This week, my grandchildren taught me some important lessons about how to pack a school lunchbox. With ever increasing knowledge of children's allergies every consideration needs to be given to what can be included and what should not.
You know how they say "common sense is not so common" A few common sense statements I found this week included - Use an insulated lunch box or carry bag to keep food cool just in case there is no fridge available.
Use a frozen ice brick or frozen drink bottle in the lunch box. Chill cooked foods (i.e. boiled eggs) before packing in the lunch box.
A no nut product policy sent me to the shopping isle to read packaging labels, many had ambiguous statements which indemnified the manufacturers such as "this product may contain nuts" or "this product is packaged in an environment that includes nut products". These items were left on the shelf, just in case.
In an effort to educate myself I took to the Internet, it was recommend a child's lunch box contain 5 important ingredients -
Protein – to keep children feeling full for longer, as protein takes a long time to digest.
Carbohydrates – for energy.
Dairy – providing vitamins and minerals encouraging strong bones and healthy teeth.
Fibre – which provides bulk for healthy digestion, and fruit and veg are packed full of vitamins and minerals.
And of course the all important water.
Power foods are great for packed lunches and many come naturally packaged, consider Avocado's, they are full of fibre and can be used as alternative to butter on sandwiches or mashed and stored in a container as a dip.
Eggs are great brain food for children; eggs are high in protein, which helps with memory and concentration levels.
Yoghurt contains active live cultures, which promote healthy digestion and help ward off viruses and infections by boosting children's natural immunity.
Fresh fruit is of course a must in the lunch box and what could be better than a banana or mandarin, not only healthy but ready wrapped by nature.
Bread is always a big part of our packed lunch, instead of white sliced I was challenged to consider bagels, wraps, multigrain sandwich crackers, pitta bread, hot cross buns, scones and pikelets.
This is the overall school lunch box lesson I learned this week, when babysitting your grandchildren, get mum to pack lunch before they arrive.