Back to school is a busy and exciting time of the year for both children and parents. Traditionally it is a opportunity to reintroduce healthier eating habits and routine for children after the long summer break. With schools closing in March this year, however, the return to routine may be more daunting for parents and children.
One aspect of the school routine which can be challenging is the preparation of healthy school lunches every day. The National Dairy Council has asked the experts for tips and advice to ease us back into healthy habits.
"Good nutrition is not only essential for your child’s growth and development, but is also important in keeping them adequately fuelled for the long school day," said dietitian Louise Reynolds.
"Don’t forget that a school lunch is one of your child’s three meals a day, so it’s important to ensure they are getting a nutritionally balanced lunch and snacks. However, don’t panic, it’s the overall day which will make up a healthy and balanced diet so breakfast, after school snacks, and dinner too will all be important."
Typically, a packed school lunch should contain all of the major food groups, for example:
(1 ) One portion of starchy carbohydrate (eg, bread, pittas or wraps, rice/pasta ).
(2 ) One portion of protein food (eg, chicken, fish, egg, pulses ).
(3 ) One portion of dairy (eg, yogurt, cheese, or milk.
(4 ) One or more portions of vegetables (eg, carrot sticks, peppers, sweetcorn, lettuce, onion ).
(5 ) One or more portions of fruit (eg, apple, orange, banana, pear, kiwi ).
(6 ) A drink of water and/or milk
You can discover more lunchbox tips, a sample weekly planner, and expert advice from Louise Reynolds summarised in a new lunchbox tips video at ndc.ie/nutrition/lunchbox-tips