A healthy lunch box should contain a good mix of carbs, protein and fruit or vegies.
A healthy lunch box should contain a good mix of carbs, protein and fruit or vegies.

Students need carbs in their diets for peak health

KIRSTY Seaton has more than 200 boxes of cereal on a shelf in her office, which could explain why she has the answer to a longer, healthier life.

The Rockhampton dietitian has condemned all school tuckshop menus that contain more fatty foods than lighter, healthier options.

She has given a rundown of what students need to eat in a bid to stay healthy and become more successful in the classroom.

We all know a healthy and full breakfast is the key to a child's success at school, and that is exactly what Kirsty wants to keep drumming into our heads.

"It seems like fairly straightforward stuff, but it appears we are not getting that message across," she said.

Kirsty said there were many urban myths about dieting and healthy eating that suggested carbohydrates were a no-go.

But that is exactly the opposite of a school student's needs.

Kirsty recommends students eat a bowl of cereal, containing carbs, with milk and a piece of fruit for breakfast.

"Carbohydrates are a very important staple in a student's and child's diet," she said.

"Dairy is also great for growing minds.

"A healthy lunch box doesn't necessarily mean you have celery and carrot sticks, but it also doesn't mean you should stock a big packet of chips in your bag.

"Schools are actually now making healthier options more available at tuckshops."

Recommendations for healthy meal options for teenagers:

Breakfast:

  • Breakfast cereal (eg Weetbix, Sultana Bran, Special K, porridge) with low-fat milk
  • Baked beans on two slices of multi-grain bread, a piece of fruit with a glass of milk
  • Two slices of multigrain toast with two eggs and a piece of fruit
  • Banana on toast and a glass of milk

Lunch:

  • 95g tin tuna, two teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise and a cup of salad on a wholegrain roll
  • Wholemeal pita wrap with 100g grilled chicken, a tsp tomato relish and a cup of salad
  • 100g roast beef, a tsp tomato relish, a tsp mustard, a cup of salad, two slices wholegrain bread
  • One hard-boiled egg, two tsp low-fat mayonnaise, a cup lettuce, two slices wholegrain bread

Dinner:

  • 100g lean beef strips stir-fried with ½ cup broccoli, ½ cup carrot, ½ cup capsicum with stir-fry sauce and ½ cup of rice or noodles
  • A cup spaghetti with ½ cup bolognaise sauce and a green salad on the side
  • 100g lean diced chicken breast, zucchini, capsicum, mushrooms and tomato threaded on to kebab sticks and grilled, ½ cup rice, a cup of salad
  • 100g fillet grilled fish with a small potato in wedges pan-fried and a cup of salad

Snacks - Try to have 2-3 snacks per day:

  • Sandwich with low-fat cheese                                   
  • Low-fat yoghurt
  • Canned spaghetti or baked beans
  • Pita chips, pretzels or crackers

Fluids:

  • Remember to have two litres of fluids every day. Aim to have 200-250ml of fluids with every meal and snack.
  • Don't wait until you feel thirsty.

Do:

  • Do eat a healthy breakfast every day
  • Do get a piece of fruit with your meal
  • Do balance out your plate with some vegies
  • Do drink water
  • Do check labels

Don't:

  • Don't skimp. Eating healthy is not the same as eating less
  • Don't pick pepperoni. It's high in fat, sodium and cholesterol
  • Don't get dessert right away
  • Don't drown yourself in soft drink
  • Don't try to be perfect. Everyone deserves a treat every now and then


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