A healthy lunchbox with the right foods is crucial for children to have energy to play, concentrate and learn all day. From around the age of three, children start being vocal about their food preferences. Unfortunately, what they want to eat is not always nutritious, which makes a healthy lunchbox a challenge for many caregivers. But there are a few tips and tricks that can elevate your children’s lunchboxes and make a meaningful difference to their present and future health.
Planning and preparing together
Nestlé encourages and advocates for 'togetherness' — where parents and kids come together in the kitchen. And to kick off that journey, the first tip would be getting children involved in the planning and preparation of meals. This leads them to adopt healthier eating habits – in short, their diet quality is higher. Parents and caregivers should try not to stress about the mess, instead, allow them to be creative and encourage their imagination. It is also a great time to bond with the children and help teach them important life skills too!
Start by making a list of items that can be added to the lunch box. Here you can have three columns for Carbohydrates (Bread/pasta/starches), Protein (Meat, legumes, cheese, and other dairy). If you had meat the previous night, consider keeping a bit aside for the lunchboxes the following day, instead of processed meats which are naturally high in salt. Lastly fruit and vegetables (Think about tomatoes, lettuce, roast veggies, fresh fruit). Once the list is completed select from each of the columns an item and 2 from the fruit and veg column. As you select these, you will notice that you avoid monotony, and the lunchbox is becoming more colourful. And the more colours we have in the lunch box or any other meal for that matter, the more nutritious it becomes.
Always include a fruit and/ or vegetables in your child’s lunchbox
By offering more fresh fruits and vegetables we lower salt and sugar intake naturally. Fruits are naturally low in sodium and have plenty of fibre and vitamins for good health. It is recommended to add a fresh fruit – like apples, bananas, pineapple slices or any other tropical fruits. Alternatively, you can add a handful of dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, and prunes for a quick energy boost. Kids may not always want to eat the fruit or veggies in the lunchbox – consider how it is presented to them – a fruit kebab will be more appetising than a whole apple, the same goes for other foods in the lunchbox – presentation is king.
Before buying food for lunch boxes consider making your own special snacks.
Homemade snacks are more nutritious, and you will save quite a bit of money. These include veggie muffins and health bars. Get the kids to help bake or make them.
Add water to your child’s lunchbox
Fruit juice is made from fruit, the juicing process means that most of the fibre is lost. It’s better to eat your fruit whole as it is more satisfying and contains more nutrients and fibre. If you choose to have fruit juice, have only a small serve, occasionally and consider diluting with ice or water. Try to avoid including juice poppers in the lunch box, save them for treats instead.
It is advised to serve your little ones with fresh water on a regular basis Water is very important to keep children well hydrated – make sure your child has a water bottle and that they consume water regularly.
Minimize food wastage
Besides healthy eating, Nestlé’s focus is also on promoting sustainable eating habits with local foods, leftovers and minimizing food wastage. Such habits help in raising more responsible children, and keeping our planet cleaner, and healthier in line with Nestlé’s RE initiative which focuses on three pillars: Rethink, Reduce & Repurpose.
Nestlé East and Southern African Region (ESAR)
Tel: +230 5 927 4553
Email: [email protected]
Issued by Odysseus Public Relations on behalf of Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region
Contact: Naresh Roodur
Tel: +230 5796 6037
Email: [email protected]
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 187 countries around the world, and its 291,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality for everyone, today and for generations to come. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2,000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé or Nespresso to local favourites like Ricoffy*. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health, and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.