School Lunch Boxes

November 12, 2012

School Lunch Boxes

School lunches are now legislated for in schools, the amount of fruit and vegetables that must be present is defined by government. All with the aim of ensuring that children get ample quantities of the correct nutrients. However pack lunches, the ones that mums and dads all over the country prepare are uncontrolled. So how can we make sure that the lunchbox provides a balanced diet?

What to put in the lunchbox

A balanced diet for a child is similar to that of an adult. This means that fruit and vegetables must be present, along with dairy produce, some protein and starchy food. To satisfy the 5 a Day campaign put in one portion of fruit or vegetable, this can replace a sweet snack. Some semi skimmed milk or a low fat yoghurt are good dairy foods. Perhaps make a cottage cheese sandwich with salad. That way you are providing starchy food in the form of bread, wholemeal is best. The salad can take care of the fruit and vegetable requirements and the cottage cheese is dairy produce. Put a slice of ham or a sliced egg in and then the protein is taken care of too.

Just remember that tomorrow will probably have to be different, children bore easily. Tomorrow may be a home made fruit salad with no added sugar, a wholemeal roll and boiled egg and a carton of semi skimmed milk or fruit juice (no added sugar). Again served without the sweet or savoury snacks. Changing the types of bread is an easy way to stop boredom creeping in. Bagels, pitta bread, baguettes or crusty rolls are all easy options. Fruit is easy to change too. For dairy produce the different types of milk and cheeses available should not pose any problems either, just remember that if your child wants spread to put it on as thinly as you can get away with.

When the lunchbox comes home empty then always praise your child for eating the right things.

Making the change

Many mums and dads are wondering how they can get their children to eat a healthy lunch box. How can fresh fruit compete with multi national food manufacturers advertising processed food and sweets? The answer to this is that you must keep on trying. If you persevere then the children will get used to it, even if not 100% successful, it’s a step in the right direction. Introduce more selections at home, always try to meet the 5 a Day guidelines. Still give chocolate, but make it a special treat now and keep reading the nutritional labels to ensure that you are buying healthy food.

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