Another year of packing lunch boxes



Going from long, lazy summer days back to the rigours of a brand new school curriculum for the kids can be a huge adjustment. Another year means a new grade, new lunches to be organised, and an upgraded diet schedule for 2022. Read on to discover the latest nutritional tips and effective ways to pack lunch for your kids.


Most nutritional foods to use


While healthy food is essential for good performance, many of the common and popular foods in lunch boxes tend to work against children's learning skills. The amount of sugar, caffeine, chemicals, and sodium they ingest makes them feel tired, distracted and causes a spike in anxiety levels. This not only affects your child's academic performance but also their behaviour. A nutritious lunch schedule is vital to helping your child succeed both in and outside of the classroom.


Prepare a lunch schedule with nutrients that support the immune system. These include vitamins C and D, zinc, and protein. Ensure you have a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats prepared for lunch. Some of the best items include:


Mangos


Mangos contain more than 20 different vitamins and minerals, making them a superfood.

Mango is an edible stone fruit from the tropical Mangifera indica tree, believed to have come from the region between northwestern Myanmar, Bangladesh, and northeastern India. A cup of mango juice provides the daily vitamin A and C that you require. It’s also a good dose of antihypertensive potassium and 3 grams of much-needed fibre.


Yoghurt


Yoghurt perfectly underlines the natural sweetness of berries and bananas, is extremely healthy, and is highly recommended for children. It’s known to have a much higher concentration of calcium than regular milk providing almost 450 mg daily. Yoghurt is perfect for the development and strengthening of bones.


Best choices for drinks


A lot of instances of soft beverages are generally served to children, however, they haven't any nutritional value and contain an excess of sugar. Drinking soda and different sugary beverages can cause enamel decay. Coca-cola or Pepsi products often contain caffeine, which children definitely don't need.


The best pick for beverages is either water or low-fat, unflavored milk. However, in case you need to pack juice, pick out a 200ml bottle and ensure you use 100% fruit juice.


Food safety in lunch boxes


Be cautious about cross-contamination. Thoroughly wash cutting boards, work surfaces, and utensils in hot water after preparing raw meat, poultry, and fish that can harbour dangerous bacteria like salmonella. If possible, consider using a cutting board for vegetables and fruits and a separate one for raw meat and poultry. Keep perishable foods refrigerated!


Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and other perishable foods should always be kept in the refrigerator. Do not leave food at room temperature for more than two hours, or for more than an hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees. Avoid thawing frozen food at room temperature. Instead, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.


Practice the best-recommended handwashing habits when preparing lunch and make sure to teach your child to wash their hands properly before and after lunch.


Reasons why your lunch boxes are coming back uneaten


As a parent, you need to understand that a child's appetite fluctuates from day to day. So let them judge how much they want to eat for lunch. If you pack less food for them, they’ll tend to eat it all. The truth is, larger portions can be overwhelming for kids at lunchtime, especially when faced with chaotic breaks and limited time in which to eat.


A child's moods can change from time to time as well. One moment they may be starving and the next they’re completely full. Most of the time we know they’re probably just acting up. But despite this, keep sticking to your routine and they will eventually settle.


Parents get it wrong by not including their children in the planning process, so involve your kids in the discussion. However, make sure they choose from your preselected options!


Contact us:

Phone: 011 803 9686

Email: vivian@pbafsa.co.za or bev@pbafsa.co.za


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