Tips for a Healthy Kids Lunch Box (Plus 5 Days of Lunches + Recipes)

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What’s in your kids’ lunchboxes? It’s safe to say that kids aren’t always easy to please, especially when it comes to school lunches. Sometimes throwing in a pre-packaged muesli bar or packet of chips seems like the easier option, especially when you know it’ll get eaten with zero complaints.

While these choices may seem insignificant, a recent study led by University of Newcastle Laureate Professor Clare Collins and team have found that making modest and sustainable changes to the food our kids eat is the key to beating childhood obesity – and that can start by simply improving the food within their lunchbox!

“The bottom line is, even modest changes, sustained over time, are important and can improve diet, help create healthy eating patterns and improve nutrition-related health and well-being. People can stick with those changes,” Professor Collins said.

Childhood obesity is a global problem, with 18% of children aged five to 19 exceeding the healthy weight range worldwide.

The review measured a number of key aspects including energy consumed, eating behaviour, and diet quality, finding that obesity interventions which incorporated a dietary component had a modest, yet sustained impact on reducing total energy intake and improving intakes of specific food groups.

In some cases, the advice and interventions given to parents in order to address childhood obesity can be overwhelming, however Clare believes it is the small changes that can often make the biggest impact.

Photo credit: University of Newcastle

“It comes down to swapping something like a muesli bar for an apple, soft drink for water. The small changes add up….These messages seem obvious, but most interventions include a lot of other suggestions. People don’t need to do fad diets.”

So, the takeaway for families? What you put in your childs’ lunchbox, or give them for afternoon tea really does matter, and making small changes can create a big impact on the overall health of your child.

Photo credit: University of Newcastle

Take a look at Clare’s Lunchbox Checklist for some inspiration on what to pack for your kids! It contains five lunchbox planners with items for lunch, recess and fruit break / Crunch and Sip. It contains food like homemade veggie pizzas, Mexican wrap, muffins, bliss balls and veggies.

Lunchbox 1

  • Main Lunch Item: Wholegrain sandwich with chicken and salad
  • Recess Item: Yoghurt tub, roasted chickpeas (homemade or pre-bought)
  • Fruit break / Crunch and Sip: Sliced apple

Lunchbox 2

Lunchbox 3

Lunchbox 4

Lunchbox 5

  • Main Lunch Item: Wholegrain roll with egg and lettuce
  • Recess Item: Cheese and wholegrain crackers and cherry tomatoes and mini cucumber.
  • Fruit break / Crunch and Sip: Canned fruit in juice

You can also find fast, easy and affordable recipe suggestions, as well as the Healthy Eating Quiz on No Money No Time website.

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