The Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) is encouraging parents to pack healthy lunch boxes for their children as they return to school for another year.
Nine out of 10 children on the Mid North Coast don’t eat the recommended serves of vegetables, while 24 per cent don’t eat the recommended serves of fruit, according to the latest health statistics available on the HealthStats NSW website.
MNCLHD Dietitian and Health Promotion Officer Richard Ball said children should try to eat fruit and vegetables, which includes salad, throughout the day rather than relying on dinnertime.
“Kindergarten children have many years of school ahead of them so the contents of their school lunch box each day can have a big impact on their health,” Mr Ball said.
“Packing lunch boxes full of healthy fruit and vegetables is a great way parents can ensure children get the nutrients they need while teaching them healthy habits for life.
“Try to pack foods from a variety of food groups to ensure your child’s diet is healthy, nutritious and above all else enjoyable,” Mr Ball said.
“Involve your child in the process by asking them what they like to eat during the school day, asking them to help you shop for healthy lunchbox foods and by encouraging them to make or prepare their own lunchbox.”
Sandwiches or alternatives could include wholemeal and wholegrain breads or crackers with various fillings like salads, cheese, egg, shaved meats, tinned tuna and baked beans.
Savoury muffins can be a good option, or try a combination of hard-boiled eggs, salad, cheese and some cold meats.
Left over dinners such as pasta or mini quiches can be a tasty option.
Fruit and vegetable snacks for the lunchbox could include a small piece of whole fruit or fruit cut into small pieces, fresh crunchy carrots, capsicum, celery, beans or cooked corn.
If using prepackaged fruit make sure it’s 100 per cent fruit and in natural juice.
Some healthy snack options are pikelets, scones, pancakes or a slice of homemade banana bread or fruit loaf, low fat yoghurt, vegetable snacks like cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, peas in their pods, celery, snow peas with a small tub of hummus, a small homemade savoury or sweet muffin or cubes of cheese with crackers.
Do you struggle to come up with different and healthy lunchtime alternatives for your children’s school lunchboxes?
The Mid North Coast Local Health District has provided some excellent ideas for a healthier lunchbox.
There is plenty of variety, it’s all healthy and, in a bonus, it will also provide your children with something that tastes good and is also good for them.
More great lunchbox ideas are available at www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au