IT IS no secret that learning requires good brain food and nutritious eating is essential when it comes to kids' school lunches.
To begin the day, The Health Nut naturopath and nutritionist Michael Smith said kids are better off starting with a protein-filled breakfast.
"Often kids have sugar-based breakfasts," he said.
"Cereals are advertised as healthier but are one of the most processed foods."
Mr Smith recommends eggs, oats or more protein breakfasts to fuel the kids before school.
In preparation for the kids' school lunches, Mr Smith said he would advise parents use dinner leftovers with chicken or some sort of meat in it rather than the general jam or vegemite sandwich.
"When I ask adults what they have for lunch they often say leftovers, so why not for kids?"
As for the age-old debate of bread, Mr Smith said he encouraged eating better-quality bread rather than white bread.
"Wraps are a better option," he said.
"Some bakeries also do preservative-free bread."
To keep food fresh, Mr Smith said adding a cold pack or frozen juice popper could usually do the trick.
"I make up everything just before school, so it's also fresh," he said.
"And I get my daughter involved in doing that."
Trying to find a quality lunch box is also a tough one.
Mr Smith said Tupperware came to mind.
"That type of material that keeps things fresher," he said.
Mr Smith said he understood how busy a parent's life could be.
He also recommended simple things for kids' lunch boxes like vegetable sticks, cheese sticks and dips.
"My kid loves olives," he said.
Fruit is also a highly recommended lunch box food.
"My kid has a fruit break at school and all the kids have fruit," he said.
When it comes to liquids water is the main source of drink to remember.
"During the summer I'll put a 100% juice in frozen," Mr Smith said.
"By lunchtime, it's defrosted."
Losing lunch boxes can also be an issue but writing your child's name on their lunch box can sometimes help.
- Salad and lamb or steak wraps.
- Homemade pizza - using leftovers are easier, saving time.
Healthy snack options
- Reduced-fat yoghurt.
- In summer months freeze fruits for great summer snacks. Frozen grapes, oranges and mango wedges make the perfect, cool snack.
- Water should be the main drink of the day for kids to stay hydrated.
For some more healthy school recipe ideas go to heartfoundation.org.au.
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