Registered dietitian Roxane Bakker says an easy way to ensure your child eats everything you give them is to pick options they like, rotating them daily, and repeating weekly
With the autumn school term near approaching, it’s almost time to start preparing packed lunches again.
But for parents with fussy kids’, it can be incredibly challenging to find foods that you can rely on to fill them up and that they’re going to enjoy.
Roxane Bakker, Registered Dietitian at www.Vitl.com, spoke to Daily Star about this problem.
She said: “We all know that kids can be fussy eaters!
“Whilst it’s easy to pack kids off with sugary snacks and other foods that you know they love, it’s important to make sure they are getting the essential nutrients that they need.”
The trick, according to Roxane, is to stick with foods that you know your child likes.
She explains: “Try to avoid giving your child a food they are unfamiliar with as this may increase the chances of them not eating it.
“Children love repetition so although you may think that they have had enough of the ham & cheese sandwich after a whole week of it, this is often not the case!”
Instead she recommend using a different sandwich filler for each day of the week and repeating this cycle, so they still have variety.
Roxane also revealed which foods you should be stocking up on when it comes to filling their packed lunches.
She recommends plenty of immune system-boosting foods, calcium-rich products and complex carbohydrates as well as fruits and vegetables to keep them full all day long.
Roxane said: “As we come to the end of the summer holidays the cold and flu season is upon us once more and with immunity being a bigger topic this year than ever, it’s essential to pack the right foods that can support not only a child’s growth and cognitive development but also support the immune system.
“When packing your child’s lunch think of using ‘whole’ foods as much as possible.
“Complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, potatoes & wholegrain rice should be seen as the base to any meal as this will supply the bulk of energy to your growing child.
“Wholegrain varieties are healthier, containing more fibre which will keep hunger at bay for longer as well as supporting the child’s microbiome which is the focal point of the immune system.”
Roxane says that you should aim to include at least two to three portions of fruit and veg ands foods rich in vitamins such as vitamin C, E, & A in packed lunches.
Roxane added: “Dairy shouldn’t be forgotten about, the recommendation is to have 3 servings of calcium-rich foods a day such as 150ml glass of milk, a small pot of yoghurt and a small matchbox sized piece of cheese.
“If cow’s milk allergy is a problem non-dairy alternatives can be given however these need to be fortified with calcium and unsweetened, please speak to a healthcare professional for more advice.
“Protein is an important part of the diet, (whether you choose to give your child animal or plant-based protein) it’s essential for cell growth and repair and should be eaten 2-3 times a day.”
So now you have an idea on what types of food you should be packing, what types of food should you be avoiding?
Unsurprisingly, you should try to steer clear of foods high in fat and sugar.
Roxane added: “Foods which are high in sugar and fat will provide extra energy but little other nutrients.
“Try to avoid foods such as biscuits, sweets, chocolate and cakes as this may lead to tooth decay and will be damaging to overall health (health of blood vessels due to blood sugar spike, higher risk of developing obesity and metabolic syndrome).
“These sweet treats can be enjoyed occasionally, however, it may be best to offer these in a home environment to moderate intake.
“Drinks packed with sugar such as fizzy drinks and squashes should be entirely avoided and drinks such as smoothies and fruit juices should be diluted with water to reduce the calorie and sugar intake.
“The best drinks to offer to your child are water and milk.”
What do you put in your children’s lunch boxes?