This year I opened a new chapter with my little boy as he went off to school to begin kindergarten. Of all the things I hear of his day, it’s the time he roams around at morning tea and lunch with friends, which stands out for him. Sometimes this break is so critical to his school day fun that he ÔÇÿjust doesn’t have time to eat everything’. I have no doubt many a parent out there hears the same story.
However, these little moments are so vital for our children to nourish their bodies with foods to support their energy levels and growth. Our role as parents is to ensure this is happens. It’s not always easy to satisfy hungry growing kids with foods that are nutritionally balanced, easy to prepare, and most importantly from a kid’s perspective, actually ÔÇÿfun and quick’ to eat.
So, what’s the best approach?
Brainstorm: talk to your children about what they do and don’t like and come up with some ideas together on what new healthy and delicious items can feature in their lunchbox and be eaten. Make a promise with each other that they’ll try new things.
Plan: plan the week of lunches in advance so you’re not caught out by Friday without food and reaching for the wrong foods to fill it up. Prep some food in advance on a Sunday so you have options on hand and can freeze some for the following week too.
Diversify: be sure to diversify the lunch each day, even for the fussy eaters who insist on eating the same thing day in day out, diversity is the only way they will learn to be more open to eating new foods.
Balance: ensure there is a good balance of carbohydrate, proteins and healthy fats in the lunchbox.
More often than not it’s convenient to pack a lunch that is dominated by carbohydrates. Kids will generally eat it and it’s easy as parents to get our heads around the sandwich, crackers, muesli bars and fruit in the morning amidst the rush of moving the family out the door. Whole grain, good quality, low GI carbohydrates will most definitely energize our children and but let’s not forget to integrate other wonderful food sources to nourish their brains and bodies.
Proteins, be it chicken, fish, meat, eggs, or plant based sources such as seeds, quinoa, Bioglan SuperFoods Chia Seeds and Bioglan SuperFoods Brown Rice Protein, chickpeas, lentils, beans or other lovely legumes, are an absolute essential in any lunch. In fact, we could all benefit from having a little more protein in all our meals and snacks. For it is protein, which satiates hunger and balances blood sugar levels by evening out the glycaemic load of foods.
Healthy fats we find in avocado, Bioglan SuperFoods Coconut Oil, sesame seeds, Bioglan SuperFoods Chia Seeds and tahini, sunflower seeds, pepitas, salmon, trout, eggs and organic full fat dairy are a beautiful and important inclusion to a balanced lunch box. These fats have a number of benefits but one that truly stands out is to support brain development and function. We want our kids to learn and absorb as much as possible in their school day, and we can support this by nourishing them with the right choice of fats in their diet.
Some simple and easy ideas to refresh the wonder lunch box might beÔÇª
Mini frittata with ricotta, Bioglan Superfoods Chia Seeds, tomatoes, sweet potato, and spinach
Corn fritters with avocado and vege sticks
Omelette cooked in Bioglan SuperFoods Coconut Oil with shredded vegetables, wrapped in cos lettuce
Raw vege sticks with hummus or tzatiki and Bioglan SuperFoods Meal Booster
Quinoa and brown rice sushi with salmon, avocado, sprouts and carrot
Apple cakes with Bioglan SuperFoods Brown Rice Protein Powder and Organic Coconut Sugar
Carrot and pumpkin loaf with Bioglan SuperFoods Coconut Oil, Chia Seeds and Fibre Boost
Ultimately, the guidance we provide to our young ones now sets them up for life. So let’s do it with good nutrition, creativity and plenty of love!