Hidden truth behind childrens packed lunches!

As its the last blog of the 'summer holidays with the kids' series and school has just started up again you may now be thinking about the foods you are going to send your kids to school with. Are you sure you know the true nutritional content of your childs packed lunch?

If you buy pre-packaged foods specifically aimed at children, you may be surprised at just how unhealthy those little packets are. Its really important to try to avoid processed foods as much as you can such as Dairylea, Frubes and Fruit Shoots. A little Petits Filous Frube for example contains almost 2 teaspoons of sugar! Thats a lot considering a child of 4-6 years should ideally have no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar daily or a 7-10 year old no more than 6 teaspoons daily. (www.nhs.uk) Just remember this: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon sugar.

A typical daily intake of sugar for a child could look something like this:

Breakfast = Bowl of coco-pops with milk (4 teaspoons)

Morning snack= Club Chocolate bar (2 teaspoons)

Lunch = Munch Bunch yogurt, Ham sandwich, Frube (5.5 teaspoons

Dinner = Chicken Pasta and tomato sauce (2 teaspoons)

That all adds up to a whopping 13.5 teaspoons of sugar and excludes any other additional food items or sugary drinks (fizzy drinks/squash) that they may consume throughout the day. The occasional sugary snack is not going to do much damage, but a daily high consumption of sugar can lead to health implications.  Please see this excellent article on the dangers of excess sugar (articles.mercola.com/sites/.../07/.../high-sugar-diet-gut-bacteria.aspx).

How about including more veg such as cucumber and carrot sticks, sliced radishes and celery or cherry tomatoes.  Keeping some of last nights leftovers also is a convenient way to make up a quick packed lunch. (Cold meatballs, sliced chicken breast, falafels or a hard boiled egg cooked the night before are good examples). If the children fancy a sweet treat once in a while why not bake a homemade cake using half the required sugar (it will still taste just as good) slice it into portions then freeze it and just pull out a piece when required.

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