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How can I create a healthy lunchbox?

It is important to set healthy food habits early in your child’s life. Packing them a proper lunch is a big part of this.Here are a few tips on how to pack a healthy lunchbox for your child.
  • Make sure there is a wide variety in their lunchbox. Include starchy foods, protein, dairy and fruit or vegetables.
  • Try and make a different lunch every day so your child doesn’t get bored with eating the same food.
  • Don’t give them a ham sandwich every day. Although sliced ham makes for a convenient sandwich, it is not healthy for your child to be eating processed ham at every lunch. Try chicken and tuna some days instead of ham as lean, processed meats like ham contain a lot of salt.
  • Vary the bread, to make sandwiches more interesting. Try bagels, wholemeal rolls or pitta bread as well as sliced pan.
  • Home-made soup makes for a healthy, filling lunch on a cold day. Consider buying a thermos flasks so your child can bring soup to school.
  • Dairy products are an important part of every child’s diet for strong, healthy bones and teeth so make sure there is some sort of dairy in your child’s lunchbox like a yogurt or cheese.
  • Children need up to 6 cups of fluids every day. Make sure the drink you serve them is tooth-friendly such as milk, water and unsweetened fruit drinks.
Here is what should go into a healthy lunchbox:
  • 2 portions from the bread and cereals group. Here is a list of options for 1 portion from this group:
    • 1 slice of bread
    • 1 medium roll
    • 1 pitta bread
    • 1 tortilla wrap
    • 1 small scone or plain bun
    • 2 crackers
    • 1 small serving of plain popcorn
  • 1 portion of meat or a meat alternative. Here are examples of 1 portion of meat or meat alternative
    • 2 slices of cooked meat
    • 2 slices of chicken or turkey breast
    • 2 slices of cheddar cheese
    • 1-2 eggs (hard boiled, mashed or sliced)
    • Half a can of tuna, salmon or mackerel
  • At least 1 portion of fruit or vegetables
    • 1 large piece of fruit e.g. an apple, banana, orange
    • 2 small pieces of fruit e.g. 2 kiwis, 2 satsumas
    • 150ml (1 small carton) of pure, unsweetened fruit juice
    • 1 portion of chopped fruit
    • 1 bunch of grapes
    • 1 small salad
    • 2 tablespoons of vegetables e.g. chopped carrots
  • 1 portion of dairy products
    • 1 mini carton of milk
    • 1 pot of low fat or natural yogurt
    • 1 triangle of spreadable cheese
    • 2 slices of cheese
    • A matchbox-sized piece of cheese such as edam or cheddar
Five steps to food safety
  • Always make sure your child’s lunchbox is clean. Sandwiches that contain meat, or other foods that require refrigeration, should be kept cold for as long as possible.
  • Lunch should not be kept in warm places. Keep the lunchbox away from the radiator and out of direct sunlight.
  • Throw out any perishable food that hasn’t been eaten by the end of the day.
  • Wash and dry reusable water bottles and lunch boxes in soapy warm water at the end of the day.
  • Wash your hands before preparing your child’s lunch.

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