The final term of the school term started today and NSW Health is reminding parents and carers to consider healthy food options for their children’s lunchboxes.
Executive Director of the Centre for Population Health, Dr Jo Mitchell, said parents and carers can take small, inexpensive steps to making their children’s school lunch healthier.
“Replacing unhealthy foods like sugar sweetened drinks and salty snacks with healthier options like fresh fruit, cheese and milk or water can lead to big changes on how kids view food,” Dr Mitchell said.
“Children need the right fuel to stay healthy and perform their best and good habits that are formed early are likely to continue through life.”
Dr Mitchell said research has shown that rates of overweight and obesity in children has stabilised in NSW, but it is still a cause for concern.
“We know that obesity in early life has immediate health impacts and is linked to a range of health concerns through to adulthood.
Some healthier options for the school lunchbox include:
- Wholegrain wraps and sandwiches with fillings such as cheese, meat, egg or tuna and salad;
- Tub of yoghurt with fresh fruit;
- Chopped veggies and hummus dip;
- Reduced fat cheese and wholegrain crackers; and
- Fresh and easy to eat fruit such as bananas, grapes, mandarins or a cut-up orange. Pasta salad and water.
It’s best to avoid occasional foods such as sweet or savoury biscuits and chips in the lunchbox and make sure packaged snacks such as muesli bars or air popped popcorn come with a Health Star Rating of 3.5 stars or above.
With the weather heating up, it’s also important to remember to pack a frozen drink bottle or freezer brick inside the lunchbox next to foods that should be kept cold.
In 2018/19 the NSW Ministry of Health has allocated $25 million for the prevention of childhood obesity.
For more information on healthy school lunchbox choices go to the Healthy Kids website. www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au