How to avoid the 'nasties' when packing your kids' lunch boxes
What did you put in your kids' lunch boxes today? Did you find it hard to fill them with yummy, but healthy, snacks?
Believe me, I know how you feel. It seems to me a never-ending challenge that all ALL parents seem to face on a daily basis! To give you a little hand I thought I'd share with you a yummy recipe of mine for Vegetable & Pasta Frittatas. Tasty and nutritious they are the perfect addition to the lunch box, making a great snack for older kids or substantial lunch for the the little ones.
And when it comes to packaged snacks it's worth knowing about the 'Four Nasties' to look out for when choosing food for your kids' lunch boxes. These are things that we are often unaware of but can have real effects on our kids' health and are commonly used in many store-bought baked goods. Knowing what they are and how to avoid them will go a long way in making the lunch box packing not only easier but also more healthy.
The first big one is Additives. This group includes food colourings, flavours and flavour enhancers, and preservatives. They lurk in so many packaged snacks - from crackers and biscuits to muffins, muesli bars and cakes.
The second one is Hydrogenated fats that occur both naturally and artificially and include the recently much-publicised trans fatty acids that commonly used in most commercially-made muesli bars, packet cake mixes, muffins and cakes.
Sodium is the third one. Many store-bought items are high in sodium due to large quantities of salt added to enhance the flavour and extend the shelf life.
Lastly, Sucrose and High Fructose Corn Syrup, are the two main 'bad' highly processed sweeteners generally found in cereals, jam, flavoured yoghurts and, in frighteningly high amounts, in commercially-baked products.
So, how do you avoid these 'Nasties'? There are three main things you can do:
- Always check the ingredient list on packaging
- Where possible avoid highly processed foods
- Bake at home
This will give you the ability to choose what is going into your kids' lunch boxes and, ultimately, their bodies!