The new year has started and healthy living is on everyone's agenda after the holiday season.

With healthy living in mind for your children, we at Kay-Dee Educare in Mowbray think your child's lunchbox is a great place to start.

Healthy school lunch ideas - Kay-Dee Educare Centre Mowbray

Kay-Dee Educare Mowbray

As an Educare Centre, we want the best for your children.

While we always provide the best we can for your kids, we encourage parents to be conscious of what their children are eating. We cannot stress the importance of good nutrition enough.

Nutrition, alongside genetics and environment, is one of the most important factors that contribute to your child's development.

The human body uses nutrients from food to function properly and stay healthy. Nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Counting Calories

The amount of energy your child gets from food is measured in calories. Calories are needed to grow and develop, but if your child takes in too many calories, they will be stored as fat.

Poor nutrition leads to health problems. By providing healthy food for your child at break-time, you can combat these problems.

Additionally, children who are brought up with healthy eating habits often maintain that lifestyle when they are adults.

The key to providing good nutrition is a balanced diet. While the right amount of nutrients allows your child to develop and grow healthily, too much of any of them can be unhealthy.

Sugar - The devil in plain sight

The major problem in the modern-day diet, is sugar.

Sugar is in everything. In fact, it's hidden in 80% of all processed goods in major supermarkets and the effects of sugar can be devastating.

Additionally, sugar is the leading cause of:

  • obesity,
  • insulin resistance or diabetes,
  • low energy levels,
  • tooth decay,
  • high cholesterol
  • and heart disease.

Studies have even shown that sugar can give you cancer.

Another one of the major sugar effects is restlessness followed by sugar crashes and tears, a real nightmare for even the most experienced parent.

Sugar contains no essential nutrients and is considered to be empty calories, while new studies have also shown that it is not saturated fats that give you cholesterol, it is sugar.

Does my Child have a Sugar Addiction?

Furthermore, sugar releases massive amounts of dopamine when consumed. This can quickly lead to sugar addiction in children who don't understand why they want sweet things so badly.

New studies also show that the same can be said for grains. They are broken down as quickly as sugar and overload your liver, which then stores them as fats. Both grains and sugar lead to a fatty liver which is also found in people who suffer from alcoholism.

When it comes to packing your kid's lunchbox it is very important to stay away from sugar-containing foods. The best way to understand what your child is eating is to always carefully read the labelling.

The main idea is to stay away from sugar as far as possible and limit eating grains in your school lunch to once or twice a week. This includes all kinds of granulated sugars and refined sugars.

Sugars can be labelled as all sorts of things including:

  • Cane sugar,
  • White sugar,
  • Natural sugar,
  • Raw sugar.

There are so many it’s hard to keep track, but it’s important to know that none of them are healthy for your child. Just don't buy sugar and you are already half way to making healthy school lunches.

The Fruit Juice Misconception

A common misconception is that fruit juices are healthy for your kids. To make one cup of juice it normally takes quite a few more fruit than your little one can eat at a time. While children cannot overdo the sugar by eating fruit alone, there is far too much sugar in fruit juice.

For example – one glass of apple juice takes 4 apples to make. After one apple, the fibre and the pectin found in an apple’s skin, begin to tell your body that you don’t need to eat anymore.

However, when you juice ANY fruit, you lose ALL nutritional value as you pulp the skin, removing the fibre and pectin benefits – leaving only sugar behind.

As an alternative - Pack water to drink or sugar-free, flavoured waters that do not contain aspartame from your local supermarket.

School Lunch Ideas

Out of school lunch ideas for kids? Here are some healthy school lunch ideas:

Whole-grain tortilla or pita bread filled with diced leftover chicken, low-sugar mayo, lettuce, tomato and an apple.

A hard-boiled egg, carrot sticks, crackers and some hummus, a cheese stick and a side of sliced up melon.

The internet is full of school lunch box ideas for healthy school lunches, just follow our no sugar, minimal grain suggestions and find dishes that your child loves.