Giving kids a great start

Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School prep children Jack Baker and Lily Richardson enjoying a healthy lunch at school.
Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School prep children Jack Baker and Lily Richardson enjoying a healthy lunch at school. Sarah Harvey

THE benefits of healthy school lunches have been spruiked for many years, but living a busy lifestyle can make it hard to find the time to go the extra mile.

But filling a lunch box with nutritious nibbles isn't the time-consuming task parents may perceive it to be.

West Moreton Health Service District dietician Amanda McCartney said good nutrition was vital for growing bodies but acknowledged busy parents could do with some inspiration.

"Most of us are time-poor and this can lead to parents resorting to highly processed food that can be high in added saturated fat, salt and sugar and low in vital nutrients," Ms McCartney said.

"It can be easy to forget kids need up to two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables a day."

She said with a bit of time management a healthy lunch did not necessarily mean slaving away in the kitchen.

"With a bit of planning it's easy to fill up your kid's lunch box with healthy food and avoid less healthy highly processed food."

Among the healthy snacks Ms McCartney recommends are corn on the cob, plenty of salad on sandwiches to fill them up, roast vegetables with yoghurt dipping sauce are some vegetable options.

Lean meat wraps, sushi, homemade muffins and soups in a flask are some of the heartier lunch options. For dairy products, Ms McCartney suggests tubs of yoghurt or custard, a carton of milk or reduced fat cubed cheese or cheese sticks or a hard-boiled egg.

Ipswich Girls' Grammar School prep teacher Tanya Barney said it was common to find carrots and celery with dips in the children's lunchboxes.

"I find that a lot of my parents are good at giving them healthy alternatives," she said.

Healthy habits

  • Keep the lunch box cool with a frozen water bottle.
  • Wash hands, fruits, vegetables and utensils thoroughly before preparing the lunch.
  • Ensure the food preparation area is clean and clean lunch boxes regularly.

Topics:  children food health lunch

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