If you are sending your children to school for the first time or if they are going back for another year, as a parent, you’re not doubt wondering what to pack into their lunchboxes to prepare them for learning.
The school lunchbox is difficult to maintain, because you know their taste buds get bored quickly and that what they eat during the day sets them up for success.
Studies show that a child who has had ample to eat is likely to learn more than one who is hungry – so it’s important that whatever is in the lunchbox is high in protein and low GI. High protein foods keep us fuller for longer, reducing the need for snacking a higher feeling of satiety.
Dieticians and government authorities recommend fruit, vegetables, bread – or a variation of bread, protein in the form of meat, chicken, tuna, beans, peas or dairy to be included in the lunchbox.
When preparing the lunchboxes of your kids, you will likely spend hours making different foods containing all food groups, to feed them throughout the day. It’s time consuming and requires constant thought and attention.
Then, if you run out of time, you scour the aisles of the supermarket trying to find food that is healthy, tasty and almost as nutritious as something you would make at home. There are so many options available – many including nuts, wheat, dairy, egg or any other foods the school or your family may be trying to avoid.
When buying snacks for the family, one key element to be aware of is the Five Star Health Rating. The rating is a labelling system that assesses the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns a rating as an easy way for you to compare similar packaged food. Put simply, the more stars – the healthier the food choice.
Here are some tips for the right lunchbox snacks:
- Prepare your own healthy snacks – high in protein and ones that your children already love.
- If there is little time to cook your own, investigate the health food aisle of your local supermarket for a variety of healthy snacking options.
- Check health star rating of foods in the supermarket aisle and select, for further investigation, those with a Five Star Health Rating.
- Ensure bought lunchbox snacks contain ingredients that are closest to those that you find in the pantry – avoiding additives and food colouring.
- Test them on your family before popping into the lunchbox to ensure they will be devoured throughout the day.
Whether you make everything yourself or you hand select what goes into the lunchbox, you can find the best snacks by looking for a Five Star Health Rating, assessing the nutritional information and the ingredient list of all that passes your child’s lips to ensure the content fits with their dietary requirements and school restrictions on foods while ensuring their school days are productive.