Healthy, home-made school lunches

Childhood obesity is one of the top health concerns today and good eating habits start in the home. Packed lunches are a great way to encourage good eating habits. A healthy home-made lunch will help give your child have enough energy to stay alert throughout the school day.

Healthy home-made lunch that kids will love

To prepare your children for all the options they'll face at school – from offerings in the cafeteria lunch line to vending machines and school dinners – remember that good eating habits start at home.

Here are some tips to help you prepare a packed lunch your child will love

  1. Start off right
    The first step to a healthy lunch is a balanced breakfast. Eating breakfast will help kids focus on their lessons and keep them from being ravenous by lunchtime. Even a bowl of wholemeal cereal, porridge or eggs and some fruit will do. 
  2. Keep it fun
    Healthy lunches are more appealing to the appetite when they’re appealing to the eye. Try cutting a turkey, chicken or tuna sandwich into shapes with a cookie-cutter for the little ones. Offer wraps made with whole wheat pitta bread. A cold salad of pasta, lean chicken or turkey, colourful and crunchy veggies fits lots of food groups into lunch in a fun way.
  3. Keep it cold
    That healthy sandwich could go uneaten if it’s wilted by lunchtime. Try thermal-lined lunch boxes with a freezer pack. Or, freeze a box of milk, small bottle of water or juice to include in the lunch box – they’ll melt by meal time and keep the other food cold.
  4. Keep healthy snacks at hand
    Help your child ward off hunger until lunchtime with tasty good-for-you snacks. You could include chopped up fruit, flapjacks, peanut butter spread on celery, cereal, and trail mixes packed with healthy nuts and seeds. Though do check your school's nut policy before you send snacks in - some don't allow any nut products because of allergies.
  5. Keep it easy
    Fruits and vegetables are more likely to be eaten when they’re bite-sized. Cut up large fruit, especially for children who are loosing teeth.
  6. Keep some ‘splurges’ in the mix
    Every kid is going to want sweet food sometimes – and it's fine in moderation. Again be aware of your school's lunch box policy, as many don't allow chocolate or cakes.

Aim to serve up a balance of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, calcium-rich dairy foods and whole grains. Get children involved if you want them to learn healthy habits. Ask them to help put together their lunches.

Let your child make some of the choices the next time you’re browsing the supermarket. Getting your child involved in these healthy choices will help them feel more in control of what ends up in their lunchbox and therefor emore likely to eat it.

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