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Healthy School Lunches for Around $2.00 a Day?

Healthy School Lunches for Around $2.00 a Day?

Healthy lunches for kids are possible for little more than $2.00 a day, the Public Health Association conference in Christchurch heard today.

West Coast Community and Public Health Nutrition Health Promoter Jade Winter said everyone wanted to give kids the best possible start. She said conversations with parents and caregivers of under-5s on the West Coast showed there was a common misconception that it was cheaper to fill lunchboxes with convenience items.

“This was borne out by teachers at early childhood centres who told us lunchboxes were often filled with packaged foods,” she said.

“The main misconception is that eating well comes at a high cost and there are many ‘fads’ and ‘superfoods’ marketed that are expensive and not particularly healthy despite their claims.”

Community and Public Health held workshops on the West Coast where they provided examples of nutritious and cost-effective lunchboxes. These included foods such aspasta, carrot sticks, bananas, plain yoghurt, kiwifruit, filled bread cases, boiled eggs, celery sticks, rice crackers, broccoli, hummus and homemade slices.

The cost, at an average of $2.31 per meal, was based on supermarket prices on the West Coast.

“I always explain to parents that providing a healthy lunchbox at a low cost will nearly always require a little time. However, by chopping up extra vegetables at dinner time, or making extra, you are potentially saving time and power!”

Ms Winter said it soon became obvious that parents and caregivers needed a robust, budget-friendly, easy to understand resource so Community and Public Health produced Nourishing Futures with Better Kai. The booklet combines nutrition information and guidelines with practical information such as handy ingredients for the pantry, building a healthy lunchbox, sandwich-filling ideas, healthy party food, dealing with picky eating, oral health and recipes for using leftovers.

Ms Winter said the booklet has had significant input from parents, caregivers, teachers, dietitians, nutritionists and public health professionals to ensure it is as useful as possible.

“Toddlers and young children need appropriate nutrition for growth and development. Eating habits are formed from a very young age and it is important to cultivate these as early as possible. Introducing nourishing foods encourages children to learn about and enjoy different tastes and textures. We hope the resource will help parents and caregivers with that.”

Nourishing Futures with Better Kai is available free on the Community and Public Health website at www.cph.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/nourishingfuturesbetterkai.pdf


ENDS


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