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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Back to school 2020: your lunchbox guide

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Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has helped make the daily lunchbox pack a lot easier with healthy lunchbox sessions offered to 22 local schools.

More than 1,500 local families received tips on how to prepare a healthy lunchbox as part of the Live Life Well @ School initiative, which provides support to schools on how to improve students’ health and wellbeing.

WSLHD Centre for Population Health deputy director Christine Newman said packing a healthy and appealing lunchbox can make a big difference in preparing your child for learning at school.
“Finding the time to source, prepare and pack nutritious lunches for kids can be a challenge for many parents but we also know kids can be fussy with their meal choices,” Christine said.

Front row left to right: Mum Samantha Lupica with son Yaari. Back row left to right: Mum Melinda Aslin with daughter Macy
Front row left to right: Mum Samantha Lupica with son Yaari. Back row left to right: Mum Melinda Aslin with daughter Macy

“When children have healthy food, they are generally more alert and focused. They can sustain their concentration for longer, which means they’re more ready to learn and thrive.”

Lunchbox contents can make up a third of a child’s daily nutrients and can provide the energy they need to get through the day.

Seven Hills North Public School principal Renai Diamond recognises the importance of students having a healthy lunchbox.

“We value the opportunity to include healthy lunchbox sessions as part of our kindergarten orientation program,” Renai said.

“The sessions provide useful ideas and tips to help parents create a quick, easy, healthy and delicious lunchbox that their children will love to eat.”

Here are some simple tips to help build healthier eating into lunchbox time:

  • Include something from each food group in the lunchbox – vegetable; fruit; wholegrain bread/cereals (such as a soft wholemeal bread roll or a pita pocket); dairy (such as cheese or yoghurt) and protein rich food (such as a boiled egg, hummus or home-cooked chicken).
  • Try to set a good example with your own lunches. Make it normal to eat healthy foods in front of your kids. They’re more likely to try new foods if they see others eating them.
  • Encourage children to help choose and prepare their own lunch. They might like to make a list of the foods they enjoy.
  • Make sure foods are easy for little fingers – for example, chopped or small fruit and veg (like cherry tomatoes, grapes or carrot sticks).
  • There are limited times for children to eat during the day at school. Children may prefer to play with friends instead of eating. Encourage your child to sit and eat before heading out to play.

Western Sydney Local Health District invests approximately $2 million annually on tackling obesity, and $1.5 million for the Western Sydney Diabetes initiative.

In 2019-20, NSW Health has allocated $36.6 million towards reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Of this, $24.7 million is for the prevention of childhood obesity.

For more easy healthy lunchbox ideas and information on the Live Life Well @ School initiative, check out Healthy Kids Western Sydney and Healthy Lunch Box

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