Previous research from Food Active and Children’s Food Campaign reveals that parents struggle to bring healthy food to the table. Indeed, they accuse junk food of encouraging children through unhealthy marketing. Sugary drinks and fatty snacks have, as a result, become a favourite of too many children for the sole and only reason that they’ve seen it on TV. While it’s fair to say that you can let your children indulge once in a while, it can be tricky to keep on top of your lunch box duties when your children are set on junk food only. Unfortunately, it can seem an easy solution to pack an unhealthy snack in the box of picky eaters; it is for many a way of ensuring that your children will eat. But, the consequences of this act of kindness could be devastating. Indeed, the levels of childhood obesity are on the rise, with over one-third of children being overweight in some regions. Following these alarming facts, it’s impossible for parents not to wonder if they’re getting the traditional lunch box right:
Hitting the right balance between healthy and exciting
One of the main issues, when it comes to preparing food for children, is that it can be tempting to stick to a handful of ingredients that you know will be eaten. However, too many parents wrongly complain about being forced to limited food options. Indeed, you are responsible for developing the palate and taste of your child, meaning that the more diversity your bring in the kitchen, the easier it will be to prepare exciting lunch boxes. Besides, when taste becomes a game, you don’t need to rely on the addition of processed foods and sugary snacks to keep the lunch interesting. Ultimately, there’s only so often you can rely on the plan ham sandwich with a piece of fruit. It’s time to look out for suitable alternatives for your kids. You can use this free printable to create inspiring menus for school days.
Packing the lunch box to sustain them throughout their daily activities
More and more children join a regular activity, such as a youth football club or a dancing school in the afternoon. Making sure your kids have a healthy energy snack to prepare for their active afternoon is crucial if you want to help them to be the best they can be. Here too, refrain from buying the typical chocolate bar that is nothing but a sugar trap. Instead, take a look at these yummy snack ideas for sporty kids, such as granola and yoghurt or even a banana to recharge their energy. Ultimately, you want to use snacks that release a boost rapidly but that don’t create a drop in energy once they’ve burned out – which is the risk with sugary food.
Does it have to be cold?
With the chilly winter months ahead of us, it’s time to transform the cold lunch box into something warm and invigorating. Indeed, you can help your children to feel warm during the day by packing a hot lunch. You can find high-quality lunch boxes that keep the food hot for several hours. Similarly, you can check with the school if they have a microwave oven available in the kitchen area. You can be sure that yummy meatballs in tomato sauce or a cheese quiche can be the highlight of your child’s lunch break!
No time for breakfast?
If your child needs to get on the bus early in the morning, it can be tricky to get them to have a healthy breakfast before school. After all, nobody enjoys getting up too early! But you can make it easy for them by packing a healthy breakfast to be consumed on the bus, for instance. A savoury waffle sandwich with gooey cheese can be a great start to a busy day! You can pack as well a handful of breakfast balls, made with granola, peanut butter and dried food if you prefer a no-bake option.
The eternal question: Lunch money or not?
Finally, it’s fair to say that for a lot of parents, lunch box may not be a viable option. They prefer to rely on the lunch options that are offered by the school, as it is often the guarantee of warm food. However, you need to remember that despite the efforts to make school lunches healthy, there is still a lot to do. Most schools lack the budget to maintain high levels of nutrition. As a result, children might be faced with unhealthy alternatives. Additionally, food allergies and specific nutritional requirements can be tricky to meet on a school budget. Some parents prefer to give their kids lunch money and let them make their own arrangements, which can lead to regrettable decisions!
Packing a healthy and filling lunch box is not an easy task. However, more often than not, a lunch box offers a more satisfying alternative to the school food.