Parents may often get confused about what to include in their children's lunch box. They might want to prepare a healthy and nutritious meal, but kids always prefer something delicious.
It may no longer be difficult to pack a nutritious and delicious lunch box.
Mandy Sacher, an Australian paediatric nutritionist and author of The Wholesome Child, has shared some tips for parents to encourage children to eat healthily.
"When you pack a nutritionally-dense lunch kids' concentration levels will rise, their energy levels improve and their blood sugar levels will balance out," the nutritionist said.
Explaining further, Sacher said, "Ideally in a balanced lunchbox, you'll want to see a quality serving of protein such as meat, fish, eggs or legumes."
"Then, you need a portion of slow-release wholegrains, whether they come from wholegrain bread, brown rice, brown pasta or sweet potato," she added.
The paediatric nutritionist has also shared over 40 healthy recipes for parents to prepare for their kids. From baby's first banana muffins to gluten-free honey and coconut biscuits, there are many nutritious snacks that can be included in the lunch box.
"Veggies are often left out of fussy eaters' boxes, but it's much better to include them. I find that if you put carrots in every day, then children will think it's expected of them to eat the carrots. What I've found often happens is they will first of all ignore the carrot and it will come home uneaten, then it will be nibbled, then chewed and spat out before eaten," Sacher said.
The nutritionist then shared some tips for the parents, who do not get much time in the morning to prepare a healthy meal for their children.
"While you might think it's fine to put together a lunchbox first thing in the morning, you'll be far too tempted to throw things in that aren't necessarily healthy. I would suggest even starting to put together a few ideas now of what you plan to make in a couple of weeks," she said.
Sacher also asked the parents to involve children in making meals. "Batch cooking is a godsend for busy parents. If your children love meatballs, make extra after you've had them for dinner one night and put them in their lunchboxes the next day," she said.
"You could even freeze items in single-serve bags so you can take them out the night before when you're too tired to cook," the nutritionist told Mail Online.
According to her, making sandwiches for lunch is not a good idea. "If you are someone who fills their lunchboxes with sandwiches every day and this sounds too intense, then just switch your white bread out for wholegrain," she said.
"Then, start moving things on slowly - and including different options for different days like quiches, rice paper rolls and things. Things like black bean brownies, school-friendly muesli bars, chocolate zucchini muffins and cheese scrolls are all good," she added.