If your child is in a child care centre in the Perth area, you probably know it isn’t easy to create healthy lunchboxes for your child on a daily basis. It’s tough to create a healthy lunchbox every day when you already have to go to a job and cook dinner after you come home. Especially when you still have to find quality time to spend with your family in between all of the work. It can be even worse if your child is a “fussy eater.”
This has created quite a dilemma for child care centre workers in Perth and across Australia. Carers across Australia have found it necessary to ask parents to provide their children with healthier food choices in their lunchboxes.
At each Cuddles Childcare Centre in the Perth area, we are available to help parents make better food choices for their children. Here is some information that we hope you find helpful.
Building Healthy Lunchboxes
It can seem like a struggle to make a healthy lunchbox every day. We all want the best for our children and sometimes we spend a lot of time and energy trying to be “too perfect.” Luckily, every lunch doesn’t have to be “perfect.” All you really need to do is try to stay close to the new food pyramid guidelines set forth at the Nutrition Australia website.
Try to use different types of bread, including multi-grain, high fibre and flatbread. Use a variety of fillings, such as cheese, eggs, lean meat, salmon or tuna. Simple vegetables such as celery, carrots, lettuce and tomato provide balance. Use healthy spreads such as cream cheese or vegemite.
Always be careful with snacks. Your child will want as much sugar as possible, making it tough to provide healthy snacks. Opt for yoghurt, fresh fruit, dried fruits, cheese sticks, rice cakes and pikelets.
Try These Sandwich Fillings
While some children like to eat the same thing every day, some require variety. You can try these fillings to find one that works as an “everyday” filling or you can rotate the ones your child likes.
- Cottage cheese and chives.
- Cheese and grated carrot.
- Cheese and chutney.
- Chicken, mayo and chopped celery.
- Tomato and avocado.
- Tuna, mayo and cucumber.
- Chicken and pesto.
Avoid These Foods Whenever Possible
We know your child will want unhealthy food. Sometimes, they can make it difficult for you to provide them with the healthy lunchboxes they need. However, it is important to feed them correctly so they have energy and mental alertness throughout the day.
Avoid salty, fatty meats such as pastrami and salami. Fruit roll ups, muesli bars and biscuits should also be avoided. Processed and packaged foods, while easier on the parent, aren’t really very healthy for children. Lollies and other sweet treats should be saved for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays.
Simple is Better
Your children usually want to finish eating as soon as possible so they can play. If you want to keep them happy, keep their lunchboxes fun and simple. One of the best ways to do this is to give them food that is easy to eat and easy to pick up. Cut their sandwiches into quarters. Avoid unnecessary wrapping that can make food difficult to unwrap. Either cut up fruits such as apples or chose smaller fruits such as berries.
What if Your Child is a Fussy Eater?
It seems like almost every child goes through a phase of being a fussy eater. For most of them, it will pass. Sometimes, children say “no” because they are asserting their independence. They might say “no” to a food one day and ask for it the next day. As they grow older, must fussy eaters stop being so fussy.
If you are struggling with a fussy eater, here are a few strategies that might help.
First, let your child help you fill the lunchbox. That way, they are helping decide what goes in it and are more likely to eat it. If your child won’t try new foods, don’t be disheartened. Keep offering it to them. Some children have to see a new food from 10-15 times before they finally decide to eat it.
Dinnertime is the best time to introduce new foods. This provides them with regular exposure to different smells, tastes and textures.
If your child refuses to eat healthy food, don’t “give in” and offer them sugary or fatty food just to get them to eat. If you do “give in,” it will teach them to refuse healthier foods. Make them eat healthy if they want to eat at all. They won’t miss many meals, despite their threats.
At Cuddles Childcare Centres, We Provide the Meals.
If you are looking for a child care centre in the Perth area where we provide five healthy meals every day, call your nearest Cuddles Childcare Centre. We make sure your child gets healthy foods and we even take care of “fussy eaters.”