The perfect back-to-school lunchbox

With kids back to school in a couple of weeks, pharmacist Eamonn Brady from Whelehans in Mullingar gives tips on a healthy lunchbox. High-protein lunches produce greater afternoon alertness and more focused attention, whereas lunches that are high in fat tend to lead to greater fatigue, sleepiness, and distraction. Chicken, tuna, lean beef, and eggs are examples of lunch options that are high in protein and low in fat.

Lunch box tips

Milk or water are best as drinks. Sugar-free squash (one part squash to four parts water ) is better than sugary minerals.

Always opt for brown or wholegrain bread rather than white bread for sandwiches and rolls; wholegrain varieties are higher in fibre and keep children fuller for longer. Cut sandwiches into fingers, squares, or triangles for a bit of variety. For fillings, cucumber, tomatoes, and apples are tasty.

Convenience snacks are high in fats, salts, and sugar so should not be eaten on a regular basis. Include a piece of fruit every day; examples include grapes, plums, peaches, bananas, orange segments, apple slices, and kiwis (cut in half and eaten with a spoon ). A good tip to prevent a sliced fruit going brown during the day is to sprinkle lemon over the sliced part.

Try to include something from the dairy group every day, such as milk, yogurt, or cheese. For variety, try cheese slices, cubes, triangles, or grated cheese.

Encourage children to help you make their lunch or even to make their own lunch. Children are more inclined to eat it if they have a part in making it.

Just the tonic!

Supplements should not be considered an alternative to a healthy and varied diet. However, Whelehans Children’s Tonic may give a short-term boost for those kids who won’t eat enough fruit and veg.

Whelehans Pharmacy, 38 Pearse Street, Mullingar (opposite the Greville Arms Hotel ). Tel (044 ) 9334591 or see www.whelehans.ie

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