Fun and healthy lunch ideas

2016-01-05 06:00

WITH the Christmas holidays over and school having begun for 2016, how can you ensure that your child has the energy to get through each day while maintaining concentration and a healthy diet?

You should have two goals when packing your child’s school lunch box: nutrition and fun.

However, packing a healthy lunch box is one thing; getting your child to eat its contents is another matter altogether.

Eating fats and sugars in moderation, and consuming plenty of vegetables and fruits will reduce your child’s chances of heart disease, cancer and stroke later in life, according to research.

Try these tips for healthy lunch boxes:

When buying dairy products for your child, choose low-fat variants.

If your child is allergic to dairy products, look out for soya or dairy-free products.

Instead of ham, salami or corned beef, try low-fat alternatives such as turkey or chicken.

Always pack at least one serving of fruit in your child’s lunch box.

Buy different types of fruit so your child has a variety to choose from.

Sneak vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, tomato, green pepper and roasted peppers onto their sandwiches.

Use whole-wheat or brown bread instead of white.

Limit cookies, pastries and sweets. Pastries are extremely high in sugar and unhealthy saturated fat.

Low-fat crackers are a much healthier addition to your child’s lunch box than a packet of crisps.

Make eating lunch a fun experience for your child.

Make food look interesting and appetising and pack a little surprise as well.

Surprises need not be sweet and sugary.

Keep a range of inexpensive but colourful lunch boxes so that your child has a range of fun boxes from which to choose.

Brightly coloured plastic eating utensils and cartoon napkins are guaranteed to brighten up a day.

If bread is too boring for your little one, try other options such as pancakes, scones, rolls or muffins (buy them ready made or make them in advance and freeze).

A pancake filled with peanut butter is much more exciting than a peanut-butter sandwich.

Also try bagels, pita breads, rotis and tortillas.

Buy little plastic containers (such as plastic jelly moulds) in which to serve yoghurt or jelly.

They are much more fun than ordinary ones.

- Supplied

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