Tuesday, March 27, 2012

10 Tips to Remember When Packing a Healthy Lunchbox

  1. Plan Ahead. (Failing to plan is planning to fail.) Preparing lunches or at least your lunchbox plan the night before gives you more flexibility and control. If you try and squeeze your lunchbox prep into the morning chaos your nutritional and creative intentions will fall by the wayside. You need to keep a regular checklist of usual lunchbox fillers in your pantry and ensure that these popular items are always in stock. Make notes of any new recipes you want to try and purchase the ingredients on a weekly basis. Creativity doesn't spark under pressure..... and pressure leads to quick junky fillers.
  2. Keep it fresh. We should be eating at least 7 to 9 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables each day to provide our bodies with the right amount of vitamins and minerals it needs to function at peak performance. Make fresh fruit and veggies your primary lunchbox focus and tick off a few.
  3. Water is best. We can live for weeks without food but only a few days without water.  We have forgotten what a wonderful nutrient it is and how essential it is to life and our everyday bodily functions. So, if your child is not having enough water on a daily basis they could be suffering from a mild form of dehydration causing ‘brain-stress’ which can cause them to simply “switch off” exacerbating many learning difficulties and affecting optimal daily functioning and performance in many other different ways. Fill the beverage bottle with water.... click here for ideas on how to flavour water.
  4. Pack it properly/Invest in a good lunchbox container. What looks good at 6.30am in your home kitchen might not look so appetizing three hours later. Fruit juices run, bread gets soggy, and apples turn brown. Put some thought and effort into preserving your work of art so that it still looks like a mouthwatering masterpiece at break time. Invest in a good quality lunchbox, divisions works well or try the Laptop Lunchbox or EasyLunchbox System.Don't forget the ice packs to keep the lunch box cool and fresh.
  5. Stay away from the packets.  In the morning rush hour, amidst missing hockey socks and forgotten homework we all reach for the packets. Just grab and drop.... but we aren't doing our loved ones any favours. Packets may look good, taste good and also make us feel good but generally they are .... LIFELESS with nothing much to add to our daily well being.
  6. Read the labels. If you are a drop and go lunch mom and feel that you must have the ready made bags on hand, READ THE LABELS. No I am not referring to the brightly covered front that highlights it's "sugar free" or "low in fat" these are just sales gimmicks. Read the nutritional ingredients on the back (you will usually need a magnifying glass to view it effectively, so don't leave your glasses at home) and find out what has been added to make this taste so good. Avoid all items that are packed with preservatives, colourants, flavourants, sugar and anything that you have never heard of before.....if it looks like greek it's definitely not good for you. Better still bake your own muffins, breads and healthier snacks when times allows and freeze for later use.
  7. Be creative.  A sandwich, apple or piece of cucumber can take any form. Haul out those cookie cutters that have been gathering dust in your bottom drawer, add some colour, special theme or simply change your fillings and forget about that peanut butter and jello sandwich altogether. Pack something else, there are healthier alternatives out there! Pack some creativity into the process and have fun.
  8. Variety!Variety!Variety! Is your lunchbox predictable?  I just love the taste and texture of a fresh hot cross bun and could eat one every day.... obviously not everyone else does."No, Ma! Not another hot cross bun." Don't pack the same foods continuously, toddlers may like repetition but teens and older children DO NOT. Add variety....
  9. Be generous. Pack enough food to last the whole day, not quite sure how much this is though as Kelsey NEVER seems to have enough.....There is nothing that leads to the tuckshop quicker than a rumbling tummy, so still all hunger pangs with healthy, creative and fun lunchbox snacks.
  10. Feed your inspiration continuously. To be inspired and pack something different each day requires effort. Inspiration runs dry. Sign up to a variety of lunchbox idea sites and keep feeding your brain with new ideas on a regular basis.  As a starting point: 
      • Subsribe to our RSS posts on the right hand side of the page.
      • Like our Facebook page and keep updated on all new posts.
      • Follow our visual board on healthy lunchbox ideas.
      • Sign-up to other sites.
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