AMN: Why is it important for our kids to eat right while they are at school?
Mandy Sacher: During my professional career as a Paediatric Nutritionist, I’ve seen that school children who eat healthy, nourishing and filling lunch meals are more likely to have stable moods, better concentration levels, perform better at exams and have more energy throughout the day.Unfortunately, children’s lunch boxes are often filled with sugary foods such as jam or honey sandwiches, which do not provide children with long-lasting energy and can cause drops in blood sugar levels. When a child’s blood sugar levels drop they can become lethargic, irritable and often lack concentration. Another common factor among children’s lunch boxes is they lack the right amount of protein.Childhood is a crucial time for proper nutrition to support continued growth and physical development, therefore a child’s lunch box should contain a good balance of proteins, healthy fats, slow-release carbohydrates and vegetables.
AMN: What are your top lunch box snacks for kids?
Mandy Sacher: Healthy snacks are important part of a lunch box, however it’s really important to also include a substantial main meal in order to keep children sustained throughout the day. Sandwiches are the most popular choice amongst Australian schoolchildren. That’s why I partnered with ALDI to develop a formula for the perfect sandwich, which ticks all the boxes and that parents can easily follow to prepare an endless number of different nutritious options that cater to their children’s specific tastes and dietary needs.2 wholegrain/sourdough bread slices + 1 Protein + 1 Healthy Fat +2-3 Vegetables = The Perfect SandwichThis ratio contains the perfect combination of healthy, slow release wholegrain to stabilise blood sugar levels; protein to help with alertness and endurance; healthy fats to increase satiety, stabilise mood and boost concentration levels; and vegetables, which contain fibre, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients to ensure a healthy immune system.Along with a sandwich or a main meal, a lunch box needs to also include snacks such as a nut-free trail mix, natural yoghurt, piece of fresh fruit, boiled egg and vegetable sticks.My favourite snack options to put in children’s lunch boxes, include:
•Emporium Selection Bocconcini
•Just Organic Natural Yogurt with Just Organic Pure Australian Honey
•Damora Plain Rice Crackers
•Oh So Natural Sunflower Seeds
•Just Organic Organic Raisins
•Oh So Natural Goji Berries
•Willowton Free Range Chicken (breast), 65g-100g or size of child’s palm, leftovers/cooked to preference
•Beautifully Butterfully Butter (unsalted), 1 tsp or avocado, 1/4 slice
•Tomato, 3 slices
•Cucumber, 3 slices
•Beautifully Butterfully Butter, unsalted 1 tsp
•Baby spinach, 1/4 cup
•Red or Green capsicum, 2 slices
•Just Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1.5 tsp
•Lettuce, 2-3 leaves
•Basil, 2-3 leaves
•Tomato, 2-3 slices
•Lettuce, 2-3 leaves
•Grilled mushrooms, 1-2 sliced