The holidays are over and school has begun again. Normal routines have finally returned and even though most parents are relieved to have their children back to school, we are now faced with the hard task of what to pack in their lunchboxes. It can be difficult trying to think of healthy, convenient and delicious food for their lunches each day, plus what do you give them when they come home starving from school?
The shopping aisles are filled with little packets of this and that to put into the lunch boxes however many are filled with sugar, salt and fat. Finding time to home bake can be difficult, but not impossible. Allocate a bake day say once a month and make muffins, pikelets (try these delicious Savoury Pikelets), cakes and my low fat corn chips. Your children will reap the healthy rewards and so will your budget. You can freeze all these items except the corn chips, which will keep fresh for weeks in a well-sealed container.
If you really don’t have time to bake, then take time to read the labels on the packets you buy and try to choose the lower salt and sugar varieties. Some ideal snacks are rice crackers, yoghurt, fruit, dried fruit and, for the older kids, nuts. Dips with celery and carrot sticks are a great snack for kids at school or pack a salad but keep it cool in a special cooler bag.
You can’t beat fresh fruit and with the wide variety available at this time of the year it is easy to tempt them. I think making fresh fruit salad is so nice and more appealing, and if their piece of fruit is coming home in the lunch box then dicing the fruit may help tempt the little ones. If the fruit is still in the lunch box when they get home from school, why not make a fruit smoothie for them.
If your child is carrying excess weight, then get them active; turn off the television and computer and get them outside. Get them involved in some type of sport or go for a walk with them and you will find that with a healthy diet and exercise their weight will naturally balance out. Also try to avoid giving your children too many sugary drinks.
Eating habits are set in the first few years of life so if you encourage good, healthy food then hopefully your children will take these habits into their adult life.