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It’s nearly time to start to think about the end of holidays and the return to school (and work).
Unfortunately this time of new starts can also bring the challenge of beating the lunch box blues, as parents scramble for ideas to meet the seemingly endless task of preparing school (and work) lunch boxes.
But stress not, Connect Health & Community’s dietitians offer ten tips to help put the love back into healthy weekday lunches.
1. Plan meals and snacks ahead of time. Know what meals and snacks you are preparing for the week. This can take the stress out of packing lunches each day and prevent having to purchase last minute foods that may be less nutritious;
2. Make your own snacks. Savoury muffins, muesli bars and bliss balls are easy to whip up on a Sunday afternoon, often with ingredients you already have;
3. Get the kids involved. Children who are involved in meal planning, preparation and cooking are more likely to have a varied diet;
4. Shop in season – particularly fruit and vegetables. This will save you money and the fruit and vegetables will taste nicer;
5. Keep fruit and vegetables cool during warmer months by placing an ice pack in their lunchbox;
6. Try to include one food from each of the five food groups in your child’s lunchbox each day;
7. Only include water as a drink – soft drink, cordial, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavoured milk and even fruit juices are all full of added sugar;
8. Remember to re-offer foods that children have previously not liked, as our taste preferences change over time;
9. Avoid making assumptions about what your child will and won’t eat – always offer a variety of foods in many different ways. Our kids often surprise us with what they want to eat.
Remember to be a good role model – children are more likely to eat different food if they see a parent or caregiver eating the same fare; and
10. Remember to check your school’s policy on bringing certain foods that may be an allergy risk.
Happy planning and bon appetit!
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