For parents struggling with the daily lunch box grind, a recent study by Nestlé Healthy Active Kids shows that the trick is to keep it simple and get the kids involved.
The research found that the biggest concern for parents (49 per cent) is ensuring their child eats a nutritious lunch, while a third (32 per cent) are worried their child will go hungry at school.
The Nestlé Healthy Active Kids program, developed in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport, provides teachers with curriculum-based resources and online recipes and advice for parents to help children live a healthier life.
With families settling into Term Two, the ‘Lunch Box Lessons’ survey^ quizzed 1,000 parents and carers of primary school-aged children to lift the lid on tried and tested tricks to seeing an empty lunch box.
Lunch Box Lessons results included:
• To ensure they see an empty lunch box at the end of the day, 57 per cent of parents chat with their children about what foods they do and don’t like
• One in two (54 per cent) go one step further, involving their kids in packing their lunch box
• One in five (21 per cent) use food styling tricks, while just four per cent prioritise creative food options
• Nearly seven in ten (69 per cent) parents have some variety in their child’s lunch box, but keep to a menu of tried and tested favourites on rotation
• 64 per cent of parents spend less than 10 minutes preparing their child’s lunch box each day
Nestlé Oceania Market Nutritionist, Megan Darragh, said that parents can rejoice that complicated lunch box creations are off the menu.
“For the fussy eaters and lunch box swappers to the ‘too busy playing to eat’ socialites, our survey has found that getting back to basics is back in vogue,” Ms Darragh said.
Proof that simplicity and getting kids involved is best, the Nestlé Healthy Active Kids program recently showed over 3,000 children at the Sydney Royal Easter Show how easy it is to prepare snacks for their own lunch boxes.
“Letting children take ownership of their lunch box and snacks is a really practical way for parents to have daily conversations around good food choices,” Ms Darragh said.
The Lunch Box Lessons findings highlighted some straightforward ways to help get primary-aged children involved in lunch box preparations, including:
• Learn together. Use the five food groups as a guide to set up family rules around what a healthy lunch box looks like
• Unite in the kitchen. Get your child involved in cooking, they’ll learn important cooking skills which will stay with them for life
• Negotiate. Talk to your child about what they do and don’t like about their usual lunch box
• Chat about good lunch boxes your child has seen at school, and ask what's in it. It will give some great insights into what they might like to try
• Have your child pack fruit or snacks themselves
Nestlé Oceania Head of Wellness, Katrina Koutoulas, said: “Each family has its own routines and shortcuts to get out the door in the morning. The Nestlé Healthy Active Kids website has some really easy tips to help get kids involved in the kitchen, delicious recipes and some fantastic teaching resources for primary school teachers.”
For more information on Nestlé Healthy Active Kids, for child-friendly recipes (including the recipes from the Sydney Royal Easter Show cooking sessions) and resources for teachers, visit www.healthyactivekids.com.au.