Emergency, crisis and support services. End of life and palliative care services. Hospitals, surgery and procedures. Planning and coordinating healthcare. Pregnancy and birth services. Lunch box tips Share show more. It is important to keep offering healthy lunch box choices in a variety of ways, as children learn to eat what is familiar to them. Encourage your child to sit and eat before heading out to play, or talk to your school about making sure all children get a chance to eat enough before play starts. Healthy lunches and snacks are important for active children.
It is important to offer healthy lunch box choices. Tips include fresh fruit, crunchy vegetables and a combination of protein, dairy and carbohydrate foods. Eating healthy food helps children concentrate and learn. However, healthy eating changes are not always easy to make.
Try to set a good example with your own lunches. Encourage children to help choose and prepare their own lunch. They might like to make a list of the foods they enjoy. Praise your child when they choose healthy foods for their lunch box. There are limited times for children to eat during the day, especially at school. Children may prefer to play with friends instead of eating.
Foods to put in a lunch box Suggestions include: Food suggestions for lunch boxes There are lots of food choices available for lunch boxes. However, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which foods are healthy choices. Fruit — best choices include fresh or tinned fruit. Dried fruit is sticky and high in sugar, so have it occasionally. Vegetables — try vegetable sticks with dip or a small container with mixed vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, capsicum and cucumber.
Chips and packets of crisps are best left for parties and special occasions. Milk, yoghurt and custard — include a small drink of milk freeze overnight wrapped in a cloth in the lunch box. Fruit yoghurts should be kept cool in an insulated lunch box. Dips, cheese and biscuits — pre-packaged or your own homemade versions of cheese and crackers are fine.
Children enjoy mini packaged cheeses. Avoid sweet dips such as chocolate spreads. Different breads add interest — include a variety of bread, especially if children begin to lose interest in sandwiches. Try bread rolls, pita bread, flat bread, bagels, fruit loaf or buns, foccacias, scones, pikelets, muffins, crumpets, crispbreads, rice cakes or corn thins. Vary the fillings — fillings can include vegemite or other yeast extract, peanut butter, cheese try different types , tuna, egg, sliced cold meats, baked beans, grated carrot and lettuce, chopped roast meat with pickles or chutney, and avocado.
Dips like caviar taramosalata , eggplant, chickpea hommus , cucumber, yoghurt tzatziki or spinach also make good spreads. Avoid chocolate spreads, jams and honey, and fatty meats like salami and strasbourg. Muffins and cakes — try making your own muffins and cakes as a great way to include more fruit and vegetables.
Examples include sultana, carrot, zucchini, banana or pumpkin. Donuts and creamy cakes are best offered at birthdays and special occasions instead of in lunch boxes. Try to avoid muesli bars and chocolate bars in lunch boxes. These are expensive and usually stuck together with fats and sugars. Practical issues for busy families Foods should be simple and easy to prepare, ready to eat and appetising after several hours storage in the lunch box. Suitable foods to freeze include: Food safety in lunch boxes In most cases, food is stored in lunch boxes for several hours, so the lunch box needs to stay cool.
Food safety suggestions include: Choose an insulated lunch box or one with a freezer pack, or include a wrapped frozen water bottle to keep the lunch box cool. Follow hygienic food preparation methods. This is especially important when food will be stored in the lunch box for many hours before eating. Prepare lunches the night before and store in the fridge or freezer. Perishable foods such as dairy products, eggs and sliced meats should be kept cool and eaten within about four hours of preparation.
First cool in the refrigerator overnight. Best drinks for lunch boxes Water and milk are the best drinks for children. They can be frozen to help keep foods in the lunch box cool. Sweet drinks such as fruit juices, juice drinks, cordials, sports drinks, flavoured mineral waters, soft drinks and fizzy drinks are high in sugar and not necessary. These drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay, are filling and may take the place of healthier foods. There may be a variety of reasons why your child does not eat all the food in their lunch box.
The following suggestions may be helpful: The lunch box style — your child may have an issue with their lunch container. They might prefer a brown paper bag or want the latest fashion in lunch boxes to be like the other kids. It may be difficult for them to open.
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Boredom — try to pack a different lunch every day. For younger children, cut the sandwiches in different ways to add interest: Too dry — if they say the filling is too dry, try leaving a sandwich uncut. Some fillings like dips or peanut butter may stay fresher this way. If your child's appetite seems small, offer smaller servings. For example, half a sandwich might be more appropriate than a whole one.
Fiddly and sticky — make sure the foods are manageable and easy to eat. Fruit can be made easier to eat. For example, remove orange peel or cut a kiwifruit in half and include a spoon in the lunch box. Make other meals count — if your child hardly eats anything from their lunch box despite your best efforts, try to at least ensure they have a nutritious breakfast and dinner.
Trust that your child will eat when hungry. School canteens Some schools have a canteen tuckshop , while others may use a local shop or milk bar to provide lunches for children. The individual school needs to decide what types of foods are made available to children. If less healthy foods are available, it is best to choose these foods only occasionally.
For public schools in Victoria, the School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy has been mandatory since and includes a ban on high-sugar drinks and confectionery. This policy was also endorsed by the Catholic Education Office and accepted as a suitable guide for Catholic independent schools. All schools should provide healthy food choices and promote key health food messages to students to align with the policy. Remember that not all children go to school with lunch boxes filled with chips and lollies, despite what your children think and say.
Severe food allergy If your child has a severe food allergy, it is important to develop a management plan with your family doctor, the school, teacher and class. The school or early childhood setting will notify other parents or carers if certain food or drinks need to be kept away from children and limited in the lunch box.
Some schools have a nut-free policy and fillings like peanut butter are not allowed. Plan ahead Write a shopping list and stick to it. Stock up Keep a supply of healthy snacks in your fridge and pantry. Be prepared Always carry healthy snacks with you. Be snack savvy Get to know which snack foods contain hidden salt, fat and sugar. Homemade is best Make your own snacks using a mixture of fresh and baked ingredients.
Put colour in your life Whether at work, school or at home, a bowl or a box of fruit makes a colourful and tempting display. Think about portion size If you really want some of your favourite junk food, read the label and stick to one serve. Don't forget drinks Many drinks on supermarket shelves contain hidden sugar, such as fruit juices.
Listen to your body Are you hungry or are you craving? Healthy lunch boxes for children , Department of Health Victoria. Send us your feedback. Rate this website Your comments Questions Your details.
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If you are looking for health or medical advice we recommend that you: Enter your comments below optional. Did you find what you were looking for? Your feedback has been successfully sent. Healthy eating basics Food types Vitamins and supplements Health conditions and food Food science and technology Planning shopping and cooking Food safety and storage Dieting and diets Nutritional needs throughout life Healthy eating basics Balancing energy in and energy out A kilojoule is a unit of measure of energy, in the same way that kilometres measure distance Children's diet - fruit and vegetables If you eat and enjoy fruit and vegetables every day, your child may eventually follow your lead Dairy and dairy alternatives Dairy products and dairy alternatives are packed with calcium, protein and lots of other essential nutrients.
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Energy in food kilojoules and calories A kilojoule is a unit of measure of energy, in the same way that kilometres measure distance Getting enough protein Protein is an important nutrient that helps your body grow and repair cells. Healthy eating tips A good balance between exercise and food intake is important to maintain a healthy body weight Look after your health at harvest time Farmer health, wellbeing and safety are often neglected when facing the pressures of harvest. Food types Alcohol explained The size of a standard drink can vary according to the type of alcohol Cereals and wholegrain foods Common cereal foods include bread, breakfast cereals and pasta Fats and oils Animal products and processed foods like fried fast food are generally high in saturated fats Fish Eating two or more serves of fish per week can reduce the risk of a range of diseases including dementia, depression and cardiovascular disease Foods from plants and animals Some of the foods we eat come from animals and others come from plants Fruit and vegetables Eating fruit and vegetables can help protect against some diseases including diabetes and some cancers Herbs Use herbs to enhance the flavour of virtually any dish, including desserts Lunch at work Did you know lunch is just as important as breakfast?
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Soft drinks, juice and sweet drinks — limit intake Consumption of drinks containing added sugar is associated with weight gain, reduced bone strength and tooth erosion and decay Vitamins and supplements 10 tips for getting enough vitamin D A balanced UV approach is required to ensure some sun exposure for vitamin D while minimising the risk of skin cancer Antioxidants Antioxidants scavenge free radicals from the body's cells, and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation Calcium If you don't have enough calcium in your diet, your bones will eventually become weak and brittle Folate for pregnant women Even women who aren't planning to have a baby should increase their folate intake in case of unplanned pregnancy Iodine Good sources of iodine include fortified bread and any type of seafood, including seaweed Iron Iron is important for transporting oxygen in the blood Vitamin and mineral supplements Taking vitamin supplements is no substitute for a healthy diet Vitamin B The eight B-group vitamins are essential for various functions within the body Vitamin D A balanced approach to sunlight exposure will help you get enough vitamin D while protecting against skin cancer Vitamin D - maintaining levels in winter video Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, muscles and the nervous system Vitamins - common misconceptions There is no evidence that any one vitamin can slow ageing, restore sex drive or cure infertility Health conditions and food Arthritis and diet No special diet or 'miracle food' can cure arthritis, but some conditions may be helped by avoiding or including certain foods Asthma and food allergies It is important to identify any foods or food chemicals that may trigger your asthma, but this must be done under strict medical supervision Cancer and food Diet can influence your risk of developing some cancers, but there is no evidence that specific foods can cause or cure cancer Cholesterol - healthy eating tips Replacing foods that contain saturated fats with foods that contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help to lower your cholesterol Coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity Coeliac disease is an immune disease caused by gluten Diabetes and healthy eating Healthy eating for people with diabetes is no different than for everyone else Food allergy and intolerance Food allergy is an immune response, while food intolerance is a chemical reaction Food poisoning - prevention You can minimise the risk of food poisoning by taking simple precautions Have you had an allergic reaction to packaged food?
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Mood and food Your mood can affect your food choices, and your food choices may affect your mood Pregnancy and diet Good nutrition during pregnancy can help to keep you and your developing baby healthy Scurvy Scurvy is uncommon in Australia but anyone whose diet is inadequate in vitamin C is at risk Type 2 diabetes - healthy eating and exercise video People with type 2 diabetes talk about positive lifestyle changes that improve their quality of life Food science and technology Carbohydrates and the glycaemic index The glycaemic index GI can be a useful tool to control blood sugar levels Food additives The long-term effects of consuming a combination of different additives in our food are currently unknown Food - genetically modified GM Some foods include ingredients that have been genetically modified GM , or are made using ingredients derived from GM organisms Food irradiation Food irradiation can kill insects, moulds and bacteria, but it cannot kill viruses Food labels Food labels carry useful information to help you make good choices about food Food - pesticides and other chemicals Chemicals such as pesticides, antibiotics and hormones are used to boost food production and ensure adequate food supply Food processing and nutrition Careful cooking and storage will help retain the nutrients in your food Mercury in fish Pregnant women and young children should limit consumption of fish that contain high levels of mercury Protein The human body can't store protein, so it must be supplied daily from the foods we eat Salt Too much sodium salt can cause high blood pressure and many other health conditions Sugar Too much sugar in the diet can contribute to health problems, so limit foods and drinks with high amounts of added sugar Planning shopping and cooking 10 tips for healthy shopping Make a shopping list for healthier food choices Breakfast Children who skip breakfast may lack sufficient vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B Celebrations - Christmas Day the healthy way video Victorian State Public Health Nutritionist, Veronica Graham shows us how to cook a light and healthy Christmas meal without overindulging.
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It usually contains a lot of fat, salt or sugar Food variety and a healthy diet If you eat a variety of good food, your diet will provide you with adequate nutrition Healthy budget - tucker talk tips You can buy more food if you spend most of your money on basic healthy foods like bread, cereals, fruit and vegies Healthy cooking tips Eating healthy food doesn't mean giving up your favourite foods and switching to eating only salads Lunch - avoid the fast food fix video Nutritionist Shane Bilsborough shows us how much energy it takes to burn off a fast food lunch.
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It would be great to serve whole-grain waffles, fresh fruit, and low-fat milk each morning. But it can be difficult to make a healthy breakfast happen when you're rushing to get yourself and the kids ready in the morning and juggling the general household chaos. So try these practical suggestions to ensure that — even in a rush — your kids get a good breakfast before they're out the door:.
If kids aren't hungry first thing in the morning, be sure to pack a breakfast that they can eat a little later on the bus or between classes. Fresh fruit, cereal, nuts, or half a peanut butter and banana sandwich are nutritious, easy to make, and easy for kids to take along. You also may want to check out the breakfasts available at school or daycare. Some offer breakfasts and provide them for free or at reduced prices for families with limited incomes. If your kids eat breakfast outside the home, talk with them about how to make healthy selections.
What not to serve for breakfast is important too. Sure, toaster pastries and some breakfast bars are portable, easy, and appealing to kids. But many have no more nutritional value than a candy bar and are high in sugar and calories. Read the nutrition labels carefully before you toss these breakfast bars and pastries into your shopping cart. The morning meal doesn't have to be all about traditional breakfast items. You can mix it up to include different foods, even the leftovers from last night's dinner, and still provide the nutrients and energy kids need for the day.
Try to serve a balanced breakfast that includes some carbohydrates , protein, and fiber. Carbs are a good source of immediate energy for the body. Energy from protein tends to kick in after the carbs are used up. Fiber helps provide a feeling of fullness and, therefore, discourages overeating.
And when combined with heathy drinks , fiber helps move food through the digestive system, preventing constipation and lowering cholesterol. And don't forget how important your good example is. Let your kids see you making time to enjoy breakfast every day.