The perfect lunch box contain:
- 1serving of a protein rich food.
- 1 serving of carbohydrate or starchy food
- 1 serving of a calcium rich food.
- 1 serving of vegetables
- 1 drink
1. Protein foods: Foods in this group include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts. This food help for vital and development of child’s brain. It is not correct that if child will eat more protein they will grow quickly.
For children 4 to 8 years, servings may be,
- 1 slice lean cooked meat
- 2 thin slices cooked poultry
- 1/2 fillet fish
- 1 egg
- for veggie 2 tbsp lentils or beans
For children aged 9 to 11 years, servings may be,
2. Carbohydrate foods: These food will help steady stream of energy and also help in keep sugars level balanced. They typically found in unrefined and wholegrain foods, which are rich in fiber and other nutrients than their refined form. Typically slowly released carbohydrates are, oats, wholewheat breads, baked products, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and potatoes with skin. While fast realizing carbohydrates are, high sugar foods like biscuits, cakes and foods contain unrefined sugar and white flour and high fats like croissants.
As a general guide, children over the age of 5 years should be eating two third wholegrain foods like, whole wheat pasta, and whole wheat bread with one third while flour, pasta, rice etc. Make sure you include slow release carbohydrate in your child’s diet with protein diet combination.
For children 9 to 11 years, servings may be,
Fiber foods:This is important for good digestion, slow down the release of the sugar in the blood stream, helps in removing body toxins and feeds beneficial bacteria that are found in gut. If this fibers are less in diet child cause constipation problem.
Fruits and vegetables: Everyone know about the recommended 5 a day, but perhaps not everyone realizes that this includes frozen, dried, and tinned fruit. This average fruit and vegetable consumption among British children is 2 servings a day- a long way from the recommended. Every packed lunch should ideally have 1 piece of fruit and a servings of vegetables. To help your child reach the 5 a day target.
Vegetables and fruits: For children aged 4 to 8 years, servings are,
- 1small carrots
- 2 tbsp peas or sweet corn
- 3 or 4 cherry tomatoes
- 1 small fruit like plum or kiwi
- 1 satsuma or orange or 1 banana
- 6 to 7 strawberries
- 1 small glass fruit juice.
For children aged 9 to 11 years, servings are,
- 3 tbsp peas or sweet corn
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 1 plum or kiwi or satsuma or 1 orange or 1 banana
- 10 strawberries
- 1 glass fruit juice.
Calcium: Calcium is vital for healthy bones and teeth and also involved in maintain normal nerve and muscle function. Avoid any yoghurt with artificial preservative or color or flavor or with sweeteners. Try adding fresh fruit purees to give flavor. Home made milk shakes or smoothies can also be great way of adding calcium to your young child’s diet.
For children aged 5-8 years, a serving is,
- 1 small cup of milk,
- 1 pot of yoghurt,
- 1 cheese slice ( mild cheddar)
- 1-2 tinned sardines( with bones mashed)
For children 9-11 years, a servings is,
- 1 medium cup of milk,
- 1 pot of yoghurt,
- 1-2 slices of cheese ( mild cheddar)
- 2 tinned sardines (with bones mashed)
Children are vulnerable to the side effects of too much salt in their diet, and should limit their intake. But the reality is that many children in the UK are actual eating more like 10-12 gm per day.
- High salt foods are, crisps salted nuts.
- Some food that also contain salt like cereal bars, baked goods, tinned foods like tuna in brine, soup in tin, baked beans.
- sauces like soya sauce, tomato ketchup
- Processed meats like salami, bacon
- Salt intake should be,
- For children aged 4 -6 years : 3gm per day
- For children aged 7 -10 years : 5gm per day
- For children aged 11 -14 years : 6gm per day
- According to the Food Standards Agency recommended that you look at labels on food, see the following correct amount is,
- In 100gm of food: more than 1.25 gm is HIGH and less than 0.25 gm is LOW.
- Sodium: 1 gm of sodium is equivalent to 2.5 gm salt,
- More than 0.5 gm is HIGH and less than 0.1 gm is LOW.
Sugar: Like salt, too much refined sugar can be bad for children. Refined sugar provides very small nutrition, except calories. Unrefined sugar ( brown) does provide a few nutrients but should be keep on sensible limit. Some product contains hidden sugar like yoghurts, baked beans, cereal bars and more. This sugary product you don’t know. Too much sugar in your child’s diet can cause swings in blood sugar levels, which can lead to poor concentration, bad behavior, low energy levels, tooth decay, obesity and more.
- The World Health Organization recommends that adults and children should get no more than 10 per cent of their calories from sugar.
- Sugar Intake: Keep low intake of sugar,
- For children aged 4-6 years : 40gm (2.5 tbsp) per day.
- For children aged 7- 10 years : 46gms (3 tbsp) per day.
- For children aged 11- 14 years : 50gms (3.5 tbsp) per day.
- The Food Standards Agency recommends that,
In 100gms of food more than 10 gm is HIGH and less than 2gm is LOW.
- Note: Check food labels for the following – sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fruit syrup (fructose) and glucose, which are all forms of sugar.