Healthy ap­petite

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE -

WITH one in four Aus­tralians con­sid­ered over­weight or obese, a di­eti­cian has pro­vided tips on the health­i­est foods to put into school lunch­boxes to help par­ents curb the trend.

WITH one in four Aus­tralian chil­dren now con­sid­ered over­weight or obese, a lead­ing di­eti­cian has come up with some use­ful tips about what foods to put in the lunch­box and what to leave out.

Di­eti­cian Ana Gowrea from the South Metropoli­tan Pop­u­la­tion Health Unit said it was im­por­tant for chil­dren to have a va­ri­ety of healthy food, which gave them the nutri­tion they needed to grow, de­velop and con­cen­trate.

“Par­ents and car­ers will pack more than 2500 lunch­boxes over the course of a child’s school years,” she said.

“Choos­ing items from each of the five food groups (veg­eta­bles and legumes, fruit, grain, lean meats and di­ary) will give chil­dren all the nutri­tion they need to play and to learn.”

Mrs Gowrea said sim­ply, healthy school lunch op­tions in­clude a sand­wich/wrap or main meal with a source of pro­tein and salad, a piece of fruit or sliced veg­eta­bles, dairy or whole­grain snacks and a bot­tle of wa­ter.

“All lunch­boxes should con­tain at least one serve of fruit and one serve of veg­eta­bles.

“Breads and ce­re­als should be whole­grain as th­ese help stu­dents get the slow re­lease of en­ergy they need through­out the day.”

Avoid pack­aged and pro­cessed foods such as bis­cuits, chips, lol­lies, choco­late, muesli bars and soft drinks, which are high in fat, added sugar and salt and low in fi­bre.

Mrs Gowrea said break­fast was still con­sid­ered the most im­por­tant meal of the day. Sci­en­tific ev­i­dence linked break­fast con­sump­tion with im- proved nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy skills.

“Chil­dren who don’t get enough to eat at the start of the day are more likely to make poor food choices for the rest of the day and in the long term,” Mrs Gowrea said.

Af­ter school, par­ents should re­sist the temp­ta­tion to hand out small por­tions of highly pro­cessed foods as th­ese will only keep chil­dren sat­is­fied for a lim­ited time. Re­place the bis­cuits and crisps with a piece of fruit, smoothie, fruit toast, yo­ghurt or cheese, dried fruit, nuts and seeds or cheese/cold meat and whole­grain crack­ers.

For more ideas visit the Aus­tralian Guide to Healthy Eat­ing at­forhealth.­lines/aus­tralian -guide-healthy-eat­ing or the Livelighter and the WA School Can­teen As­so­ci­a­tion web­sites.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d444966

Ana Gowrea gives the thumbs down to sug­ary soft drinks and a tick for fresh fruit.

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