How healthy is your child’s lunch?
How do you keep your kids happy and energised, without sending them into sugar-crazed overdrive? Dietician Cindy Chin unpacks a typical child’s lunchbox and gives her verdict.
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How do you keep your kids happy and energised, without sending them into sugar-crazed overdrive? Dietician Cindy Chin unpacks a typical child’s lunchbox and gives her verdict.

Low-fat strawberry yoghurt

Sweetened low-fat yoghurts are convenient when time is short, but if you can, opt for plain low-fat yoghurt flavoured with fresh mango purée, mashed banana, a drizzle of honey or chopped dried fruit, with toasted nuts and seeds to add variety, good fats and fibre.

Popcorn

Popcorn is a whole grain and contains a variety of nutrients such as B vitamins, minerals and fibre, which helps to provide a feeling of fullness. Home-made, air-popped popcorn is better than store-bought, as you can control the amount of salt you add and include herbs and spices to reduce the amount of salt required. You can also add a better-for-you plant oil by tossing lightly salted popcorn in a little flavoured olive or avocado oil.

Bongi Buffalo juice

Water is always preferable to fruit juice, but if you do choose to include it in a lunchbox, preferably dilute half with water.

Beef frikkadels

Protein helps build and repair body tissues and contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass and a feeling of fullness. Pre-prepared or deli meats tend to be quite salty. If making frikkadels from scratch, use herbs and spices to add flavour and use salt sparingly.

Blueberries

A small handful of blueberries counts towards a portion of your child’s fruit and vegetable intake for the day. You should preferably include more veg than fruit.

Babybel cheese

Dairy is a source of calcium, which is necessary to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Including unsweetened dairy on a daily basis is an important part of a healthy diet. The 2014 South African food-based dietary guidelines advise: “Have milk, maas or yoghurt every day”.

The verdict

Ideally, your child’s lunchbox should include veggies every day, as it encourages positive eating habits. When it comes to fats, opt for plant-based, unsaturated fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds.

For more kids’ lunchbox ideas visit www.woolworths.co.za

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