Children and lunch

Do you know what your children are eating for lunch? Do they take a packed lunch to school or do they buy dinner in the school canteen?

Maybe you have never considered what your children are eating for their lunch assuming that they get lunch in school and make good choices. Well maybe they are but if they are like the majority of children they have no idea what is a good or bad choice. They will normally choose what they like rather than what is healthy.

If you have no idea what is healthy and you give your children either fast food or junk food why should they make this meal any different? How do you think they are going to gain the education about nutrition if it isn’t being taught in schools and neither is it taught in the home?

If you are relying on the school then you might need to get educated about nutrition yourself and pass on those lessons to your children. Talk to them about what they are eating in school. Don’t term it good and bad food because this is often where the problems of food and eating disorders start. Explain that certain foods will add to any weight problems or could cause weight problems in the future. Help them to see that they can make choices about what they eat. Help them to see that eating a chocolate bar once in a while isn’t the end of the world. But show them eating a chocolate bar every day or every meal isn’t a good choice.

If you are creating a packed lunch for your children are you considering what is being included in it? In the United Kingdom there are schools that are banning certain foods from the lunch box. No more crisps/chips, chocolate bars, cake and other sugar products. If your children’s lunch box had these items in them do you know what to put in to replace them?

The biggest problem you are now facing isn’t what to replace them with but getting your children to eat what goes in. It will be a huge experience for many to suddenly stop getting the foods they like and have to learn to try not just one new food a day but for some all the food in the lunch box will be new.

How do you deal with that, and what choices can you make for them to help them get over this problem? Start today by introducing foods into their other meals. Instead of a sugary drink try giving your children pure fruit juice or water. There are lots of different flavored waters around which has no added sugar, buy those and try them out. Many are only 1 or 2 calories for 1 liter bottles. Fizzy drinks have so much sugar in them; a can of pop can have at least 5 teaspoons of sugar in them.

Try giving them a sandwich using whole-wheat bread. If you are having a problem getting them to eat this then try one slice of white and one slice of whole-wheat. Put in a filling that they might enjoy, but you could also try making your own filling. Open a tin of tuna and chop a little onion into it. If they don’t like mayonnaise then try adding a small amount of ketchup to it to bind it together. You could also chop a little tomato or cucumber into this mixture.

Give them some chunky vegetables to eat. Tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, peppers, radishes and anything else you think they might like.

Try and add a piece of fruit to the box there are many small size fruits produced for lunch boxes. You can also add some small packets of dried fruits.

Work with the school as to what they recommend and try and make your children’s lunch boxes as healthy as possible.



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