Pack a punch with a healthy lunch

Pack a punch with a healthy lunch
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Pack A Punch With A Healthy Lunch. Packing a lunch box can be a worrisome task for many parents; here are some tips on lunches that balance taste, nutrition and save time.

Packing a lunch box can be a worrisome task for many parents; here are some tips on lunches that balance taste, nutrition and save time.

Packing your child’s lunch box can be like walking a tightrope. Balancing the nutritional needs of growing children while offering foods they will actually eat can be challenging for even the most organised parents.

With a third of a child's total food intake for the day being consumed at school, it is important that the bulk of food included in your child's lunch box provides much needed nutrients, vitamins and minerals for energy and growth.

Energy-rich food

Foods rich in carbohydrate needs to be considered first when packing a lunch box. For most children, it will be a sandwich but may also be a wrap made from flatbread such as a roti, or Lebanese bread, or from cracker biscuits or rice and corn cakes.

Whenever possible, choose wholegrain varieties of breads and cereals as they are digested more slowly than more processed white varieties and are likely to keep children fuller for a longer period of time.

Veggies and protein

Make sure that your child’s sandwich contains a good source of protein such as fat-free chicken, fish or low fat cheese. It will keep your child full and help to maintain concentration levels. Also try to add some sort of salad to the sandwich.

Salad and vegetables add fibre and bulk, which also helps to keep him or her full. Some options that will not make sandwiches too soggy include lettuce, grated carrot, celery or capsicum and cucumber circles.

Fruit for fibre

Don’t forget to add one piece of fresh or dried fruit to your child's lunch box. Children will eat fruit if they are hungry and there are no other more appealing ‘junk type’ options available. Different fruit options include small tins of fruit in natural juice, small containers of grapes or strawberries, pieces of banana or melon, oranges or small packets of sultanas or dried apricots.

Water to drink

Water should be the drink of choice. Cordials, fruit juices, flavoured waters, and full strength soft drinks are very high in sugar and shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis.

Small snack

Failing to include a snack in your child's lunch box runs the risk of them swapping their fruit for more appealing packaged options. A more realistic approach is to include one, small nutritious snack. Aim for one small in your child's lunch box each day. Nutritious snack choices include flavoured milk, cheese sticks, yoghurt, cheese and crackers, mini-muffins and low-fat cookies.

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