What’s in the box?
IT’S the dreaded question that hangs over most evenings – or early mornings if you dare risk it – what to make for lunch?! Lucinda Lourens from the Association for Dietetics in South Africa offers these handy tips: School Lunch Pack Tips
SANDWICH fillers that balance health aspects and still manage to attract the taste buds of fussy eaters aka children.
Thinly sliced leftover meat, chicken or turkey
Tuna/chicken/egg and light mayonnaise
Sugar-free peanut butter or nut butters Lean minced meat Liver/fish spread
Add ons: avocados, tomatoes, greens (baby spinach, lettuce or cabbage), cucumber, gherkins, low-fat cheese, lean soft biltong and lean bacon.
The healthiest type of bread:
Low GI seeded bread/buns; Wholegrain or multi-seed wraps/pitas; Gluten- and wheat-free options should only be given to children with a true allergy or intolerance;
Home-made breads are great – especially if you make use of stoneground flour, nuts and seeds to keep the GI low.
Water (always) Home-made ice tea
Low-fat unflavoured, sugar-free milk Diluted 100% fruit juice (¼juice, ¾water)
Healthy snacks to include in the lunch box:
Unsalted mixed nuts
Low-fat yoghurt or custard
Lean meat and vegetable balls Wholegrain home-made muffins Fruit and/or vegetable smoothie Home-made banana and nut bread Fruit salad with light custard or low fat yoghurt
Mini-wholegrain pita or wrap with vegetable and protein (cheese, chicken or meat) filling
Lean biltong, ostrich or game with cottage cheese dip
Provita or wholegrain crackers with a low-fat/sugar-free spread
Raw veggies (carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes and baby corn) with a dip (light mayonnaise, sugar-free peanut butter or hummus)
Helpful tips for lunch box planning/ shopping:
The five golden rules for a healthy school lunch box are variety, balance, colourful, fresh and fun.
Use a lunch box with dividers to pack the lunch and snack in creative ways. It will also display food more attractively.
Make them feel special… write a short note or put a picture of their favourite superhero or a family photo in their lunch box.
Put your child’s name on it to make them feel important.
Resist giving your child money to spend at the school cafeteria.
Keep it interesting: cut out the sandwich into a heart shape or assemble the fruit into the shape of a flower.
Put fruit and vegetable pieces on to skewers to make kebabs.
Surprise him/her with a treat once in a while. A chocolate or cupcake will remind them that treats can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Plan ahead. Take time to plan each lunch box. Remember you are investing in your child’s health and well-being and should never compromise on that.
An assortment of shapes, a splash of colourful foods and occasional special surprises – like a love note or a cupcake – will go a long way in helping pack your child a nutritional, yet interest-grabbing lunch box.