Toddlers and young children are growing very quickly. They have small tummies and so need small nutrient packed meals. Here are some healthy lunchbox ideas that you might find useful if your child stays for lunch.
The Lunch Box
A small inexpensive plastic box is perfectly acceptable. Please check that your child can open the box easily. Don’t forget to label the box with your child’s name.
Remember to include a named bottle of fresh drinking water for your child to use during the day.
Keeping It Cool
Although lunchboxes will be stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight we cannot refrigerate them. A small freezer pack is a good idea to ensure that your child’s lunch remains cool.
The Packed Lunch
We are very keen that children bring the kind of lunch that they will be expected to bring or eat when they go to school i.e a healthy packed lunch that forms part of a healthy balanced diet. A packed lunch should contain:
1 portion of vegetables or salad—carrot sticks, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, pepper sticks, broccoli, sweetcorn
1 portion of fruit—fresh, dried or tinned (in natural juice) fruits are all good
1 portion of milk or dairy products—Cheese, fromage frais, yoghurts
1 portion of meat, chicken or protein– Ham, chicken, cheese, tuna, low fat sausage, beans, chickpeas
1 portion of starchy food– Bread, rice, pasta, pitta bread, bagels, crackers, wraps
1 small treat (optional)- Slice of malt loaf, flap jacks, carrot cake, small fruit bun
A portion is what will fit into a cupped hand. How many grapes would fit into your child’s cupped hands?
The eat well plate below gives an idea of the proportion of each food type we should be aiming for.
Do you know how much salt is in your child’s diet?
Too much salt in a child’s diet will increase their blood pressure, which in turn damages the heart and can lead to heart disease and strokes in later life. Children under 3 should have no more than 2g of salt a day and children under 5, no more than 3g.
One packet of crisps, a ham sandwich and a cheese string will contain over half a child’s recommended salt intake for the day. Please don’t put crisps in your child’s lunchbox everyday and let them have them as an occasional treat. Try breadsticks, crackers, dry cereal like puffed wheat, dried fruit or popcorn instead.
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