Last updated on Jun 18th, 2020 at 06:22 am

Want some new ideas for your children’s school lunchboxes? Here are some tasty – and wholesome – school snack options…
Dried-out sandwiches with boring peanut butter or discoloured fillings hardly appeal to a child who needs an appetising, nourishing snack to keep mind and body active.
Mothers in todayâ??s rushed world â?? driving and dropping, shopping, washing and cooking â?? canâ??t be blamed for taking the easy way out and giving their children tuck shop money if their kids keep on returning their lunch boxes with yesterdayâ??s fare untouched.
There are wholesome, tasty and convenient alternatives though, that fulfil the needs for a healthy lunch box â?? everything that spells a good lunch:
L  =   low in calories
U  =   undeniably tasty
N  =   nutritious
C  =   creative
H  =   high fibre.

1. L = low calories

A childâ??s lunchbox should be packed with low calories. High calorie foods like chocolates, chips and biscuits often add up to a lot of excess fat and salt that may lead to obesity and in the longer term also to diabetes and high blood pressure.
A high calorie intake may cause an instant spurt of energy, but will make children sluggish and cranky in the afternoon. High calorie treats should thus be allowed to once in a while, as a real treat instead of everyday lunch box fare.

2. U = undeniably tasty

Lunch should be undeniably tasty too, but with the right fuel to keep your child going for the whole day. Your kids should be looking forward to their lunch and eat whatâ??s been packed.

3. N = nutritional value

Make sure that your kidsâ?? lunch boxes contain foods with high nutritional value

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Cape Town dietetics consultant Megan Pentz-Kluyts says carbohydrates supply the bulk of the energy and is in line with South Africaâ??s national guideline for healthy eating. â??Make starchy foods the basis of most meals,â? the guideline advises.
Bread or other starchy foods such as rice are good sources of carbohydrates. Each lunch box should also contain a source of protein such as meat or boiled eggs. If you donâ??t have time to boil an egg there are easier options, like nuts.
As children also need five servings of food or vegetables a day, it may be practical to add dried mango strips, apple rings or a fruit or vegetable smoothie. Cheese cubes or yoghurt should also be added for your childâ??s calcium intake.

4. C = creative

The C in lunch stands for creative. Peanut butter or jam sandwiches are not. Bran muffins with added fruit, such as pureed apples or banana, or cupcakes with nuts, are creative.
Get your child to share in the fun. You can cut bread, meat and cheese into cubes and slide them on a stick with cherry tomatoes and lettuce in between. Another idea is to use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes for bread and cheese. A bracelet of Montaguâ??s Dried Apple Rings will add a lot of appeal to all these choices.

5. H = high fibre

High fibre is an important requirement, yet lacking in the average South African childâ??s diet. As far back as 2006 an article published in the South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that children between the ages of one and nine had an inadequate intake of the insoluble dietary fibres that are needed to keep digestive systems healthy and able to absorb growth and development nutrients.

A good suggestion is to read food labels and to choose foods with high fibre content

Start the day with a breakfast cereal that contains high fibre, like Weet-Bix, and choose seed loaves, low GI bread and whole wheat and rye from the bread counter. And for those who didnâ??t know, air-popped corn (popcorn) makes a good fibre-rich snack.
Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts offers a good substitute for â??packagedâ?? convenience food and will help your child to stay full for longer. Their raisin snack pack is a nutritional lunch box delight.
They also offer lunch box favourites such as fruit flakes, yoghurt covered nuts and, as that special treat, caramel coated popcorn. For more information visit www.montagudriedfruit.co.za.  

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.