Lunch boxes come in many shapes and sizes and in the past 15 years, I have seen big changes in what’s inside a lunchbox.
Many years ago a lunch box would have a sandwich, a piece of fruit and piece of homemade cake or a homemade muffin.
These days we see many more individually packaged items in the lunch box which often means highly processed food.
🍱Whenever I see a beautiful bento lunchbox filled with fruit 🍉🍇🍏 and veggie sticks 🥕🥒and dip and homemade baked goods I congratulate the parent and child for being aware that food matters. 👏
A lunchbox full of packaged and processed food is common for two reasons. 🍫1. Convenience 🍩2. Awareness
Convenience: parents are exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed and buying bags of food that are all ready to throw in a lunchbox is an appealing option.
Awareness: I hear from so many parents these foods aren’t hurting their child. That it’s a child’s right to eat junk food. Or that the packet says ‘no artificial colours’ so it must be good. A little bit of sugar never hurt anyone, is another common one. Some parents just don’t realise the effect that this food has on their child.
Food affects mood, the children whose lunch boxes are filled with sugary, processed packages are the children who have challenges with transitions, socialising, problem solving, working memory, emotional regulation and engagement in activities.
So what would an ideal lunchbox look like?
I like to look at a lunch box the same way I look at a meal.
50% vegetables and fruit 20% protein 25% whole grains 5% fats and oils
There are many great ways to make your lunch box fit into this nutritional guideline and in my one hour workshop I’ll give you ideas and recipes that you can take home and use.
Being aware of what is in the food and where it came from is all important in selecting what goes into your child’s lunchbox.
Not all packages are created equal and there are certainly some great convenience foods that can be used in a lunch box. At the same time, a lunchbox that is both good for your child, the environment and the budget is what we should be aiming for.
Getting the balance of nutrition right means that your child will eat less volume as they get more nutrients.
Planning for the week ahead is also a great way to keep the stress out of packing lunchboxes and if you really want your child to learn how to look after their body, get them involved in packing their lunch boxes. Lunch boxes can be healthy and simple to pack.
Here is an example of a lunch box:
carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, capsicum strips with hummus
apple with nut butter or coconut, grapes
leftover chicken, peas, rice with sesame oil and soy sauce
For more info on lunch box ideas contact me via Facebook
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