Preparing Healthy Meals At Home
Healthy Home

Does your child grab a bite at the school canteen during recess? What does he/she usually buy? Despite most school canteens trying hard to offer the best food they can, not everything on offer is an appealing and healthy food choice. When your child feels hungry, he/she can easily give in to temptation and make a less than healthy food choice. As parents, you are responsible for your child’s attitude toward eating healthy meals. Start by emphasising this at home, and prepare some healthy home-cooked food for him/her to bring to school.

Here are some reasons why you should prepare healthy packed food for your child:

To control food choice

Nasi lemak, fried noodle, fried chicken, nuggets are common foods that can be purchased by your child from the canteen. These foods are usually high in salt and fat and are less healthy. You can have better control on the type of food your child eats by packing healthy food for your child to bring to school. Healthy sandwiches, cereals, or boiled sweet corns are examples of better choices that will keep your child’s hunger pangs away.

To add variety

It does not hurt to enjoy the occasional serving of fried noodle, nasi lemak or noodle curry. However, they are less healthy if your child eats them all the time. Bringing home-cooked foods allows your child to enjoy his/her favourite foods that might not be found at school, like chicken porridge, home-made mashed potatoes or pita bread with cheese and tuna fillings.

Besides ensuring to offer variety choices, here are some other guidelines to create packed meals that are fresh, healthy and cost-effective. Keep these useful guidelines in mind when packing your child’s food: (attached some healthy lunchbox pictures)

6 healthy packed lunches

  • Plan the menu 2 -3 days in advanced. Prepare ingredients like onions, carrot, boiled eggs the night before and store them in airtight containers in the fridge.;
  • Wake up earlier in the morning to prepare the food. In order to prepare a fresh and nutritious packed meal for your child, you may need to sacrifice some of your sleeping time.;
  • Your child might get bored eating the same sandwich everyday. You can make that simple sandwich stand-out by using a cookie cutter to create exciting shapes that your child will love and vary the sandwich fillings such as eggs, sardines, tuna, cheese and so on. In this way, you could control the amount of salt and fat used to prepare the sandwiches.;
  • Prepare extra food and encourage your child to share it with his/her friends. The joy of sharing can help work up his/her appetite.;
  • Pack your child’s food in a colourful and cute lunch box to make it more appealing.;
  • Use a thermos for hot foods and foods that may spoil easily like soup, cooked pasta, coleslaws and fruit salads. A thermos is also good for smoothies and milk.;
  • Sometimes your child needs a little love and encouragement during the school day. Leaving a short note to your child that is filled with love and warmth can help to lift up and inspire him/her. As a parent, you will feel a sense of comfort knowing that your child is reading your note when he/she is enjoying the packed meal.;
  • On days that you are busy, you may also prepare healthy ready-to-eat meals using ingredients such as wholegrain cereal, wholemeal bread, plain high-fibre crackers with cheese slices, UHT milk and a banana or apple for your child to bring to school

Bringing packed food to school gives you the benefit of ensuring that your child can eat healthier foods that you have prepared. For some simple healthy recipes, you may refer to the recipes section at (link to the recipe site). You can prepare healthy packed food for your child twice a week if you are busy. So, don’t hesitate, let’s start to pack a healthy food for your child to bring to school tomorrow!  

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