Are Your Kids Eating Right?
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Are Your Kids Eating Right?How to pack a healthy lunchbox.
Amanda Ursell More by this author
Creating a healthy lunchbox day in and day out is a daunting task. Using this five-point template can help to ensure that you are getting the nutrition right while appealing to your children’s tastes.
- Carbohydrates for energy: Homemade pasta, brown rice, couscous and bulgar wheat salads are good carbohydrate options for packed lunches and can be made with or without salt. You can also include wholemeal tortilla wraps and mini wholemeal pitas.
- Protein for growing bodies: Chicken, turkey and lean beef that you have roasted at home can be added to pasta and rice salads. This will help you control the salt when making sandwiches, wraps, and pitas. Salmon and tuna canned in olive oil are also ideal. Great vegetarian options include chickpeas or red kidney beans added to pasta salads as well as servings of hummus or a pureed down, bean-packed winter soup.
- Dairy for strong bones: Try adding a matchbox-sized chunk of cheddar or Edam cheese or yogurt to your child’s lunchbox. Remember that even plain yogurts have 7g of sugar per 100g which comes from the milk sugar lactose. So you’ll need to subtract these figures from the quantity of total sugars on the nutrition labeling to get a fair idea of the added sugar content. Try packing plain yogurt and sending along fresh fruits like chopped grapes to be added by your children. Sesame seeds are also very rich in calcium and can be incorporated into salads and mixed into sandwich fillings.
- Fruit and vegetables: You can include obvious ones such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber sticks, and grapes that count toward your child’s daily requirement. Others may include adding sweet corn to tuna as a sandwich filling, adding salad in a pita or wrap, and adding vegetables in winter soups.
- Drinks: Include water, diluted orange juice or occasionally a small fruit smoothie. One 250ml smoothie or a 200ml carton of fruit juice counts toward your child’s daily requirement of “five a day.”