Healthy eating is essential for your child’s good health, growth and development. We know that it can be difficult to get children excited about eating fruit and vegetables, but there are several ways to make it more appealing. Creating a vitamin-rich lunchbox for your child every day, that they’ll actually eat doesn’t need to be complicated. In this article we outline snacks to avoid, ideas for healthy snacks children will love, and a few tips about how to make lunchboxes fun.
Firstly, here’s what snacks to avoid:
A healthy lunchbox doesn’t include sweets, chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks – these are empty calories that give your children a temporary sugar rush and will affect their concentration afterwards. Commercial fruit and vegetable pouches should be restricted, as some pouches can have upwards of 6 teaspoons of sugar per pouch. Try to limit the amount of processed meats like hotdogs, nuggets, fish fingers and sausages. Deep fried foods and salty snacks should also be avoided as much as possible. The EBN Health and Safety Standards advise parents not to pack any nuts, nut products (including Nutella) or pork products in the lunchbox.
A healthy lunchbox includes:
- Brown or wholemeal sandwiches rolls and wraps
- Protein-rich snacks such as tuna, chicken and legumes
- Vegetable sticks like carrots, cucumbers, and celery
- Pasta, rice, potato, quinoa and couscous salads
- Hummus, tzatziki or other dips for the veggie sticks
- Fresh fruit: apples, mandarins, kiwis, bananas and berries
- Dried fruit: raisins, apricots, figs and apples
- Unprocessed cheese
- Natural yoghurt: avoid flavoured yoghurts with high sugar content and additives
- Water: at least 2 bottles per day
- Fresh juice: avoid processed juice as it can have a high sugar content
We know that for some, a healthy lunchbox may sound boring but there are a few ways you can make it a bit more exciting. Buy your child a colourful lunchbox and water bottle with their favourite characters, slice some food such as vegetables and sandwiches into interesting shapes with a cookie cutter or even let your child choose from the healthy snacks what they would like to take to nursery each day.
Snack Time at EBN
Lunch time at EBN is an important part of the day, much like family mealtimes. We all know children like predictability and routine hence, whether it be during a nursery or family mealtime, it is an occasion for families, teachers and children to come together, strengthen ties and build social relationships. We ask parents to please send two snacks with their children every day: breakfast and lunch. Please ensure that the food is sent in appropriate labelled containers that will keep the food warm or cold; we are not able to refrigerate or heat food in the nursery. We are more than happy if you want to use an insulated lunch box/bag with an ice pack.
Read more about: Developing Healthy Routines for Children