Tips for preparing and packing healthy school lunch boxes
A lunch box filled with fatty and sugary foods does not provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for long lasting energy. This can also be a major contributor to a child being overweight. Proper nutrition is tied to better academic performance.
Pharmacist and founder of The Diet Everyone Talks About, Gert Coetzee suggests the following when packing your little one’s school lunch box.
Fruit: Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, peaches, plums, grapes and pears are best. Avoid including dried fruit bars in your child’s lunch box as they have no nutritional value and are very high in sugar. Cut your little one’s fruit into manageable sizes, which will make them fun and easy to eat. Fruit provides ample energy and almost every nutrient which the body needs.
Dairy: Include a small milk drink or fruit yoghurt. These are great sources of protein, vitamin D, calcium and other important nutrients which contribute to bone growth. Avoid giving your children dairy desserts which are high in sugar.
Bread: Try a variety of low carb bread options such as whole wheat slim slice bread and Blue Ribbon white bread because there’s only 7g in each slice. Whole wheat bread has more nutrients including fibre, protein and B vitamins which are all good for the body.
Fillings: Fillings can include tuna, avocado, peanut butter, sliced cold meats, cheese and pickles. Avoid fatty meats and chocolate spreads. Go for lean cuts, as they are all lower in salt and fat and are better for your children than processed meats.
Vegetables: Include vegetable sticks with a dip, but avoid sweet dips. You can also try mixed veggies such as carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. Veggies are important sources of many nutrients which include vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.
Low-sugar treats/snacks: Healthy treats and snacks can include biltong, sweet potato chips, cheese wedges, popcorn and trail mix.