Guess what percentage of primary school packed lunches meet the nutritional standards set for school nurseries…
What did you think 20, 40, 60 percent?
Well you’re wrong. According to a research carried out on behalf of the British Medical Journal it was actually 1%, I’ll spell that out ONE PERCENT!!
It get’s worse, only 1 in 10 children had one portion of any vegetable, while 27% contained sweets, crisps and sugar filled drinks.
With these astonishing figures I thought I’d hunt down the perfect packed lunch and share it with you not the actual food, but what should be going in your child’s lunchbox!
Ingredients For A Perfect Packed Lunch
To begin with kids need carbs. Carbohydrates provide a great source of slow releasing energy that will help your child get through the afternoon. Wholegrain or granary bread are ideal for sandwiches, if this doesn’t appeal, try pitta, bagels or wraps with wholemeal content.
Mix it Up…
It doesn’t have to be sandwiches. Pasta, potatoes and rice are a great source of carbs. Make a pasta or rice salad the night before add in their favourite veggies and in the morning just add a little dressing, perfect!
Protein is as important in a balanced diet as carbs as they help the bodies cells to regenerate. There is so much to choose from here, so your little one will never get bored. Lean meat, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and cheese are all great healthy additions to the lunchbox whether in a sandwich or on their own.
With the choice available don’t just stick to an apple or a banana, go tropical with pineapple, melon, mango swell as grapes and berries. Fruit is the perfect way to get your kids to get their 5 a day while also getting their sugar fix!
What to Drink
It is a proven fact that anyone suffering dehydration struggles to concentrate, so it is important that your child has plenty of fluids available. Water and Juice are they obvious choice, but vary that with unsweetened fruit juices, checking to see that the drink actually contains “juice”!
Check Those Labels
The food industry target the lunchbox market, but before you buy check the label for sugar and fat content. Some cereal bars can contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar, as can yoghurts and fruit strips. If it contains no more than 5g of sugar per 100g it is considered low in sugar. Avoid any product that contains 15g of sugar or more.
The Occasional Treat?
Yes! There’s nothing wrong with a treat now and again, but not just a chocolate bar every time, be a little imaginative, flapjacks, muffins or fruit loaf are tasty options.
Try not to get into a kerfuffle over your child’s lunchbox, plan ahead deciding what to put in it at the weekend, then you will have a list and all the ingredients to work with.
Their really is no excuse not to produce a healthy lunch for your children and hopefully this post will help you on your way. Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries are fully committed to preparing and serving high quality, nutritious meals and our staff are always on hand to offer any advice you might need.
Eat Healthy – Be Healthy!