheese squares or even a small milk drink. Try to avoid the varieties packed with sugars and preservatives and keep it as natural as possible. Foods in this group are excellent sources of calcium, which is important for strong, healthy bones.
Sliced or whole you can’t go wrong with a pie ce of fruit. It e ven helps for that sweet craving kids have. Packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and many phytonutrients (nutrients naturally present in plants), fruit will help your child stay healthy.
Lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds
Try a boiled egg or a packe t of nuts with a me aty salad or a whole-wheat roll. Our body uses the protein we eat to make specialised chemicals such as haemoglobin and adrenalin. Protein also builds, maintains, and repairs the tissues in our body.
Always choose whole grain and/or high fibre varieties of breads, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles and stay away from refined products (such as cakes or biscuits) that can be high in added sugar, fat and sodium, unless it’s as an occasional treat.
Veggies of all kinds should form a large part of your and your child’s daily food intake and should be encouraged at every meal (including snack times). Carrot sticks, a small salad or baby tomatoes are easy to add to the lunchbox and provide vitamins, minerals, and loads of dietary fi bre.
Getting the kids to choose healthier foo ds
As we said at the beginning of this article, the best way to get your kids to make healthier choices is to lead by example. It’s also important to involve your child in choosing and preparing their snacks. Make it a fun activity on the we ekend to go out and select their healthy snacks and get the m ready for the week. That will help them to have a positive attitude towards healthy eating both now and in future.