Ex­pert tips on school lunch­boxes

Wanneroo Weekender - - Front Page -

THE Ori­gins Project, a col­lab­o­ra­tion led by Telethon Kids In­sti­tute and the Joon­dalup Health Cam­pus, is a long-term study into the health and de­vel­op­ment of 10,000 chil­dren born at the Joon­dalup Health Cam­pus over the next few years. In this reg­u­lar se­ries, we fea­ture an Ori­gins re­searcher ex­plain­ing the project’s re­search or health is­sues that mat­ter to par­ents and fam­i­lies.

As a new school term is about to start I’m sure many of you are think­ing about pack­ing your chil­dren’s school lunch­boxes.

You may be find­ing that pack­ing your child’s lunch­box is get­ting more dif­fi­cult and frus­trat­ing due to healthy lunch­box poli­cies be­ing in­tro­duced in schools across WA.

A healthy lunch­box is im­por­tant, as it pro­vides the fuel for your child to get through their day of learn­ing and play.

Lunch­boxes should con­tain about one-third of a child’s food for the day. A lunch­box full of high-sugar prod­ucts can have an im­pact on a child’s learn­ing ca­pac­ity inside the class­room.

The per­fect school lunch­box has each of the five main food groups: veg­eta­bles, fruit, breads and ce­re­als, dairy and pro­teins.

What does this ac­tu­ally look like? Your healthy lunch­box may be made up of a whole­meal chicken wrap, an ap­ple, car­rot and cu­cum­ber sticks, a small tub of low-fat yo­ghurt, and a wa­ter bot­tle.

A frozen wa­ter bot­tle or ice bricks can be used to help keep food cool.

In WA, many pri­mary schools fol­low the ‘traf­fic light’ pol­icy, which cat­e­gorises food and drinks as green (good sources of nu­tri­ents, less sat­u­rated fat and/or added sugar and/or salt, help avoid an ex­cess in­take of en­ergy), am­ber (some nu­tri­tional value, mod­er­ate lev­els of sat­u­rated fat and/or added sugar and/or salt and can, in large serves, con­trib­ute ex­cess en­ergy), or red (lack­ing ad­e­quate nu­tri­tional value, high in sat­u­rated fat and/or added sugar and/or salt, can con­trib­ute ex­cess en­ergy).

Sim­ple swaps can be made to school lunch­boxes to fit traf­fic light cri­te­ria:

Swap fruit box for plain wa­ter

Swap muesli bars for a piece of fruit

Swap sweet­ened, flavoured yo­ghurt for plain yo­ghurt with fresh fruit.

The healthy lunch­box web­site de­vel­oped by Can­cer Coun­cil NSW in part­ner­ship with OUT­RUN Can­cer has lots of great in­for­ma­tion and pic­tures of healthy lunch­boxes.

Telethon Kids In­sti­tute di­eti­tian Sarah Wha­lan.

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