Healthy-kids

Healthy School Snacks For Kids

Packing your kids a healthy and tasty school snack is often a rarity. They either come home with the same packed lunch which as been left untouched, or bought something from the school’s canteen. Stick to simple foods with lots of vibrant colours that will no doubt catch their interest.

Fruit salad

Fruits are nutritious snacks which are packed with energy and taste super sweet which children love. Depending on what season we’re in and what’s on offer at the supermarket, try to make a vibrant fruit salad and be sure to include some of your child’s favourites into the mix. Grapes, watermelon slices and apple are hassle free and don’t require forks and other utensils either. Simply pack them into a zip lock bag and they’re sure to be a hit.

Sweet potato fries

Fries are always well received by children, but try the healthier route and cook them up some sweet potato chips instead. They are healthier than your regular potato and are filled with necessary vitamins and nutrients but still taste like a regular chip. Just prepare them the night before, and store in your children’s lunch box.

Mini pizzas

Prepare mini pizzas which are yummy and nutritious for lunch or dinner snacks. Pop on some of your child’s favourite toppings, and try to include cooked capsicum and carrot for an extra boost of vitamin C. Create a design such as funny faces with your child the night before, and let them help out to create their perfect mini pizza.

Yoghurt

Nothing beats a yummy yoghurt for a healthy snack at any time of the day. Packed with fruits and has a creamy consistency, they are a rich source of calcium and contribute to healthy teeth and bones.

These are just a few suggestions which are easy to prepare, and will give your child a boost of energy at school. If your child is picky with vegetables, add a few pieces of carrot and cucumber to a fruit salad. It will even out the sugary treats and give them a portion of their daily serving of vegetables.

What are some of your favourite school-snacks for kids? Share with us in the comments below. 

Image via Chef Mom

By Felicia Sapountzis

May 19, 2014

10 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

We know what it’s like – you go to the trouble of packing an interesting lunch with a variety of foods, only to find it comes back home at the end of the day half eaten, rotten and squashed in the bottom of the school bag. With the countless other issues piled on your shoulders, the next day it seems easier to revert to the basics.

But it’s important to push on through – the food you send to school can contribute to at least a third of your child’s daily food intake. So packing a balanced lunchbox is important to make sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need to grow up big and strong. On the plus side, healthy kids eat to hunger and won’t voluntarily starve themselves. So if you offer a healthy lunch box and avoid adding all the pre-packaged goodies they pester you for – they’ll eat it if they’re hungry. Good job mum!

When it comes to making your child’s lunch there are two rules Healthy Kids Association suggest you follow:

  1. When putting the lunch box together, choose a food from each of the five food groups: grains and cereals, protein, fruit, vegetables and dairy.
  2. Don’t demonise food – if you want to give your child one of their favourite ‘extra’ foods  (such as a small packet of chips or a sweet biscuit) that’s fine, but we recommend doing so only once a week and keep the portion small. As a guide, stick to serves  less than 600kj.

A note on drinks: we hope that all children drink water everyday. In addition, it’s OK to occasionally offer them fruit juice, as long as it’s 99% fruit juice and no more than 200mls. In the menu plan below, we offer it once a week. As for milk, studies show children are not getting enough calcium. Kids need calcium to encourage strong bone growth (especially teenagers!) and tooth enamel. Plain reduced fat milk for children over the age of two is ideal, but if your child won’t drink it, offering flavoured milk ensures they’re getting the calcium they need. If you’re worried about it staying cold and fresh, freeze it the night before.

Need some more  lunch box ideas? The following menu will keep you going for the next two weeks:

  Main Lunch Snack Fruit Drink (in addition to water)  Extra Snack
Mon Chicken, hummus and tomato sandwich Reduced fat cheese stick Apple Chocolate flavoured reduced fat milk Air popped popcorn
Tues Ham, reduced fat cream cheese and salad wrap Sultana snack pack Fruit salad Water Dry breakfast cereal
Wed Pesto pasta salad with chicken and capsicum Reduced fat yoghurt Orange 99% fruit juice (200ml or less) Vegetable sticks with dip
Thurs Egg, celery and reduced fat mayonnaise sandwich Homemade pita chips with hummus Frozen grapes Reduced fat plain milk Tinned fruit in juice
Fri Tuna, corn, lettuce and reduced fat mayonnaise wrap Reduced fat cheese with crackers Fruit kebab Water Muesli bar (weekly extra)
Mon Ham and sweet corn frittata Reduced fat custard Banana Water Rice crackers or cakes with dip
Tues Chicken salad with chick peas, baby spinach and pumpkin Vegetable sticks with dip Fruit salad Strawberry flavoured reduced fat milk Reduced fat yoghurt
Wed Tuna and sweet potato patties Reduced fat cheese stick Frozen melon balls Water Fruit spice English muffin
Thurs Turkey, tomato, spinach and reduced fat cheese sandwich Avocado, carrot and lettuce rice paper rolls Apple Reduced fat plain milk Reduced fat custard
Fri Sweet chilli chicken and lettuce wrap Muesli and reduced fat yoghurt Kiwi fruit and strawberries 99% fruit juice (200ml or less) Small packet potato chips (weekly extra)

It’s “FRUIT & VEG MONTH”! Download our parent pack and enter our competitions – there are great prizes to be won, including 50% off a fruit and veg box for everyone who downloads a pack. Get started eating more fruit and veg now – visit Healthy Kids. Want more nutritional ideas? Follow Healthy Kids Association on Facebook.

August 22, 2013

Fight Childhood Obesity with Good Nutrition for Kids

Childhood obesity is a worldwide epidemic with disastrous implications. Being obese greatly increases your chances of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, joint problems and even some cancers. Most ominous is the fact that obese children have a very high likelihood of growing up to be obese adults.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2007-2008, one quarter of children in Australia are considered to be overweight or obese. That’s an increase of four percentage points since 1995, or 600,000 children between the ages of 5 and 17. What can you do to prevent your children from becoming part of those statistics?

The two most important factors in raising healthy kids are exercise and nutrition. Children start developing lifelong habits while very young, and you want the ones they develop to be healthy ones. Here are a few tips for feeding your kids the right foods.

Protein

See that your children get an adequate supply of protein for growth of their bones and muscles. Good sources of protein are lean meat and poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, peas and nuts. Avoid processed meats, fatty cuts and fast food.

While some people think that you need large amounts of meat to get sufficient protein in your diet, there are alternate sources that offer less fat, hormones and preservatives. Consider having a meat-free meal once a week, using ingredients like legumes and nuts for protein.

Fruits and vegetables

Make sure your kids eat a variety of these every day. Introduce new ones regularly so they develop a taste for more than just a few fruits and veggies. Serve dark green leafy vegetables as often as possible.

Prepare vegetables as simply as possible, without too many additional fats and calories. Use your imagination when looking for new ways to up your kids’ intake of vegies. How about keeping cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks cold in the fridge for healthy, fast snacks?

Grains

Pass up the over-processed grain products like white bread or sweetened cereal and instead serve whole-grain choices like oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn and whole grain bread.

Porridge doesn’t have to be boring—add honey or fruit for natural sweetening. Plus, oatmeal cookies are a snack that’s packed with nutrition and fiber!

Dairy

While dairy products are a good source of important nutrients, they can also be high in fat. Encourage your kids to drink low-fat milk and eat low-fat cheeses in moderation.

Dairy foods high in calories like ice cream and fatty cheeses should be saved for special occasions. As long as they’re eating healthy kids food every day, a treat now and then won’t hurt.

Avoid empty calories

Here are a few foods you should allow only in very limited amounts, because they’re high in fats, salt and sugar: soft drinks, cake, pizza, butter, fried foods, lollies and processed meats. None of these qualify as nutritious kids food.

Soft drinks are considered to be the number-one culprit in the epidemic of childhood obesity, since they’re full of high fructose corn syrup and have little or no nutritional value. Try to keep your kids away from soft drinks as long as you can—you’ll be doing them a favour in the long run.

How do you get your kids to eat healthy? Share your tips below!

July 30, 2013