With the availability of information regarding foods and health, there is no reason for a child’s diet to suffer during their school hours. Packed lunches can be a tricky meal to get right as some children may be fussy when it comes to healthy foods.
There are simple ways to ensure that the healthiest packed lunch is prepared for your child. Swapping the white bread with wholemeal bread will be a significant healthy change to any packed lunch sandwiches. Wholemeal bread is high in fibre which helps to regulate the bowels and keep that full feeling for longer. This, in turn, will discourage the need to snack on unhealthy foods in between meals. Eating wholemeal bread has other benefits such as lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
If your child refuses to eat wholemeal bread, there are plenty of brands that offer an alternative loaf that is half white bread and half wholemeal bread. Your child may never know the difference.
Many supermarkets and brands offer healthier alternatives to your regular food products. One being a margarine or spread which lowers cholesterol. Similarly to wholemeal bread, these new and improved types of margarines and spreads can reduce the risk of heart attacks by lowering cholesterol in the blood. These products are aimed at lowering the bad cholesterol type which is the “LDL” form of cholesterol. The LDL form of cholesterol is the type which clogs arteries and can lead to serious heart problems.
Opt for a variety of sandwich fillings which can contribute to several or more of your child’s guideline daily amounts (GDA) of vitamins and minerals. A healthy example is cheese for its calcium benefit, tomatoes for its vitamin C benefit and lettuce for its iron benefit. There are many health benefits to practically every type of fruit and vegetable which is why it is important for your child to have a generous variety throughout the day.
Include healthy snacks of fruit and vegetables in your child’s packed lunch such as carrot sticks, apples and grapes. Sweets and chocolate are packed with sugar and provide little to no nutritional benefits so try some alternatives such as raisons which are naturally sweet and tasty.
Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day and provide them with a healthy drink such as fruit juice with their packed lunch. The “not from concentrate” varieties are the healthiest and most natural form of fruit juice. Be aware that some fruit juices have added sugar so it is worth reading labels before purchasing a product.
There are many new and innovative brands which produce healthy and tasty food specifically for children’s snack times. Take some time to look through the different snack products that your local supermarket has to offer and remember, healthy does not have to mean boring.