Preparing a healthy lunchbox for your child

Hey moms! Use this guide to prepare the most nutritious and delicious lunchbox for your growing child!

 Giving your kids healthy lunchbox choices, you are helping them on the road to good health.

Looking for an easy way to boost your child’s nutritional intake and help them make healthy eating choices? Look no further than their school lunchbox! According to the World Health Organisation, more than 40 million children worldwide under the age of five years are overweight. These children are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and self-esteem issues as well as long-term health problems. It’s difficult to convince a child that fruit is better than biscuits or a bag of chips, but if you reach for a peach instead of a bag of chips, your child will eventually follow your lead. By teaching your kids to make healthy choices, you are actually offering them a valuable life skill.

Tips to help you get started

  • Aim to pack a healthy lunchbox for your child every day.
  • Make tuckshop buys a treat only and limited to once or twice a month.
  • Limit your child’s salt intake as salt retains water.
  • Limit your child’s sugar intake. When children consume large amounts of sugar they are at an increased risk of unhealthy weight gain and more likely to develop dental cavities and tooth decay.
  • Make sure your little one has plenty of water to drink during the day. Your body can’t function properly without water and if your little one doesn’t drink enough of it, he or she can become dehydrated.
  • Offer frozen yoghurt or a smoothie instead of ice-cream as they are lower in fat.
  • Always offer baked or grilled food instead of anything fried as baked foods contain a lot less fat.
  • Encourage your children to get active and sign them up for after school activities.

Nestlé healthy lunchbox preparation guide 

Here are a few suggestions on what to include in your child’s school lunchbox:

LEAN PROTEIN: Fish, chicken, lean meat, or eggs can be eaten daily. Include 1 slice or 3 tablespoons of grated cheese, a boiled egg, 1/2 cup of tuna, or even 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on their sandwiches.

REDUCED FAT DAIRY: Use milk and milk products with little or no added sugar. Try adding a 100g tub of low fat yoghurt or 250ml flavoured milk or Milo to their lunchboxes.

VEGETABLES AND FRUIT: Make sure your child is eating vegetables and fruit every day. Add 1 small apple, a handful of grapes, a pear or banana, or 1/2 cup of salad or a peeled carrot. Vegetables and fruit are rich sources of vitamins and minerals and have many health benefits.

NUTRITIOUS SNACKS: Snacks are to be eaten between meals to regulate appetite. These can include 30g of peanut and raisin mix, 2 cups of popcorn, or 2 pieces of dried fruit.

Remember, a healthy lunch is only beneficial if it’s eaten! If your child is coming home with an untouched lunchbox, ask yourself:

  • Is it the lunchbox? Some children prefer paper bags or wax paper, some prefer cooler bags.
  • Is the lunch boring? Try to pack a different lunch each day.
  • Is it too much? Portion sizes may be too big. For younger children consider giving half a sandwich or cut it into smaller, sizes.
  • Is it the texture? Often children don’t like the skin on their apples or don’t like sticky hands after peeling an orange.

WATER: Ensure your child is getting their 6 – 8 glasses of water a day. In the hot summer months or after sport, give them an extra glass or 2 to replace fluids lost during physical activity. Water is the most important nutrient in the body

TREAT: You can add bite-sized chocolate or a small packet of potato chips to their lunchboxes occasionally.

STARCHY FOODS: Make starchy foods part of most meals 2 slices of wholewheat bread, a seeded roll, 3/4 cup of pasta, or 6 wholewheat crackers as the base of daily lunch.

Top tip: Always wash and dry lunchboxes after use to keep them safe and clean. 

*Download your free Nestlé healthy lunchbox preparation guide here.