Pack a healthy lunch your kids will love
With back to school just around the corner, Cancer Council NSW and Nutrition Australia are joining forces to help parents pack healthy lunches kids will love.
Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Lunchbox Week campaign launches this week and encourages parents and carers to rethink their kids’ lunchboxes, with the help of Cancer Council NSW’s Healthy Lunch Box website.
The website includes an interactive lunch box builder for kids and parents and there are loads of ideas for snacks, sandwich fillings and ideas for those kids who don’t like sandwiches.
Nina Tan, Senior Nutrition Project Officer at Cancer Council NSW says, “The average school child will eat more than 2,500 lunches during their 13 years at school. Packing a healthy lunch box can play a role in establishing healthy eating habits for life, “The habits kids develop when they’re young stay with them into adulthood. Healthy eating habits helps them stay a healthy weight reducing their risk of chronic diseases including cancer later in life.”
Cancer Council NSW and Nutrition Australia say that a healthy lunch box contains
something from each of the five food groups, plus water. This means some breads and cereals, meat and meat alternatives, veggies and salads, fruit, dairy and water.
“Busy parents can very easily get caught into the convenience trap, resorting to the many highly processed, packaged foods, specially marketed for kids’ lunchboxes,” Says Leanne Elliston, Nutrition Australia Accredited Practising Dietitian.
“We all love the convenience of those easy grab-and-go lunchbox items, but it comes at a cost, not only financially but also to our children’s health and the environment. With a little planning and food preparation, you can save money while providing more nutritious options for your children. Whether you’re a parent of school-age children or new to the school lunchbox world, we can all do with some help and inspiration to get us off to a good start at this time of year,” Ms Elliston continues.
Cancer Council NSW and Nutrition Australia recommend starting by rethinking the simple options, like the humble sandwich; opt for whole grain bread, rolls, or wraps and fill them with other healthy ingredients, like salad or leftover roast veggies, lean meat, cheese, and dips like hummus.
“Then think about snacks, this is a great time to include fruit and veggies in the lunch box, such as cherry tomatoes, celery sticks with cream cheese and sultanas, or salad veggies and vegetable-based dips on crispbread,” Ms Tan continues.
“Children spend one third of their day at school so their lunch box should include one third of their nutrient needs. The lunch box is a tool for setting up healthy eating habits for life, so it is really important to think about all the foods that are packed in the lunch box. Remember every little bit counts. Small steps can make a big difference”, Ms Tan concludes.
As part of Healthy Lunchbox Week, Nutrition Australia have developed a Healthy Lunchbox Week website designed as a hub for lunchbox tips, recipes, fact sheets and inspiration.