February 10, 2014
Back to School: Moyne Health Services Healthy Lunch box tips
It’s time for children to return to school and with that comes the annual lunchbox dilemma how to make it healthy!? Moyne Health Services has some suggestions to assist you in creating healthy, balanced and tasty lunches.
- If sandwiches continually return uneaten, it may be the choice of bread. Make a healthier meal by using wraps, flat breads, grain bread rolls, crackers or high-fibre loaves.
- Include protein-rich foods. You can make a sandwich higher in protein using fillings such as tuna, lean ham, chicken turkey, salmon or hard boiled eggs. This slows kids’ rate of digestion, supporting energy levels.
- Include dairy. Recent research has found that most of school-aged children are not getting the recommended daily serves of dairy. You can remedy this by including items such as cheese sticks or yoghurt tubes both are nutritious and low-GI.
- Tip: Keep foods like meat and dairy cool in the lunchbox by packing a small bottle of frozen water or ice brick.
- Include a piece of fruit in a lunchbox. Natural or ‘nude’ foods are being increasingly replaced by processed and pre-packaged snacks. If fruit is coming home because it’s bruised, stick to fruit like oranges, or try a small container filled with berries, grapes or melon pieces.
- Limit packaged snacks. Australian research has found that children and adolescents consume more energy from low-nutrient, kilojoule dense foods than any other age group, with the average child receiving three packaged snack foods in their lunchbox each day. Aim to provide just one packaged snack each day and try to choose wholegrain and dairy-based snack.
- Provide Water. Children are more likely to drink fluids when they’re cold so try freezing it. Fruit juice and soft drinks are just not necessary in your child’s lunch box. In fact, research suggests that sugar-sweetened drinks such as fruit juice, cordials, soft drinks, sports drinks may contribute to childhood obesity.
As part of the ongoing endeavour to support the health and wellbeing of the people of Moyne, this year Moyne Health Services in collaboration with local government, health and community agencies, will be working with local school communities to make lunch boxes healthier and reduce the energy-dense nutrient-poor packaged snacks that are in children’s lunch boxes.
The program, ‘Lunch box Blitz – Attack on Packaged Snacks’ has been developed with the aim to provide parents, teachers and primary school children with a range of resources to help make lunch boxes healthier. It will raise awareness of the impact of energy dense, nutrient poor packaged snacks consumed by children in school as well as support schools’ to improve the variety and availability of healthy food choices on lunch menus.
The program is an initiative arising from a community needs assessment completed in Port Fairy, Koroit, Macarthur, Hawkesdale, Mortlake and West Warrnambool in 2012 which identified the poor quality of lunch box foods as a key concern.
The program will commence roll out to primary schools in Port Fairy and Koroit later this year, in collaboration with Terang and Mortlake Health Services, South West Health Care and South West Primary Care Partnership members of the South West Healthy Kids network.
For further information about the Lunchbox Blitz program or to access recipes visit the Moyne Health Service website – www.moynehealth.vic.gov.au.