Ideas for a healthy lunch box

AS the new school term begins soon, parents have to think about healthy and exciting school lunches for their children all over again.

While parents strive to make these meals healthy, some parents often have no idea where to start.

Linda Stack, a dietician with 14 years’ experience, says that it all begins with forward planning.

“Packing lunches can sometimes be a nightmare and parents often just send the child to school with tuck money,” she said.

“When cooking supper, cook enough protein to add to the sandwich or lunch box as there is no time in the morning to cook chicken, burger patties or the like.” Stack also advises getting older children to pack their own lunch boxes.

“Make a large salad for supper and put the leftovers in a container so they can be added to sandwiches or for a salad lunch.” She says lunches have to be interesting in order to entice the child to eat. “There is nothing more boring than opening a lunch box every day that includes an apple and a sandwich with jam or peanut butter,” she said. Healthy options include a whole-wheat roll or whole-wheat or low-GI bread with lean ham, turkey, chicken, tuna, tinned fish, boiled egg, cheese and salad.
Some ideas:

• hamburger (beef, ostrich or soya) with a whole-wheat roll and salad;

• whole-wheat tortilla wrap with chicken, beef or tuna and salad;

• mini quiche, vegetable sticks with humus or cottage cheese;

• biltong sticks, jiffy bag of popcorn, health snack bar, dried fruit bar or health cereal bar; and • yoghurt, fresh or dried fruit, rice pops or vegetable chips, rice cakes, bran muffin, crunchie or digestive biscuits, nuts or trail mix.

Stack encourages school tuck shops to offer healthy meal options instead of pies, crisps and the like. “ADHD and ADD is increasing and has definitely been linked to diet. “The explosion of obesity among children is scary and parents need to put more effort into preparing healthy lunch boxes for their children. It is also much more cost effective than giving the child spending money,” she said.
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