Expert Lunch Box Tips
Who feels the pressure of what to pack in your child’s lunchbox? As parents, we all want our kids to be happy and healthy, so we’ve asked for advice from some school lunch experts.
Belinda Smith, health and wellness coach and founder of ‘The Root Cause’, is passionate about helping parents make healthy choices when it comes to packing their child’s lunchboxes. She says the key is packing a rainbow of fruit and vegetables. “The more colour, the better. “So if their fruit is an orange, give them a vegetable that is another colour.”
If you think your child is going to gag at the sight of a carrot in their lunchbox, Belinda suggests slowly introducing changes to the child at home. “You don’t want the lunchbox coming home full, so introduce the foods at home beforehand – for example, you could cut up some vegetable sticks with hummus dip.”
Packing checklist: Belinda says a lunchbox should contain at least one of each of these;
- Wholegrain (if eating grains)
- Dairy (if eating dairy)
- A healthy snack or treat.
Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson and accredited practising dietitian Natasha Meerding says parents should provide healthy foods from the five food groups – it’s then up to the kids to choose what they eat and how much they eat.
“The key is to provide a variety and offer a serve of each food group,” she says. “We cannot make children eat but we can give lots of choice – things like sushi, pita wraps, vegetable sticks and dip and pita chips (pita bread baked in the oven with a little olive oil) are all ideas to try. It is also very important children stay hydrated. Water is best, or low fat dairy is also a good choice.”
My School Lunch Box owner Rae Gale says if you want to include a small treat in the lunchbox try strawberries with a chocolate dipping sauce. Rae says presentation is very important to encouraging kids to make healthy choices. “We use sandwich cutters, add stickers and use rustic twine to tie up bags – the kids love the packaging,” she says.
If you’re little ones still refuse to eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables, it might be worth considering a multivitamin. Your doctor or dietitian will be able to advise you on the best options.
From all of us at Faulding, we hope your kids have a happy and healthy start to the new school year.