Healthy School Lunches

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Give your child fun, tasty lunches to eat at school – or he will quickly rebel and insist on eating at the cafeteria.

Children can be very picky eaters, and when they are very young, they develop a taste for ice cream and pizzas that most of them seldom outgrow. If a child develops a taste for junk food and fizzy drinks at a young age, he or she quickly becomes addicted to oily, greasy food that has little or no nutritive value.

Junk food is certainly very tasty, but it is loaded with preservatives, excess salt and sugar, and too much grease. However, there is just no way to reason with a child and tell him he can’t have junk food daily when all his friends can. Instead, get creative in the kitchen and make your child’s school lunches interesting, and soon, you will have no trouble getting him to eat whatever you pack in his school lunch bag.

The same treats in a healthier avatar. If your child demands pizza for lunch, don’t refuse him. Instead, use a wheat base and instead of red meats and cheese, use colourful vegetables, a few slices of pineapple and lots of tomato ketchup. Minimise the amount of cheese you layer the pizza with, but do include a visible amount.

Pack a surprise. You can pack a healthy, nutritious meal such as a multigrain sandwich with steamed chicken, tomatoes and baked French fries, but also include a small dessert that should come as a surprise to your child. Wrap his dessert in a colourful paper or a cute note from you, and let the dessert comprise something he really likes. However, don’t do this every day – the surprise dessert treat MUST be a surprise! On other days, pack a fruit he enjoys, or slip in a container of fruit salad in a sweet, fresh cream base.

Healthy-School-Lunches

Presentation is everything. If you’re giving your child a boiled egg to eat during lunch, don’t just dump the egg in one corner of his lunch box. Make the presentation fun – draw a face on the egg with coloured frosting, or surround it with his favourite crisps. Even if your child doesn’t like eating boiled eggs, he will cheer up when he sees that you tried to make his lunch fun.

One cheat day per week is fine. Your child is young and has a good metabolism, so allow one day during the week when he can eat whatever he wants. Children burn calories faster than adults, but insist on him going out to play after school as well. Ask him what he would like for lunch the next day, and if you can’t cook it, give him money to buy it. However, this one day of eating whatever he wants must come with the clear understanding that for the rest of the week, he will follow your dietary rules without argument. When he can’t have junk food for every lunch, he will gradually learn to eat healthier.