Involving your tamariki in planning and preparing their own lunchboxes helps give them the opportunity to also learn more about healthy eating
Our families provide both lunch for their children along with snacks for their day at kura. We stop for morning tea at 10.50am-11am and then for lunch at 12.35pm-12.50pm.
At Waimarino - National Park School we celebrate our cultural diversity every day through our kai and whether it's a curry, falafel, sandwiches or sushi as long as the kai is healthy, everyone is ka pai.
Please note we do have school community whānau with nut and other food allergies and all our tamariki are taught how to manage this safely in their classes.
We also encourage children not to swap kai and ask that all our tamariki take all their wrappers and left-over food home with them to help support our whānau to monitor eating habits.
Water is encouraged as the best option for drink bottles and adding a dash of lemon/lime juice or a herb such as mint can add touch of flavour.
Involving your tamariki in planning and preparing their own lunchboxes helps give them the opportunity to also learn more about healthy eating and preparing kai can become a fun time for the whānau.
Asking your tamariki what they like in their lunch box and discussing ideas helps directly involve them in the process. This makes them feel included and more likely to eat their food. It’s also a good opportunity to discuss what’s healthy and why it’s important to eat healthy food.
Why not add some vegetables and protein to their sandwich, roll, wrap or pita bread. If your tamariki loves vegemite, why not try adding lettuce or tomato or a combination of other vegetables or, for extra protein, try cheese, hummus, egg or cold meat such as chicken.
Why not make a salad? Or even a salad in a jar! By encouraging your child to help you make it, or make it themselves, and allow them to help choose some or all of the ingredients you may see less left in their lunchbox at the end of the day.
Try cutting vegetables into fun shapes. For example, carrots or cucumbers cut into heart shapes really appeal to younger kids or, try putting small vegetable or fruit pieces on a skewer. Cutting bread or cheese into fun shapes can be especially helpful our little ones.
Adding vegetables to muffins, fish cakes, pikelets or frittatas helps ensure your child is getting their 5+ A Day. If you’re making these for dinner why not make a little extra and then they can go straight into the next day’s lunch box.
Easy snacks like dried fruit and raisins appeal to children. But remember these are high in sugar so should be considered a treat and not an everyday snack.
Varieties with fibre and wholegrains can be good choices, and some crackers are even gluten free. Don’t not to overdo the number you give them, try four or fewer if high in fat/salt, and find healthy toppings like hummus, tomato salsa, cream cheese, vegemite and maybe a little hard cheese with a gherkin on top.
Yoghurt is a great lunch box option, provided it’s low in sugar and fat. Fresh fruit can be added to plain, unsweetened, low-fat yoghurt and a cooler bag or cup can help to keep yoghurt appetising.
If you are looking for a little more inspiration why not check out the 5+ a day website HERE