Yep, the much-anticipated July holidays seem to have flown by and it’s time to get ready to start the school run once again!
It’s back to school for the third term and our little fuss-monsters are secretly gearing up to object to/trade/or outright discard lunches. Nothing more disappointing than refilling your child’s lunchbox in the morning only to discover that he barely touched the food from the day before, don’t you think?
In the mad rush of mornings, getting the family up, dressed, fed and out the door, the packed lunch often takes a back seat. Does a sandwich, an apple and a box of juice sound familiar? Yeah, the classic packed lunch, and boy is it boring! For kids, boring means one thing: not eaten.
We’re all aware of packing nutritious, healthy food to keep concentration levels high and hyperactivity (often caused by sugar during break time) low. While families may serve healthy meals at home, school lunch boxes are often filled with junk food lacking brain boosting vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. An Oxford university study revealed that junk and processed foods can lead to bad behaviour and learning difficulties.
Children need balanced meals that include protein, wholegrains, complex carbs, good fats, fruit and vegetables. Yes, even in their lunch boxes!
But seriously, can you envisage your child happily trotting off to school with a box of sprouting mung beans! Healthy? Yes. Inviting? No. So, how do you set them up for success and keep them going until the last bell rings?
Just like you, your kids eat with their eyes and with a bit of effort, lunch boxes can be healthy, fun and delicious!
First of all, bump up the colour. Increase the “wow factor” by adding all-natural foods such as carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, cherry tomatoes or strawberries. Be a little goofy and skewer these, use toothpicks for cheese, or add a tasty dip or hummus, so fun! Have fun with shapes. Replace peanut butter with almond butter and cut the sandwich into shapes with a cookie cutter, or cut a wholegrain wrap filled with coleslaw and tuna into bite-size wheels. Add a few wholegrain crackers with some unexpected sweetness – maybe a tiny container with some honey? Must be easy to eat. Though you might not mind peeling an orange, your child certainly will! Sugar snap peas or fruit and veggies cut into manageable matchsticks are easier to eat. Offer variety. Pack at least 3 different types of food every day. Think of it as a meal on a plate. Protein, carbs, fresh produce and a wholesome treat on the side. A delicious, easy to make oats cookie could sweeten the deal. Get creative with what’s available. Make dinners with lunches in mind. Left over spaghetti or chicken stir fry? Yum! It’s a total time saver. Roast chicken can be turned into sarmies and wholegrain pasta into salads. Use olive oil in the salad dressing, or maybe a yogurt dressing for that extra calcium punch. Give them options. No this doesn’t mean free reign. The choice between a tuna salad sandwich or an almond butter sandwich could mean having something to eat or nothing at all.
So, mom and dad, up your game and get creative with lunchboxes this term. Busy kids need plenty of fuel to keep their bodies and minds going!
Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com, inhabitat.com, www.parenting.com, www.womansday.com, donvalemeec.org, www.you.co.za, www.urbanmommies.com, el-observador.com, health.wyo.gov, www.thedatingdivas.com, www.parent24.com, www.momtastic.com, amomwithalessonplan.com, www.theorganickitchen.org