Tips for healthy lunchboxes
Here are some tips for healthy lunchboxes:
- Try to encourage your child to make decisions about what they eat and chat with them before preparing their lunch. For example, ask your child to choose either an apple or a pear to pack in their lunchbox. A child is also more likely to eat what they help prepare, so get them involved in simple tasks like making sandwiches.
- Plan your child’s weekly lunches in advance and add the ingredients to your shopping list. The more organised you are, the better the chance that your child’s lunchbox will be stocked with healthy items. You could also take your child shopping and choose foods which you both agree are healthy and taste good.
- Include low glycaemic index (GI) foods such as wholegrain sliced bread, wholemeal bread rolls, or wholemeal pita bread. Low GI foods help to maintain stable blood sugars through the slow release of glucose into the bloodstream and keep you satisfied for longer
- Use lean meats in sandwiches such as roast beef or shredded chicken breast or use canned fish. These are preferable to ham, salami, pastrami, corned beef or devon. Other alternatives that can be used in moderation include peanut butter (low salt or sugar variety is preferable), hommus or ricotta cheese.
- Try to add lettuce, cucumber, tomato or roasted vegetables such as capsicum, eggplant, or zucchini to sandwiches. Vegetables in sandwiches can add vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, while also being low in fat, sodium and sugar.
- Try to avoid using butter on sandwiches. There are a number of low-fat spreads and condiments, such as low-fat cream cheese or cottage cheese that you can use to add flavour and moisture without the fat and kilojoules.
- Try to provide fluids in the form of water or low-fat milk, and avoid soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices and cordial. You can freeze water to keep the food in the lunchbox safe too.
- Fruit is sweet and tasty, and is a much healthier alternative to potato crisps, biscuits, chocolate and lollies. Offer fruits that are easy to eat such as mandarins, grapes, cherries, apples and pears, or cut and wrap fruits such as oranges, mangoes, kiwi fruits and pineapple.
- Try to choose lunchbox snacks that have some nutritional value, some suggestions include: dried fruit (sultanas, apricots, apples, dates), vegetable sticks (carrot, celery, cucumber, capsicum), cheese sticks, fruit bread, wholemeal biscuits, a small can of baked beans or creamed corn, rice or corn cakes.
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