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Inspire your lunchbox – Nutrition for your family

If you are like every mum and struggle to think of what to put in to the school lunchbox – I’d like to highlight what my colleague Hilary Davies has to say on the matter..

“I’d like to focus a little more on the teenagers for this one. I used to love making lunches for my boys when they were younger. Cute little plastic boxes filled with a variety of delights that they could enjoy and share with their friends with pride. There are also many books out there about healthy food ideas for young children but very little for the older ones. Although my youngest is still slightly in that zone my others are now into the lunch break that is mass refuelling at the greatest speed possible AND without a shred of street cred lost in the process! Added to this – these older ones really should be making their own lunches (if you have a child in year 7 or above and you are still making their lunches – please stop!) so I see the parent’s job as being in the background and making sure that the best foods are available to help their choices.

Some things we can insist on and some we can let go. For me the greatest necessity is that they drink enough water through the day. How many of your older children are drinking 1.5 litres of water during their school day? I think I’ve heard every excuse under the sun from a teenager about not drinking water but the stats are undeniable. A 3%, yes, just 3% reduction in hydration = 10% loss of power and 8% loss of speed. That’s just the physical effects so translate that to the brain and we could have a bunch of dehydrated fatigued children who are unable to achieve their full concentration and performance in class let alone on the sports field. If my boys consent to drinking 1.5 litres of water during their day then frankly I don’t mind if they leave the house with a ham sandwich (wholemeal and salad of course!) and an apple.

The days of little cute boxes are well and truly over for this age group so we do have to accept that the general theme is going to be anything they can pile into a pitta, wrestle into a wrap or bung into a bap. Plus it needs to be simple – remember you can fill in the nutritional gaps with your family food so this just really needs to be ‘good enough’. So chunks of fresh chicken, fresh salad – a bag will do – you could be on the side chopping tomato and cucumber otherwise it might not appear! Sticking it all together with hummus or some fresh salsa is a good idea. Try and steer away from too much cured meat such as ham and salami. Cold pizza can be a good one as it’s not considered ‘healthy’ so street cred in tact but it can be a great excuse to pile on the veggies and maybe some salmon, peas, chopped peppers, red onion and so on. I would also recommend making double quantities as so often lunch is eaten at morning break leaving them starving by the time they leave school and heading for the chippy! Aaargh!! If there’s a second bap or wrap waiting at the bottom of their bag then the gap can be well filled.

Reassuringly fruit still seems to be sociably acceptable so do pile them with that – even if they eat it on the bus to and from school!

Also be reassured that, although we lose some control over their nutrition when they are out and about, we can absolutely make up for it when they are home and they will thank you for good, wholesome family food”

If you are worried about your family’s diet – come and see us for a DIET MOT or contact us

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