HEALTHY LUNCH BOXES
Under the Centre Based and Mobile Child Care Services Regulations (No 2) 1996 and its amendments and supporting documents, we must ensure that the food and drink provided to the children in our care is consistent with the Recommended Daily Intakes of the Health Department’s Dietary Guide. Therefore, we must insist that food items high in sugar, salt and fat are not included with things you provide for your child.
This means that items such as packaged cakes, pastries, biscuits, “health food” bars, muesli bars, fruit roll ups, chocolates, lollies, soft drinks, cordials, pies, chips can not be brought to Preschool but should be kept as treats for other times. Processed and packaged foods are typically high in one or all of sugar, salt and fats.
All packaged foods have nutritional information on the package, including the amount of sugars , salts and fats expressed as grams per 100 grams, which easily converts to a percentage: An example is given below. Note that this food is low in fat (1.7%) but is high in sugar (31.3%).
Also note that ingredients are listed in descending order, so that in this product the main ingredient is flour, next is sugar, then oil then salt.
FRESH is BEST
Here are some healthy Lunchbox ideas...
When packing lunches, always think, FRESH IS BEST! This will help you to remember that children need lots of fresh fruit & vegetables, rather than packaged and processed foods.
Sandwiches - there are many different types of bread on the market, pita bread, pocket bread, bagels, lavish, so why not try something different to add variety to your child's lunchbox. Wholemeal bread is recommended.
Fillings- spreads are quick and easy, but be sure not to include sugary ones like jams, honey and hazelnut spreads, as teeth need to be cleaned after eating these. Vegemite, Promite, peanut butter are all good once a day, (they are high in salt) and can be made more interesting by adding other fresh fillings, eg. sprouts, tomato, cheese. Some good combinations are: egg, lettuce and mayo cheese, grated carrot and sultanas, avocado, cheese and lettuce, avocado, sprouts and chicken, ham and cheese, baked beans, spaghetti, cucumber and cheese.
Lunch box Fillers - it's often hard to think up new healthy snacks that can be easily added to the lunchbox. If you have any ideas, please bring them in for all to share. Fresh fruit and raw or cooked cold vegetables are always the best. Here are a few other ideas to get you started:
Custard and fruit, jelly made with fruit juice and fruit, tinned fruit in natural juice fruit salad, popcorn (no salt), carrot sticks, sultanas, prunes, dried apricots, cream cheese spread onto crispbread- add a little gherkin, Sao’s and cheese or vegemite, celery with peanut butter, leftovers - vegetables or rice/pasta, chicken, hard boiled egg. Make your own dip with sour cream and a pkt of soup or a jar of corn relish, vegetables wrapped in a cheese slice.
Straight from the supermarket for busy people - try yoghurt, fruche, fresh fruit or vegetables, a hand full of breakfast cereal (but not sugary ones like fruit rings), some dip, or hommus and water crackers, dried fruits, rice crackers, rice cakes. Fresh, homemade is always best!!!
An important reminder: A lunchbox may seem healthy with fresh food, but still be high in salt. Try to avoid this, for example, A ham & mayo sandwich, vegemite on crackers, cheddar cheese, every item is very high in salt, and salt needs to be limited if you want to maintain a balanced diet. A better combination would be to remove the processed cheese and have yoghurt or block cheese, have tomato & avocado on the crackers, and add an apple and a banana.