Packing A Healthy Lunchbox

With the start of another school year upon us, parents are preparing themselves for the routine task of making lunch boxes. And packing a healthy lunchbox every day is one of the most important things you can do to help support your child’s energy levels, behaviour, focus, and ability to learn. No pressure, right?
Research has showed that the vast majority of children are eating far too few vegetables, and over 90% of children have energy-dense, micronutrient-poor snacks (‘junk food’) in their lunch boxes (National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15) and as a result one in four children are now classified as overweight or obese.
 
With approximately 40% of a child’s Monday to Friday food intake coming from their lunchbox and a third of a child’s total daily food intake being consumed at school, it is important that what you include in your child’s lunch box provides all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for energy, growth and learning.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But keeping a balance between the nutritional needs of growing children and offering them foods they will actually eat can be challenging and overwhelming even for the most organised parents.
As a mum myself, I understand the struggle of packing a healthy lunch box that ticks all of the boxes.
So as school starts again, here’s 5 simple tips for packing a healthy lunchbox.
After all, healthy kids are happy kids!
 

  • Avoid spiking blood sugar levels – Fat, protein and fibre slow down digestion and will keep your child feeling full, whereas sugar and starch digest more quickly and have the opposite effect. Therefore provide:
    • Complex carbohydrates for energy such as brown rice, quinoa, legumes, sweet potato and fruit
    • Protein to keep your child full and maintain concentration levels such as chicken, fish, eggs, meats, or legumes
    • Healthy fats for brain food such as avocado, egg yolk, tahini used in hummus, olive oil

 

  • Avoid processed and refined foods – these are usually high in sugars and preservatives many of which have adverse effects on behaviour.

 

  • Reduce sugar as much as you can – too much can greatly affect children’s behaviour and concentration, which ultimately affects how well they learn. Watch out for hidden sugars in muesli bars, muffins, biscuits and even flavoured yoghurt. Avoid soft drinks juice poppers and flavoured milk. Good old water is the best way to hydrate them — infuse them with different fruits overnight to pack them with natural flavours.

 

  • Get creative and make food visually fun for your kids – Cut fruit into shapes with cookie cutters, use kebab sticks with chicken and vegetables, or dips topped with funny faces using berries or pumpkin seeds.

 

  • Plan and Prepare- Think about what you are going to pack for lunches the night before, or even better, plan for the whole week. Then, when it comes times to actually packing the lunchbox each day you will find it will be far less stressful and time consuming.

 
To give you an idea, here is one of Jackson’s favourite lunch boxes

  • Wrap with organic chicken with avocado, tomato, cheese and shredded carrot
  • Plain corn chips with hummus
  • Yoghurt
  • Fresh berries (when in season) or fruit skewers
  • Rice cake with nut butter
  • Bottle of water

At Studio You, one of our core philosophies is Exceptional Client Education. To ensure education opportunities are as accessible as possible, we run a series of 30 minute workshops called Power 30s, or P30s.
We acknowledge that your time is precious and in high demand, you don’t have time to luxuriate for 2 hours at a workshop! Instead, we take a deep dive on a topic, distill all the research, then provide you with perfect sound bites and takeaway action points.
Held monthly, spaces fill quickly and we strongly encourage you to reserve your place in advance. You are very welcome to invite your favorite friends or family to our P30s which are run every second Thursday at 6.30pm. Spaces are limited to 15.
Kids Nutritionist Sandra Di Giacomo will be holding a Power 30 “Kids Lunchboxes Made Easy” on 16th February.

Book your P30 now and navigate to the Group Sessions tab, then P30 and find the date 16th February.

 
References
National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15. Abs.gov.au. N.p., 2017.http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0.55.001?OpenDocument
Sanigorski AM, et al. “Lunchbox Contents Of Australian School Children: Room For Improvement. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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