Healthy Lunchbox

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

"We are among the obesity champions we are right up there at the top of the league table" Health Professor from Curtin University, Mike Daube believes it's time to stop sugar coating the child obesity message. In the United States confronting TV ads point the finger directly at parents. One in four Australian children aged between five and seventeen are now overweight or obese, and it's fast approaching one in three. "It's really about educating parents in what sort of foods they should be offering to their kids each and every day" Denise Griffiths from the Dietician's Association of Australia believes breaking bad habits begins with back to school. "If they're not eating well at school, they're not eating well overall / it's really important to send your kids off to school with a healthy lunch box"

Like many parents, Tracey Comito dreads packing the daily lunchbox, "it can be difficult just trying to come up with new ideas and the kids seem to change tastes and want what other kids have got" In supermarkets there's now a whole aisle dedicated to fast convenient kids snacks-brightly coloured, branded, pre-packaged products. Denise says "the muesli bars, roll ups bars, the chips the chocolates they're very expensive products, basically what you're paying for is the kilojoules"

There's nothing worse than your child's lunchbox coming home untouched but Tracey refuses to give in to peer pressure. Tracey says "the things I always avoid are packaged foods I just think they are high in sugar and fat … I consider them treat foods for so just weekends and parties not school lunches"When packing your child's lunchbox, Denise suggests following the four F's

Starting with the ... FIVE FOOD GROUPS

"In each lunch box a variety of foods from the five food groups. Some fruit and veg, bread cereals and carbohydrate and protein"

Second ... is FUEL

"If you want your kids to do well academically it's important to fuel them regularly full of foods with vitamins minerals and healthy nutrients"

Thirdly try to make your lunchbox FUN

"If kids get the same thing in the lunchbox everyday they get bored. You can do rolls flat bread different breads and cereals"

And finally remember FOOD SAFETY

"Put a freezer pack into the lunch box maybe in a cooler bag"

So, here are three healthy lunchbox ideas your kids will love, Denise says "this is my suggestion for someone who is starting school, so maybe a child in year one / when they're smaller don't need as much food, wholemeal roll with avocado and lean meat. Snack on and veg and cheese. Rather than one fruit great idea to have some variety.. Young kids love finger food they can just pick at nice and easily."

For middle primary, she suggest being a little more creative.

"Including some salad have a nice funky knife and fork set, still having your sandwich as the base made on wholemeal bread full of nice salad, lean meat stuff like that. Also teaming it with the yoghurt, it's a great idea to buy in bulk then just spoon it out the amount you need for the day"

And finally for the older kids ...

"Instead of a sandwich you can do a wrap they can obviously manage, you can put something from a tin so you can open it such as tuna … that's a great idea, yeah some tuna and crackers. Some vegetable sticks and couple of pieces of fruit"

It might take a bit of extra planning but according to the experts packing a healthy lunchbox could set your child up for a healthier life.