School is back which means the daily routine of preparing the school lunchbox begins. It’s important that children eat a variety of foods from all food groups daily and allowing them to eat to their own appetite. It is normal for children’s appetites to vary from day to day. We have put together some practical ideas on how to put together a healthy lunchbox that will ensure it comes home empty!

 Lunchbox tips:

  • Keep serves small. Plan for a nourishing breakfast and after-school snack if your child does not get through much lunch.
  • Ensure foods can be opened and eaten easily
  • Don’t worry if your child wants the same thing day after day as long as they are choosing from nourishing ‘everyday’ foods
  • Encourage your child to be involved in their own lunch preparation. Give them some great choices within food groups e.g. ‘Do you want grapes or blueberries?’
  • ‘Sometimes’ foods (cakes, biscuits, lollies, chocolate, chips, pastries) should only be offered to children as an occasional family treat, not in the lunch box
  • Limit foods and drinks high in sugar (particularly added sugar) to help prevent damage to teeth

Snack Ideas:

  • Crackers, rice cakes or corn cakes
  • Fruit or plain scones
  • Pikelets
  • Zucchini muffins
  • Fresh fruit- whole e.g. apples, bananas, strawberries, mandarins, or in container e.g. oranges, melon, kiwi, fruit, mango
  • Crunchy vegetables e.g. carrots, celery, capsicum, cucumber, green beans, corn, cherry tomatoes
  • Cold roasted vegetables e.g. potato, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, zucchini
  • Plain yoghurt (not flavoured and not pouches)
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Cubes or slices of cheese on wholegrain dry biscuits
  • Homemade muesli slice
  • Hummus dip with veggie sticks

 Lunch Ideas:

  • Include a small serve of protein (cold meat, chicken, tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, tofu, baked beans, chick peas, lentils, 4 bean mix or other canned beans)
  • Add some cooked or salad vegies according to your child’s likes and dislikes
  • Sandwich/wrap/roll (filled with lean meat/chicken/tuna/egg & salad such as grated carrot & shredded lettuce. Pack cherry tomatoes or baby cucumber on the side
  • Pizza with vegies e.g. canned corn, baby spinach, sweet potato & cheese on top
  • Fried rice/ couscous with a protein food plus chopped or grated vegies
  • Quiche (spinach and cheese pie/zucchini slice)
  • Rice or pasta salads with a protein food (meat, chicken, tuna, eggs or legumes) and salad vegies
  • Rice dishes, such as rice paper rolls, fried rice (with pork, chicken or seafood), vegetarian fried rice with egg or brown rice and vegetable bake
  • Pasta and noodle dishes with a protein food and vegies
  • English muffins (try toasted, cut into fingers and served with hummus or as a pizza base with grilled tomato and cheese on top)

 

Always provide fresh water for children to drink, it’s the best alternative.

Recipe Ideas

For some great healthy recipe ideas visit –

 

Where to find support

If you have any concerns with your child’s eating, you can speak to our Children’s team regarding our specialised ‘Feeding Clinic’. As a part of the feeding clinic service your child can be seen by a range of clinicians, including our Paediatric team of Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Dietitians as well as our Child Psychologist.

The Feeding Clinic assists children to manage a number of food related concerns including;

  • A limited food range or increasing refusal to eat
  • Anxiety and behavioural issues related to eating
  • Avoidance of certain food textures and groups
  • Difficulty managing foods or drink

For more information see Our Children’s Feeding Clinic – Carrington Health or contact us on 9890 2220 and speak to one of our friendly receptionists.