To grow and stay healthy children need to eat a nutritionally well balanced diet. Packed lunches can contribute to almost a third of a child’s weekly food intake and therefore need to be balanced and nutritious.
We aim in Nursery to work in partnership with parents to ensure that children have a balanced meal and develop an understanding of the importance of healthy eating.
A balanced packed lunch box - Children’s packed lunches should include items from the 5 main food groups;
1) Bread, Rice, Potatoes, Pasta. These starchy foods are a healthy source of energy. Packed lunches should include a starch based food item e.g. rice or pasta salad, sandwich,crackers.
2) Fruit and Vegetables. These foods provide vitamins, minerals and fibre. Lunches should include at least 1 portion of fruit and 1 portion of vegetables / salad e.g. carrot/cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, a piece of fruit. Please remember if you are sending in cherry tomatoes or grapes these should be cut in half lengthways from top to bottom as they are a choking hazard when whole.
3) Milk and Dairy foods. These foods provide calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Include 1 portion at lunch e.g. yoghurt or fromage frais. Yoghurts and fromage frais should not have any added sugar in the ingredients.
4) Meat, Fish, Eggs, Beans. These foods provide protein for growth. Packed lunches should include 1 portion of these foods e.g. boiled egg as filling in sandwich, mixed bean salad.
5) Drinks – any drinks provided in lunch boxes should only include either plain water, diluted fresh fruit juice*, fruit or dairy based smoothies. * Current guidance is that children under 5 should only drink diluted fruit juice due to the high natural sugars present.
It is important not to fill up on too many foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt. Limiting high fat, sugar and salty foods will help protect young people from becoming overweight as well as helping prevent tooth decay, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Please do not send any of the following in your child's lunchbox
Please limit the amount of items such as biscuits, cake and crisps you give your child in their lunchbox. You may wish to provide a few crisps or a small cake or biscuit. Dentists advise that the best time to eat sugary foods, and drinks other than water and milk, is with a meal, therefore it is acceptable for your child to have a small sweet item, i.e. cake or biscuit, with their lunch.
If your child is sent with more than one sweet item we will encourage them to choose which they would like and leave the other to eat later at home.
Please remember that pre-packed foods such as crisps and single serve biscuit packs etc. are adult sized portions. Therefore instead of sending the full bag or packet you may wish to divide them to use over a few days i.e. send a few crisps in a plastic container and save the rest for the next day. Alternatively choose smaller versions such as mini muffins rather than full sized muffins when shopping. In the same way whilst an adult would eat a sandwich made of two slices of bread this is a large portion for a child and one slice of bread would be sufficient.
We will, within reason, send any uneaten packed lunch food items back home. This is so that parents can also monitor what their child has consumed during the day.
Due to the potential serious nature of nut allergies please do not send your child with any nuts in their lunchbox. This includes anything made with nuts such as nut milks, Bueno, Reeses etc and also chocolate nut spreads such as Nutella.
If you have any queries regarding your child’s packed lunch or need any further advice please see Emma in Garden room or Karen in Rainbow room.