Rachel Eagleton, clinical nutritionist
Back to school next week, and back to school lunches for Mum and Dad! Did you know children consume around 30 per cent of their daily food intake at school? The food in their lunch box helps children concentrate, learn and play. However, coming up with a lunch box day after day can do your head in! I just worked out that by the time my kids finish high school I will have made 4680 lunch boxes (and yes, I know they should do it, but …).
A healthy lunch box doesn’t need to be full of expensive ‘super foods’ that will get picked at – my ideas can be put together in ten minutes max.
A well-balanced lunch box should include:
I like to put together as much as possible while I’m cooking dinner. I also make use of the freezer for simple sandwiches and packaging up muffins, bliss balls and pikelets. There’s heaps of recipe ideas and tips on the Healthy Lunch Box Week site.
OK, so you’ve packed a healthy lunchbox – now to make sure the contents end up being eaten!
Explain to your kids that the different-coloured fruit and veggies help their brains get better at their sport/reading/music (whatever they love), the wholegrains give them energy to play and learn and the protein and dairy will keep their bones and muscles strong for running fast, jumping high, kicking a footy or doing a handstand.
Involve your kids and let them make choices.
When they come home, ask about their lunch. Did they have enough time to eat? Was it still yummy at lunchtime? Could it be held in one hand while they played?
Don’t forget when you are prepping lunch boxes to think about what you can take to work for yourself the next day too. Constantly grabbing lunch from the food court means you are choosing a meal that has about 30 per cent more calories than what you need. Some chopped-up veggies and a small packet of nuts will help you avoid the office biscuit jar at 3pm. You can read my guide to 5 Easy Office Lunches here.
Rachel is a university qualified Clinical Nutritionist based in Balmain. She is also the busy working mum of two teenagers, so is practical and realistic with her advice. Rachel offers private consultations to improve your family’s health and wellbeing. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks.
m: 0450 524611
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