While books and uniforms may be at the top of any busy parent’s to-do list, there is one aspect of school life that can become overlooked – the lunchbox.
However, one Education Department program is tackling the challenge of healthy lunchboxes and lifting the lid on healthy eating secrets.
Love in a Lunchbox was established in 2016 and aims to engage students, schools and parents with health eating, to try and find healthy solutions that are more sustainable.
Program coordinator Kim Overgaauw said convenience was often a reason that parents chose to buy packaged food for their kids’ lunchboxes.
“Mostly it boils down to convenience, that’s the biggest barrier,” she said.
“But what we’re trying to teach people is that healthy options don’t have to take a long time, we are showing people things that are easy and fast.”
Love in a Lunchbox has recently launched new digital tools to assist schools who want to roll out the program, as well as a new printed brochure available for use.
The brochure offers recipe advice and focuses on four key elements to a healthy lunch box: main meal, snack, fruit and vege and water.
Ms Overgaauw said the program was presented in schools but aimed to educate the parents and the kids.
“We think that it’s a whole community approach; it has to be the school, the parents and the children,” she said.
While parents of picky eaters may feel they can’t contribute, Ms Overgaauw said ensuring a healthy lunchbox was about starting kids on healthy foods early and also building the lunchbox around what they liked to eat.
“Organisation is key; we want parents to consider what they are going to pack in their child’s lunch box ahead of time, carve out some time on the weekend to do some cookings,” Ms Overgaauw said.
Another key element was to involve children in the decisions – kids are more likely to eat healthy options if they have had a hand in cooking or preparing it themselves.
Cooking and freezing ahead of time can be useful, as long as parents consider the foods they are freezing.
HEALTHY LUNCHBOX SUGGESTIONS
- Main meal: Sandwiches, mini pizzas, quiches, wraps, fried rice or leftovers from dinner the night before
- Load up the veggies: Add in some extra fruit and vegetables, such as carrot and celery sticks, berries or a cherry tomatoes.
- Healthy snack: this could be home made trail mix, popcorn, homemade veggie chips or fruit-based muffins or pikelets.
- Water: Don’t forget to add chilled or frozen water to help keep things fresh.
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