With the start of the new school year so close we thought we’d offer some healthy food suggestions and lunch box ideas to make sure your kids are off to a healthy start.
Many breakfast cereals are laden with sugar so learn how much is in the product you feed your kids and choose a low sugar variety. What’s low sugar?? Aim for products with less than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Alternative breakfast ideas include boiled eggs and toast, baked beans on toast, fruit and yoghurt and if your kids don’t get overly hungry at breakfast, try offering them a delicious fruit smoothie.
Swap white bread for wholemeal or multi grain. If your child doesn’t like anything but white bread, try one slice of white and one slice of wholemeal to start with. Then you can slowly introduce all wholemeal bread without them realising.
Again, choose the whole meal variety. Wraps make a great alternative to sandwiches and kids, like adults, like to have variety in what they eat.
Food variety is important to ensure we are getting nutrient variety in our diet so mixing up your fillings is great! Our suggestions include chicken, cheese, grated carrot, spinach leaves, sliced cucumber etc. Sit down with your kids and ask them to write a list with you of what they’d like in their sandwiches. Ask them to choose at least one new food to try per term. It’s a slow but good starting point to encourage new foods.
Kids love finger food so simply pop some chopped up food in their lunch box. Our suggestions include, cheese cubes, boiled egg, carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, whole wheat crackers such as Vita-Weat etc.. Try and aim for at least 3 foods from different food groups (grains, fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy). The best part about finger food is that it can be prepared the night before for convenience.
Fruit is the best finger food around and packed full of vitamins, minerals, water and fibre which is so important for growing bodies. If you are stuck for lunch box ideas, throw in an extra piece of fruit. Some easy fruit for lunchboxes include bananas, apples, plums, nectarines, grapes, berries and don’t forget dried fruit too such as sultanas and dried apricots!
The most common snack food we see at schools are those dreaded lunch box size chip packets and I can’t tell you how much this frustrates us. They are so full of salt it’s not funny and little kidneys find it hard to process so much salt. If you are after something crunchy in your kid’s lunch box, try our pita chip recipe. We get such great feedback from parents, and kids not only love making them but eating them too! You’ll find the recipe on our recipes page https://nutritionforce.com.au/healthy-recipes/
Kids don’t need to drink anything else other than water at school. Commercial drinks have huge amounts of sugar in them that kids do not need. Water, water, water! Especially in the hot summer months. Keep your kids hydrated and healthy.
Written by Lisa Stegena, Nutritionist
Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programs, private dietetic consultations, children’s nutrition & dietetics, school nutrition and Corporate Wellness programs. If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.