Across the school year in 2017, over 500 million school lunches will be packed.
Naturally, many parents will be on the look out for some inspiration to make sure snacks and meals don’t come home uneaten.
Nutritionist Kathleen Alleaumeauthor, mother and LCM spokesperson is facing her first school year of lunchboxes with her eldest child. She’s looking to apply a bit of her own advice to keep that lunchbox returning home empty each day.
“The ideal lunch box should hold enough food to fulfil a child’s energy and nutritional needs while at school and give them enough energy to learn, concentrate and play. For most primary school-aged kids, this means a few portion-controlled snacks, as well as a healthy, varied lunch and water,” she said.
Kathleen’s top six lunchbox tips:
Involve your child. Encouraging kids to be a part of the preparing, choosing and packing will not only make them more likely to eat their lunch but may also excite them to try something new.
Make it fun. With a little creativity, food can be healthy and fun at the same time. Doing so also brings a sense of enjoyment to eating.
Make a snack-inspired lunch. Children have small stomachs and prefer to graze, rather than eat fewer, bigger meals. Try making lunch in a ‘bento box’ style that contains smaller portions so that children can eat a wider variety, including different flavours, taste and textures.
Be flexible. Agree to include a treat from time to time, as long as that goody is portion controlled and eaten along with a healthy and balanced meal.
Be practical. Young kids, in particular, want to eat quickly in order to play, so stuffing around with cumbersome wrappers and large portions will only mean half (if any) gets eaten. Make sure the foods are manageable and easy to eat. Remove unnecessary wrappers and chop and slice food wherever possible.
Plan ahead. Make ahead what you can so you can streamline the packing process (e.g. savoury muffins, frittatas, hard-boiled eggs, chopped fruit and vegetables). Dedicate some time each week to plan and prepare, making it quick and easy for children to choose during the morning rush hour.