If you want your children to have plenty of energy and be able to cope with the day to day demands of school life, after-school clubs, peer pressure, exams and the like, their diet is crucial. It’s a fact too that diet has a huge impact on behaviour, learning ability and concentration levels. So, take this time as the kids go back to school to review what your children are eating.
A lot of parents are now waking up to the idea that school dinners may not provide their children with the healthy nutritious meals their kids need. Packed lunches are a good way to take more control. However, there is a lot of peer pressure when kids take lunches that are different to what’s in their friends’ lunch boxes, so you do have to get a good balance to keep them healthy, but not make them appear too different.
A good packed lunch could include
- a wholemeal roll filled with organic chicken or good quality meat (no packet meats, please) and salad
- Or try peanut butter* (no salt or sugar variety) and mashed banana
- Tuna and mayonnaise with bits of cucumber and tomato
- As a change from sandwiches, give them a cold brown/corn pasta salad or a brown rice salad with interesting bits in that they like. You could include cherry tomatoes, small bits of broccoli, olives, gerkins, sundried tomatoes, cashew nuts, raisins etc with a little olive oil dressing on
- Their lunchbox should also include at least one piece of fruit. Try a little pot of berries, a couple of plums or a pear to vary it from the ubiquitous apple.
- Add in a few cherry tomatoes, a little pack of nuts* and raisins or, even better, a few organic nuts and a couple of unsulphured dried apricots.
- Give them a flask of filtered water, organic diluted apple or orange juice or include a good quality fruit smoothie such as the Innocent ones
- Alternatively, give them a food flask that has a good quality yogurt in it – preferably a plain live soya yogurt to which you have added some honey and berries or stirred in some pure fruit jam such as St Dalfour’s strawberry which is delicious.
Try to avoid rubbish foods like pre-prepared sandwiches and salads, fruit yogurts, sweets, crisps and sugary drinks. Remember, if you give them junk or money to take to school, they will always choose junk. If they have no choice, they’ll eat what they’re given and eventually their palate will start to change for the better.
If you can’t control what your kids are eating at lunchtime, try not to worry about it – do what you can, and make sure they’re eating really well, preferably organically, when they’re at home. A good breakfast and tea will go a long way to helping you nourish your kids well. If they are eating in this way most of the time, the odd bag of crisps or sugary snacks here and there won’t hurt.
If you would like more information on how to keep your children healthy this next school year, call or email me for a free Back To School Factsheet. For more in-depth issues such as recurrent infections, eczema, weight gain or behavioural difficulties, please book in for a free 15 minute chat – we can normally help.
*Note that many schools now have a no-nut policy due to children suffering from peanut allergy, so please remember to check before sending your child to school with nuts.