Not surprisingly, mums overwhelmingly believe healthy food in schools is important for their child’s wellbeing, but only one out of three was confident that their child’s school or early childhood education (ECE) service was doing enough to promote healthy eating. Silver Fern and mother of two, Jodi Brown is helping the Heart Foundation to help get parents thinking. “As the school year kicks in, I’d love to see parents starting to look at their child’s school or ECE centre’s approach to healthy eating – both in the food that’s provided on site as well as education – and offering support where possible. Can they answer this very important question; ‘Is their school or ECE service doing what they can to promote healthy eating habits?’” questions Jodi.
Children spent a quarter of their waking lives in school and consume an average of 32 per cent of their daily energy intake in school. When children leave their front door, what habits are they forming when it comes to healthy food? We all know that healthy eating habits not only create better learners today but healthy and thriving adults in the future. Although schools are under a lot of pressure these days, there are a few small but significant things they can do to help instil healthy eating habits that are not too time consuming or costly.
Some top tips for loading up the lunchbox, include involving children in lunchbox decisions and preparation. Adults can be a role model here, preparing their own healthy lunch at the same time. Other tips are varying the shape and size of sandwiches, using a cookie cutter, cutting large, seasonal fruit and vegetables into smaller pieces and experimenting with different breads such as wraps, pita and fruit bread. For more top tips on lunchbox ideas, visit the Heart Foundation website at http://www.heartfoundation.co.nz/