It’s tempting to throw together a few peanut butter sandwiches, or fill a box with processed snacks and some fruit, for the kids’ lunch, but this midday meal is too important to be neglected. Here’s why a healthy lunch makes all the difference to growing children.
A healthy lunch pays off for both body and mind
Lunch is more important for children than it is for adults. The midday meal makes up one third of your child’s nutritional intake for a whole day – and they need those calories for growing, learning and keeping their immune systems strong. Children who miss lunch, or eat processed snacks, battle to focus and get tired out very easily. To keep kids motivated and focused for doing homework and outdoor activities, a healthy lunch is your friend. And don’t forget: hungry children are cranky and irritable.
Lunch is full of health benefits
Eating in the middle of the day re-energises the body. If kids are feeling sluggish and start grizzling around noon, a plate of delicious lunch will turn it all around. It keeps their metabolism active, and lunch is a good time to give them fresh foods rich in fibre and nutrients. Including items from these food groups in every lunch makes it easy to keep it healthy:
- Proteins and dairy: eggs, milk, fish, meats
- Grains, nuts or beans: wholegrain bread, raw nuts, beans
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado, butter or mayonnaise
- 4 hard-boiled eggs
- ¼ cup of mayonnaise
- 2 gherkins
- A pinch of pepper and a ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 ripe avocado
- Peel the hard-boiled eggs and slice them.
- Chop the gherkins into small pieces.
- Cut your avocado in half - remove the pip and the peel. If you are planning to keep some of the egg salad for later, don’t add avocado to it all as it will turn brown.
- Put all the ingredients into your bowl and mash them together with a fork.
- Serve the egg salad in wraps, on whole-grain bread or toast, or even just like that!
- Many traditional farming communities still commonly have the largest meal of the day at mid-day and refer to this meal as "dinner?"
- In Portugal, lunch is often a full hot meal, similar to dinner, normally with soup, a fish or meat course, and dessert.
- Lunch is the main meal of the day in the South of France, and the mid-day meal is taken between noon and 2 p.m.