07 Feb Healthy Lunch Ideas
Sandra from Daily Wellness is a qualified Nutritionist as well as a parent. Sandra is very generous in sharing her knowledge and experience with MSS parents and has been kind enough to allow us to share them on our Facebook page. If you would like more information about Sandra’s work please check out her website at www.dailywellness.com.au
We all know that healthy food helps children concentrate and learn. Healthy lunches and snacks are important for active children. Encourage children to help choose and prepare their own lunch. Perhaps get them to make a list of all the foods they enjoy and praise your child when they choose healthy foods.
There are lots of food choices available for lunch boxes. However, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which foods are healthy choices.
Fruit – Include at least one serve of fruit each day. Use fresh seasonal fruit whenever possible. Try to avoid dried fruit is high in sugar, low in fibre and can stick to teeth, resulting in dental health problems
Vegetables – Remember to include vegetables in your child’s lunch box every day. Encourage children to enjoy the crunch and colour of raw vegetables. Try salad or grilled vegetables such as capsicum or eggplant in your rolls or sandwiches. Veggie muffins are also a great way to get some extra nutrients in. Try vegetable sticks with dip or a small container with mixed vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, capsicum and cucumber. Try to avoid packet chips and leave them for special occasions only as a treat
Milk, yoghurt – include a small drink of milk (freeze overnight) wrapped in a cloth in the lunch box. Fruit and yoghurts should be kept cool in an insulated lunch box. Best left out of the lunch box are ‘dairy desserts’ and flavoured milks, which are high in sugar.
Dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives) – Children need dairy foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese for optimal growth and development. It is important to put some dairy options in children’s lunch boxes every day. If your child cannot tolerate dairy foods, use suitable alternatives. One serve of dairy is 250 ml of milk, 200 g of yoghurt (one small tub) or 40 g of cheese (two slices).
Protein – Each day, the lunchbox should include a food that is high in protein, such as some lean meat or poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes/beans. Leftovers are always a great option. Other suggestions include baked beans, hard boiled eggs, tuna or salmon, fish cakes, tuna patties or hummus.
Grains (mostly wholegrain and high-fibre varieties) – Remember to include lots of varieties of bread, fillings and spreads, to retain interest in sandwiches. Try to mix it up by using Lebanese breads, lavash & pita breads, rice dishes or rice paper rolls, english muffins etc.
Lunch box drinks – water is the best drink for children and should be packed with the school lunch box every day. On a warm day, frozen water bottles can help keep lunches chilled and also provide a refreshing drink. Sugar-sweetened drinks are not suitable for children’s lunch boxes and these should be avoided. These include sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, flavoured waters, mineral waters and ice teas, energy drinks and sports drinks.
Here are some sample lunch and snack ideas:
• Wrap with organic chicken/ egg /turkey with avocado and salad
• Quiche or frittata
• Chicken drumsticks with vegetable sticks
• Plain corn chips with hummus/guacamole
• Yoghurt – vaalia, jalna, Meredith dairy with Superfood sprinkles
• Quinoa rice
• Zucchini and feta fritters
• Fruit skewers
• Boiled egg
• Rice cake with ABC spread
• Miso soup
• Tuna/avocado sushi
• Homemade popcorn