With a new school year looming, the decision of what to send for school lunches every day starts all over again.
While it can be tempting to resort to quick and easy lunches, there’s some things that just shouldn’t be included in the school lunch box.
Trying to come up with lunch box ingredients can be overwhelming and confusing. Most Australian schools and preschools have strict guidelines on what you should and should not include in your child’s lunch box. So to make your job a bit easier, let’s take a look at what you shouldn’t be sending to school for your child to eat.
With the high incidence of nut allergies in children, most schools have policies to reduce the amount of nut products consumed on school grounds. For older children who can self-regulate what they eat, this isn’t generally a problem, but for younger children who may not be aware or be able to identify nut dangers, it’s important to place consideration on nut products within your child’s lunch box whether they have an allergy or not.
Look out for things like health bars and muesli bars which often contain nuts. Similarly, limit the use of peanut butter or even nutella on sandwiches and crackers as these pose a danger to affected children.
Meats and leftovers in uncooled lunchboxes
While ham sandwiches are an old school favourite, on a hot day, the long wait in the lunch box can turn an innocent sandwich into a toxic feast. Be aware when providing your children with deli meats or leftovers from home that when stored in a warm environment, bacteria grows rapidly and can cause food poisoning. Consider this when including other items such as dairy. These are great lunch box inclusions, but you must be sure to include a frozen drink or ice brick inside to keep the items cool until they can be eaten.
High sugars and fatty foods
While sugary foods are a real favourite with kids, they do little to sustain them long-term throughout the school day. On the contrary, sugary foods will give a fast sugar rush before leaving your child feeling drained and lethargic. Fatty foods such as potato chips also cause the same problem. Limit the fruit bars, chips and other sugary or fatty gimmicks that are placed in the lunch box, instead saving them for an occasional treat.
Be sure to pack a lunch box that is age appropriate for your child. If you do need to resort to placing packets into your child’s lunch, be sure they are able to open them independently. Alternatively, instead of sending things like packets of chips, try zip lock bags filled with pretzels or dried fruit for an easier and healthier solution.