With 40% of children’s school nutrition coming from junk food and over a 1/4 of Australian children being overweight or obese, establishing healthy eating behaviours from a young age is really important. I was honoured to be interviewed by ABC News about this issue, and wanted to share key strategies to providing a healthy lunchbox that don't break the bank.
There is a misconception that healthy food is too expensive for the average school or childcare budget and that kids won’t enjoy it. The Wholesome Child Nourish Program, a comprehensive nutrition solution for early learning centres, proves otherwise. Journey featured on the ABC News, showcasing their children gobbling up veggies and our wholefood recipes.
Many of these children come from different cultural backgrounds, having only been exposed to a limited range of foods. However, with repetition, role modelling and food education (we educate the centre managers, chefs and educators on how to encourage healthy eating behaviours) the children soon adapt to the new foods – and thrive on them! And the programme does not blow their budget.
There are plenty of affordable options that are easy-to-achieve, and children’s taste preferences really are shaped in childhood. That’s why I am so passionate about offering a child care program and providing resources and education for time-poor parents who need better alternatives to feed their families.
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MY TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING A HEALTHY LUNCHBOX:
Don’t forget Protein
This is one of the most rejected food groups by children. Protein is important to keep them satiated, which is important for stable moods and concentration. Other than meat, there are great Protein options you can include in lunchboxes:
- Chickpeas – made in pancakes, roasted or store-bought
- Black Beans
- Hard boiled eggs, frittata, pancakes
Does your child reject protein? Check out my new Protein+ boosters, which provide a complete amino acid profile and can be added to smoothies, yoghurt, baked goods and lunchbox-friendly snacks. All boosters come with a free recipe pack and loads of no-cook ideas for serving.
Send in the LEFTOVERS
I often make extra at dinner time, to pack cold or warm in the kids lunchboxes. Some of my go-to meals…
When in doubt, add veggies
Whether your child has a Bento style lunchbox or not, if you’ve got a spare compartment or need to send more food, send veggies – freshly cut or steamed, know your kids favourites, and send as many vegetables as you can. When they aren’t eating veggies, I recommend boosting foods they will eat with veggies wherever possible (there are loads of hidden veggie recipes in my fussy eating course and book).
Check out Veggies+, a wholefood booster that provides the goodness of 15 veggies and supercharged greens. It's nature's multivitamin and extremely versatile - best bit you can add it to sandwich spreads, muffins, dips and more.
Boost the classics
If you send…
- White bread, swap for an organic wholemeal roll or loaf. Sign up to My Wholesome Child for access to a free shopping course where I cover the best breads.
- Vegemite Sandwich, BOOST with healthy fats by adding Avocado or vitamins and minerals by adding Veggies+.
- Jam Sandwich, try swap regular jam with a homemade jam or combine with a protein source such as cream cheese. You can also easily boost jam with Superfruits+ for a potent dose of vitamin C and antioxidants that won't be detected!
- Honey Sandwich, add Tahini, it’s a good source of protein and minimal taste adjustment.
Need more advice? Keep watching my social channels for more tips and tricks or explore my online courses. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions.