Victorian State Public Health Nutritionist Veronica Graham takes us shopping for the right foods to include in your childs lunchbox. A healthy lunchbox should include a combination of fruit, vegetables, dairy, protein and carbohydrates, all of which are important for the health and wellbeing of your child.
 

Today we're in the supermarket shopping to make a healthy lunchbox. Every parent wants their child to have a healthy lunchbox and there are lots of reasons why we’d want that.

One, it helps the child learn and concentrate even better, it helps their growth and development and most importantly, it sets up good eating patterns for the rest of their life.

The secret to a really good lunchbox is to be varied and balanced. There are 5 things that should go into the lunchbox every day - a crunchy colourful vegetable, a piece of fruit, go seasonal. Something from the carbohydrate or breads and cereals group – bread, a wrap, rice, pasta. Something from the dairy group such as milk, cheese or a yoghurt. And finally a growing or protein food. That could be an egg, some tuna, some leftover meat or chicken, small can of beans or some hummus. They are all great protein foods.

Finally, every lunchbox needs some water in it - plain water from the tap, perfect!

If you want your child to have a healthy lunchbox, there's only one way that happens - and that is the shopping needs to be healthy too. If you’re home trying to make a healthy lunchbox and you haven’t done a healthy shop, it’s impossible.

So we're here to see what we can put in our shopping basket to make lunches for the week as healthy as possible.

Go for colour when you’re picking your vegetables - children love colour. Capsicums, go with what’s on special - red and green is always good in the lunch, looks gorgeous.

Look for small, lunchbox sized fruit. Little pears or little apples. Today I can see there is a great big bag of small red apples which is perfect for lunchboxes.

The trick with bread is to not always go for the sliced bread - try to vary it up. You can see lots of supermarkets have great variety. For today I will buy some of this Turkish bread and that will be really nice with some dip.

Dairy foods are a fantastic addition to your child's lunch. They are really important for strong bones, strong teeth and for growth and development. Whether you have yoghurt or cheese or milk, they are all good additions. Just remember to pack a freezer block in there to keep it cool throughout the day.

Things best out of the lunchbox are things like lollies and chocolates like this. Crisps and chips, muesli bars, any sort of fruit bars like fruit balls and fruit straps. Sweet drinks, cordials, softdrinks don’t need to be in the lunchbox. You’re much better off with milk or water.

If you're going to include a cake or biscuit in the lunchbox, try and make it a healthy one. If it's a muffin, make it a blueberry and banana muffin. Try to add some fruit into those products and they’ll be much better for the child.


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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: October 2015

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