Thursday, March 17, 2022

Creating Healthy and Balanced Lunches for Your Kids


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When you have children, your whole world changes. Their wants and needs become your priority and you’ll do anything you can to make sure that you’re providing them with the best upbringing possible. A huge part of providing your little ones with the best is ensuring that they get a good, healthy and balanced diet. Now, this is easier said than done. Nowadays, we’re tempted left, right and centre with options that class as junk food and, unfortunately, many options that are advertised in a way to look healthy and balanced are actually nutritionally devoid or packed with excess levels of salts, sugars and saturated fats. When your child is eating in the house, it can be easy to manage what they’re eating, checking ingredients and ensuring that options are nutritional and good. But when they’re at school or other locations, you can feel this control slip from your grasp. Instead, why not pack their lunches for them while they’re out and about? This can help you to provide them with meals and snacks that are actually good for them!

Know Your Recommended Calories

Start out by understanding how much your child should be eating to fuel them through the day while maintaining a healthy weight. This can prevent undereating or overeating and can inform you as to how much you should be putting in your child’s lunchbox. Here are some recommendations based on factors such as age and activity levels.

  • Children aged 2 to 8 - 1000 to 1400 calories

  • Girls aged 9 to 13 - 1400 to 1600 calories

  • Boys aged 9 to 13 - 1600 to 2000 calories

  • Active women aged 14 to 30 - 2400 calories

  • Sedentary women aged 14 to 30 - 1800 to 2000 calories

  • Active men aged 14 to 30 - 2800 to 3200 calories

  • Sedentary men aged 14 to 30 - 2000 to 2600 calories

Keep It Balanced

You don’t need to pack your kids’ lunchboxes with purely fruit, vegetables and completely healthy whole foods. Moderation is key. You need to make sure that they’re enjoying their food at the same time as staying within their recommended daily calorie intake and getting all the nutrients their body needs. So, keep things healthy, but there is still room for a small fresh fruit tart, other dessert or snack.

Mix Things Up

Variety is key to a healthy diet too. Rather than giving your little one the same old sandwich every day - even if it is healthy - try to keep things interesting and switch the options up throughout the week. One day offer a sandwich, sure. But another, consider a healthy pasta. The next you could choose a wrap. The next, sushi. The list of options goes on.

Alternative Snacks

Keeping the main body of your child’s lunch - the sandwich, pasta, sushi and so on - healthy can be simple. It’s the side snacks that people often struggle with, only really being familiar with cakes, chocolate bars and crisps. Instead, consider healthier alternatives. Vegetable crisps, crackers with dips like hummus and more. This will still be delicious but will offer your little one more nutrients.

These are just a few suggestions, but each can make all the difference to your little one’s health and wellbeing!

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