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How to make a healthy lunchbox

With the School Holidays coming to an end, it's vitally important to make sure that your children are getting the optimal nutrition for learning, cognition and development while they are at school.

1. Start with a serve of Vegetables

The main component of the lunchbox should be the vegetables. Aim for 1 cup of vegetables for e.g some cherry tomatoes, carrot, cucumber, celery or capsicum sticks with some hummus or guacamole dip.

It's important to get your kids eating lots of varieties of fruit and vegetables from an early age. The best way is to get them involved and choosing what goes in their lunchbox so it empowers them and makes then feel like they are having a say in what they eat. Give them 2 or 3 options for example say - "Would you like a banana, apple or pear in your lunchbox today" - this way they are all great options that you would be happy with them having any of them but they still feel like they are choosing and are therefore more likely to eat it.

2. Then add a snack - a piece of fruit with either some nuts or organic popcorn

The statistics say that only one third of children under the age of 18 are eating the recommended 2 pieces of fruit per day. An easy way to get children excited about fruit is to get them to pick a fruit of the week that they whole family eats and to learn all about it - the origin, the vitamins and minerals that it is high in and what it areas of the body it can help. A handful of nuts such as cashews, macadamias or almonds will provide a great source of Omega 3 to help with brain development and function or a piece of fruit will provide long lasting energy to get them through the day.

3. Add a wrap or sandwich with some lean protein

Next have a wholegrain or multigrain sandwich or wrap with some lean protein such as tuna, chicken, beef or salmon. Also emphasising here is the salad and vegetables. For example a chicken wrap with some lettuce, avocado and tomato is a great lunchbox idea. The wholegrain bread a good source of low GI carbohydrates that will keep them energised and be able to concentrate and learn the whole day, lean protein in the chicken to keep them full throughout the afternoon and Omega 3's in the avocado to help with their memory, concentration and brain development.

4. Don't forget the water

As kids are busy playing sports and running around after their friends making sure that they drink lots of water and keep well hydrated throughout the day is vitally important. Being sure to not including soft drinks or fruit drinks in their lunchbox is a great way to ensure that they aren't overloading on sugary snacks and won't set them up for unhealthy habits later on in life.

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