27 February 2006

School Lunches

Well it’s back to school time and the endless battle of the packed lunch begins. I always hated packed lunches and still do, but when you’ve got kids going to school, you have to do it. A healthy nutritious lunch is vital if they are going to get through the day.

It's essential to keep your child's lunch balanced with healthy snacks in order to give your child proper nutrition, and yet still be healthy and tasty.

It's important to pack a lunch that you know they will eat. A good place to start is to ask your child what they would like. Now, let’s not leave this to the last minute. Sit down with your children and plan out some ideas. Grab some recipe books. There are some great little ones available on lunches and healthy snacks. Get some ideas from these on what they like and is practical to pack. Make of list of all the sandwich fillings they like, the fruit that they like. Ideas for some healthy bars, made from dried fruits and seeds or the like. Of course you can buy some of these too, but read the ingredients first, some of them are just laden with sugar and empty calories.

As you know, kids love to have fun. The same goes for their lunches. Try to use your imagination in creating a more appealing lunch. Even just a little touch, such as cutting their sandwiches into different shapes can be more satisfying than a plain piece of bread. Bite-sized pieces of fruits and vegetables, with a tasty, healthy dip makes the healthy stuff much easier and much more fun to eat. You can even create a "build-your-own" kit, where the child can make their own sandwiches. It becomes an opportunity for your child to be free to express themselves and they will actually enjoy their lunch.

Make a week-long lunch plan. Also remind your child not to swap or trade food at school. It defeats the purpose of everything you're working for.

Make sure your child has a suitable lunch box. Especially in the Australian Summer, we can get some very hot days when the kids go back to school. Try to find a box with some sort of insulation. You can freeze some water or fruit juice in a bottle to help keep the lunch cool. Some trial may be needed here, as the condensation from the bottle can cause a soaky lunch How about a small flask? Cold drinks for summer, soups for winter.

The ideas are endless, it just takes a little imagination and planning and your child will be enjoying their school lunches without all the unhealthy snacks.