A Guide to a nutritious, budget-friendly lunch box as we prepare for back-to-school
After an exciting festive season filled with tasty treats, relaxation, and family fun, follows the back-to-school excitement. As we gear up for the new school year, most caregivers are faced with planning and preparation that needs to be done to ensure their kids are ready.
Preparing a balanced lunch box forms an integral part of everyone’s morning routine. Each year, caregivers can adopt fun, simple yet effective ways to create healthy lunches for their children. No matter the time of day, packing a lunchbox can feel like just one more chore on an endless list. It can be challenging to provide a healthy, tasty meal every day when you are short on time.
Get lunchbox smart and follow a formula
It can be tempting to stuff your lunchbox with carbs — at least they will get eaten, even if they are not the healthiest option. Avoid the temptation to fill your child’s lunchbox with a variety of fancy pre-packaged goods unnecessarily. Keep it simple! healthy snacks like fruit, carrots, and cucumbers, as well as popcorn, and rice cakes, go a long way. You could even whip up basic treats with your kids over the weekend and add those to the lunchbox.
Create a lunch chart
To be able to plan effectively and ensuring that you give your children food that have variety, create a lunch chart that covers an innumerable healthy nutrient that form a balanced diet. You may be surprised to learn that several types of food can enhance a child’s ability to focus. Create a list that you can plug onto your fridge or pantry door. Start your child with a glass of NESTLÉ MILO for breakfast and then add superfoods such as avocados, blueberries, carrots, or cucumber – this will also depend on what your child enjoys and if they are not allergic to these superfoods.
Always opt for healthier snacks or make something at home
Try to swap products with high sodium or sugar for products with low sodium or sugar. Snack foods like packets of crisps, sweet and savoury biscuits, sweet muffins and prepacked dips, cheese or processed meat and cracker packs can contribute to a lot of salt and or sugar intake. Swap these with low-salt alternatives, such as savoury muffins, preferably homemade and even better have the kids help bake them. If you had meat the previous night, consider keeping a bit aside for the lunchboxes the following day, instead of processed meats which can be high in salt. Foods like cheese, wholewheat bread, vegetable sticks, fruit kebabs are all better options than the snacks kids buy at the local tuckshop. Yoghurt is a great source of calcium using the plain variant and add your own fruits to it, that way you can also limit your sugar intake.
Do not forget to get your child hydrated
When it comes to concentration and attention in lessons, hydration is key. Avoid sending in juice and try flavoured water instead—this is extremely easy to make. Put a slice of lemon, lime, apple, or orange in a jug of water and keep it in the fridge. Then pour this into your child’s drink bottle every morning. Start them with healthy dairy in the morning before they head out to school, a glass of powdered milk like NESTLÉ NESPRAY, mixed with warm water. NESTLÉ NESPRAY provides calcium and iron, which is an important nutrient for bones and teeth while also assisting with your child’s cognitive development. For dairy-free options, consult with a registered dietitian to guide you on alternatives
Lastly, a note of appreciation tucked into an empty lunchbox can brighten even the gloomiest day for yourself and the rest of the family. Whatever tips you may go with or preference you might have, always involve your children in the back-to-school preparations, as that will help them take accountability for themselves and feel like they are part of the process which will have them excited and feel prepared for the new school year!