Research shows that eating habits formed in early years tend to stick into adulthood. In fact, a Children’s Food Trust study has shown that children in primary schools are 6 times more likely to concentrate in the classroom following improvement in school meals.
So Zita Steyn is on a mission to empower parents to take responsibility for your own and your children’s health. Foster children are not alone in sometimes having varied or challenging eating habits. We’ve teamed up with Zita and a few of our favourite family bloggers to bring you some delicious, healthy lunchbox ideas for fussy eaters. Enjoy!
What are the advantages of a healthy lunchbox?
Author: Zita Steyn of foodfights.co.uk
Healthy foods are full of nutrients to feed a young brain, allowing children to perform better in school. In fact, students who eat school breakfast regularly have higher maths grades, fewer instances of missing school, and fewer emotional and behaviour problems. A Children’s Food Trust study has shown that primary school children are three times more likely to concentrate in the classroom after improvements in their school-based diet.
With a higher intake of essential nutrients, a child’s mental and physical health will also improve. This makes them less susceptible to a range of illnesses and able to recover from injuries quicker – and we all know how clumsy kids are in the playground! Getting your child to eat healthily can be tricky, so check out some of our lunchbox ideas below.
Look through these great healthy lunchbox ideas
Four great ideas to help
1. Parents can support a home environment that promotes healthy eating. When thinking about healthy lunchbox ideas for fussy kids, there are lots of ways to help them enjoy healthy food:
- Offer veggie sticks and a dip (such as hummus or a yoghurt and pesto dip) as a snack when children are hungry – it won’t ruin their appetite, and will up their veg intake.
- Offer a variety of foods – even changing the pasta brand and / or shape regularly gets children used to the idea that not all food looks and tastes the same, and makes them more likely to try new foods.
- Create a tasting chart to track children’s attempts to try new foods and their opinion of them.
- Involve children in meal prep at home – I have often taught children new recipes with ingredients they told me they’d never eat, only to watch them happily wolf down their own creations. Your Kids will love it!
2. Packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be difﬁcult, expensive, or an effort – follow the quick and easy guidelines below to see your child’s lunchbox packs a nutritional punch.
- Have one portion of fresh fruit and vegetables (berries, grapes, apples, etc),
- Three portions of vegetables (carrots, cucumber, broccoli, bell pepper, peas, asparagus, cherry tomatoes)
- A healthy protein (beans, edamame, seeds, cheese, natural yoghurt, hummus, veggie burger, falafel, hardboiled egg)
- A portion of complex carbohydrates (baked sweet potato, dried fruit, potato salad, whole grain pasta, bread, or crackers, brown rice, quinoa etc)
3. Have children pack their own lunch boxes the night before from a choice of healthy components. This puts them in control of their meal choices and takes the pressure off you.
4. Pack a water bottle (with fruit-infused water) for your child to reﬁll during the day. Water restores ﬂuids, aids digestion, regulates body temperature and carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. Do not be tempted to add empty calories, ﬂavourings, and even caffeine to your child’s diet by giving them fruit juice, sports or ﬁzzy drinks.
As parents, guardians, teachers and carers, it’s our responsibility to give young people healthier choices at home and in school. A recent study from Teeside University shows that teenagers in the UK eat less than three of the recommended five-a-day. This can be especially pronounced in teens from challenging backgrounds which is why it’s so essential for Compass Fostering to champion healthier packed lunch ideas for everyone. For more ideas for picky eaters, information and recipes, visit foodfights.co.uk