In keeping with our getting back into routine theme. Lets talk lunchboxes.
Lunchboxes do get me excited but there is also an element of dread knowing I will be doing this at least 5/7 days for years and years and years…. 4 kids have me finishing in 18 years! To help with some motivation as well as being well overdue, this year we are starting with fresh new lunchboxes! The kids are very excited to have their own colour and are also showing more interest in helping make them which I very much encourage! Many hands make light work! The lunch boxes most excited me with their many compartments to fit in all 5 food groups and equally easy to clean being dishwasher friendly!
When making lunches, I use the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating to make nutrition simple and ensure our kids get what they need from the five main food groups.
- BREAD AND CEREALS – Wraps, sandwiches, savoury pikelets or muffins, dry biscuits, cruskits, rice cakes. These are carbohydrate sources; carbohydrates are our body’s most preferred fuel source and are key for switching on our brains & muscles. This is what starts your kids brain ready for learning at school!
- LEAN PROTEIN – chicken, ham, tuna, chickpeas (also serve as a veg source), egg, cheese, yoghurt (also a dairy source). Protein is essential for the growth and development of muscles and keeps our kids full.
- VEGETABLES – capsicum, cherry toms, cucumber, avocado, carrot. These are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fibre also helps to keep our kids full and keeps their digestion on track (we want our kids using their bowels EVERY DAY!)
- FRUIT – apple, pear, strawberries kiwi fruit. These are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Citrus fruits like kiwi fruit and strawberries are high in vitamin C which helps absorb iron that is found in lean meat sources such as red meat, chicken and fish.
- DAIRY – Milk, yoghurt, cheese. Dairy provides calcium to strengthen our bones and has a great balance of protein and carbohydrates to give us energy and keep us full.
So, you put in a lot of time and effort into making the school lunches to find 80% of it not eaten when they arrive home from school, frustrating to say the least! But they are starving for everything that is not in the lunch box! By no means am I providing parenting advice, however one of my pet hates is food waste, so our family rule is there is nothing else to eat until the school lunch box is finished. I put an icepack in with their lunches, so it is still safe to eat. To begin with, this was a battle, but now the kids are well practiced with this routine, it has helped with getting them to eat more at school. This has also helped with their learning and concentration at school because their brain is being fueled so it is actually working.
Okay so we have the kids sorted, ready to be fed 5-star food balance but what about our own nutrition? Often the first item to go and without realising, it takes a hit on so many other important bodily functions including energy levels, mood, sleep, bowels, exercise, hair, skin and nails (just to name a few). Have you thought of making a lunch box for yourself? You’re already making the kids lunches so adding on a couple of extra minutes will reward your body is so many ways. Even if you work from home, there is no time wasted thinking about what to have, opening the pantry and fridge on repeat and making poor choices because you’re in a rush. Also, it doesn’t have to be a lunch box, it can be an esky bag with some on the go options and tupperware containers. Any type of prep is better than no prep at all.