Fuel for School. How to make school lunches healthy and easy.
How have you been managing the first weeks of school?
Do you have lunchbox fatigue already?
The pressure to make the most instagram-able lunchbox has recently been discussed in this recent ABC article. In the article, paediatric dietitian Amy Thompson noted, "Instead of cute, trendy and popular, a lunch box should be practical, affordable and include some healthy options that your child will actually eat".
Below, we outline useful tips as you head into the new school year.
What can I put my child’s school lunch in?
Have plenty of small plastic containers, including a sandwich box, that can be reused and then you are doing your bit for the environment. A cooler bag with an ice pack is ideal to be able to keep lunches fresh especially with our hot Queensland summers! Buy a big drink bottle so your child has no excuse not to drink water.
Fuel for school needs to include:
Dairy products (they contain calcium for healthy bones),
Meats (for iron, helping concentration),
Fruit and vegetables (for a healthy mind and body), and
Wholegrain breads (for long lasting energy).
These foods will give your child sustained energy that they need to be able to concentrate at school. If our children do not eat this variety with their school lunch then it can be difficult to fit it in at other meals.
Which foods make good snacks for kid’s lunchboxes?
Frozen low fat yoghurt tub re-useable pouch
Frozen low fat milk popper
Vegie sticks with hummus or avocado dip
Fruit, fresh or snack packs
Dry cereal pieces
Homemade pikelets, savoury scones
Crackers with peanut butter (check your school’s policy)
Mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruit (again, following school’s ‘allowed items’)
Sandwiches get boring, what else is there for lunch?
Pasta salad with pesto
Wrap with baked beans and grated cheese
Pita bread with chicken and coleslaw
Finger food lunch – mini quiche with vegie sticks, cheese with crackers and salad
What about drinks?
Juices, soft drinks and cordial contain sugars and acids that cause tooth decay and provide empty, unnecessary calories. Tap water is cheaper, has fluoride for the teeth and is better for the environment than purchased bottled water.
When can my child pack their own lunch?
Get your child to assist with packing their lunch to start off with as children don’t always know what food is best for them. This gives you the opportunity to guide them on how to include variety and appropriate foods and snacks.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: red apple on 5 books next to letter blocks that spell A,B,C with 5 coloured pencils between them.
IMAGE SOURCE: ELEMENT5DIGITAL / UNSPLASH