Including more fruit and vegetables in children’s diet will improve growth, development and vitality and prevent a range of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer in later life. Research shows that the more fruit and veg are available and easily accessible for children, the more likely they are to eat them. Therefore if fruit is chopped up and ready to eat, children will eat more of them. There is evidence that children need to try new fruits and vegetables up to eight or nine times before they are liked or accepted.
Avoid the post lunch dip
Many students experience fatigue or a dip in energy after lunch. High-protein lunches produce greater alertness and more focused attention, whereas lunches that are high in fat tend to lead to greater fatigue, sleepiness and distraction. Chicken, tuna, lean beef and eggs are examples of lunch options that are high in protein and low in fat.
Lunch box tips
Milk or water are best as drinks. Sugar free squash (one part squash to four parts water) is better than sugary minerals. Always opt for brown or wholegrain bread rather than white bread for sandwiches and rolls; they are higher in fibre and will keep your child fuller for longer. Cut sandwiches into fingers, squares or triangles for a bit of variety. For fillings, cucumber, tomatoes and apples are tasty. Convenience snacks are high in fats, salts and sugar so should not be eaten on a regular basis. Include a piece of fruit every day. Vary the fruit everyday; examples include grapes, plums, peaches, bananas, orange segments, apple slices and kiwis (cut in half and eaten with a spoon). A good tip to prevent a sliced fruit going brown during the day is to sprinkle lemon over the sliced part. Try to include something from the dairy group every day which could include milk, yogurt or cheese. For variety, try cheese slices, cubes, triangles or grated cheese. Encourage your child to help you make their lunch or even to make their own lunch. Children are more inclined to eat it if they had a part in making it.
Healthy Lunchbox workshop this week for kids and parents
Coming this week to Mullingar is a fun, free and informative event for kids and parents called a “Healthy Lunchbox Workshop”. It aims to help mums and/or dads and their kids to learn to prepare a healthy lunchbox in a fun and relaxed environment.