Healthy lunchbox options
Lunch is a vital part of any child’s school day as getting the correct balance of nutrients is essential for learning and development. Encourage your children to enjoy a healthy lunch at school by involving them and praise them when they choose healthy foods for their lunch box.
A lunch box filled with fatty and sugary foods does not provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for long-lasting energy. This can also be a major contributor to a child being overweight. As with adults, when children eat healthy food and maintain healthy bodies, they decrease the risks of developing health problems such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Proper nutrition is tied to a better academic performance, so children who eat unhealthy food at school are more likely to have a harder time with schoolwork.
Gert Coetzee, pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About is committed to helping parents make sure that they provide healthy lunch boxes for their children.
Here are a few hints & tips for preparing and packing healthy lunch boxes for your children:
- Fruit: The best choices would include fresh fruit like apples, bananas, peaches, plums, grapes and pears. Dried fruit bars are best left out of the lunch box because they are very high in sugar and can also cause tooth decay. Cut fruit into manageable sizes, which will make them fun and easy to eat. Fruit provides ample energy and almost every nutrient which the body needs.
- Dairy: Include a small milk drink or fruit yoghurt. These are great sources of protein, vitamin D, calcium and other important nutrients which contribute to bone growth. Avoid giving your children dairy desserts which are high in sugar.
- Bread: Try a variety of bread not packed with carbs. For example, you can try low carb options such as whole wheat slim slice bread and Blue Ribbon white bread because there’s only 7 g in each slice. Whole wheat bread has more nutrients including fibre, protein and B vitamins which are all good for the body.
- Fillings: Fillings can include tuna, avocado, peanut butter, sliced cold meats, cheese and pickles. Avoid fatty meats and chocolate spreads. Go for lean cuts, such as they are all lower in salt and fat and are better for your children than processed meats.
- Vegetables: Include vegetable sticks with a dip, avoid sweet dips. You can also try mixed veggies such as carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. Veggies are important sources of many nutrients which include vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.
- Low-sugar treats/snacks: Healthy snack treats and snacks can include biltong, sweet potato chips, cheese wedges, popcorn and trail mix.
Also, see our The Diet Everyone Talks About “Eat Slim/Eet Slim” recipe book for some healthy lunch box ideas.
For more information or if you’d like to join The Diet Everyone Talks About visit http://www.the-diet.co.za/