School is back! Here are Karina’s top tips for a supercharged lunch box!
And just like that, the holidays are over and we slowly but surely move towards another action-packed year! As parents we are often caught in the middle between “what is healthy” and “what our children will eat”.
Kids have their own taste preferences just like us adults – so we do need to respect that. There is a point however where we have to draw the “line in the sand”. Research tells us that children need to be regularly exposed to nutrient dense plant foods (think fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes) – this will gradually increase their acceptance of these foods, although it does take time.
As a mum, I feel like I always need a constant supply of new ideas for healthy lunch boxes. Let’s face it, our kids won’t always eat it, but don’t give up, just keep mixing it up and remember, we are all in the same boat!
Here are 3 groups to include daily in the lunch box:
Try to move them over to grainy wherever possible as these foods have a much better effect on their blood sugar levels. Grainy bread, wholegrain wraps, sweet potato wraps, grainy crackers eg. Ryvita’s/Vitawheat, high fibre or wholemeal pasta, brown/black/wild rice or basmati rice, baked potatoes, sweet potato wedges, English muffins (wholemeal). Other “snack” additions include sweet potato crisps (oven dried), dry Weetbix, dry Sultana Bran /Buds or All Bran, air popped popcorn, wholemeal fruit muffins, banana bread or bliss balls (recipes can be found at www.smartbite.com.au).
Shredded chicken, lean meat, hommus, boiled egg (whole or mashed with mayonnaise), quiche, leftover Bolognese or meatballs, tuna, tofu, baked beans, tinned 4 bean mix, edamame beans, dried chickpeas or fava beans, milk, yoghurt, cheese.
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, tinned fruit, chopped carrot, sugar snap peas, cucumber, snow peas, capsicum with dip (such as hommus, nut free pesto, beetroot, tzatziki), frozen peas, baby corn, corn on cob, vegie patties, roasted capsicum (jar is fine), olives (try green vs black), gherkins or cornichons, cherry tomatoes, edamame, dried chickpeas or fava beans, baby spinach/rocket (with extra virgin olive oil/vinegar dressing)
Calcium and good fats are also a very important part of a child’s daily intake. Whether it’s in the lunch box or at home, try to include some of these foods:
Calcium rich foods include milk, yoghurt, cheese, canned fish (sardines, salmon with bones), soy products and leafy greens such as kale and bok choy, broccoli, lentils and sesame seeds.
Good sources of healthy fats include avocado, salmon, sardines, seeds, nuts (at home) and extra virgin olive oil – used as a dressing or in cooking.