Good nutrition is not only essential for your child’s growth and development but is also important in keeping them adequately fuelled for the long school day. Whether starting school for the first time, progressing from primary to secondary school or returning to a familiar routine; this transition is a busy time for kids, teens and parents alike. Back to school marks a fresh beginning and structure for the forthcoming 9-10 months of your family’s year, so take this time as an opportunity to encourage healthy lifestyle routines and habits from the get-go.
Watch Lilly's Back to School video here
Louise Reynolds, a Dietitian with the Irish National Dietetic Institute (INDI) says “Don’t forget that a school lunch is one of your child’s three meals a day, so it’s important to ensure they are getting a nutritionally balanced lunch and snacks. Typically, a packed school lunch should contain all of the major food groups”. Examples:
Food Writer and mum of three young children, Lilly Higgins says “Be prepared and organised, preparation in advance will not only save you time, but will reduce the chances of opting for last minute ready-made lunches or convenience foods which can be high in sugar, fat and salt. I love to get my kids involved, learning about food and nutrition are important life skills and should be encouraged from an early age. Children are more likely to be interested in their lunches if they have helped to choose and prepare them so don’t be afraid to let them experiment!
Did you know?
The Department of Health’s Healthy Eating Guidelines recommend 3 servings from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group each day as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Between the ages of 9-18 years, 5 servings per day are recommended due to the increased calcium requirements at this life stage. Examples of one serving include a 200ml glass of milk, 125g yogurt and 25g (matchbox size piece) cheddar cheese.
Calcium is recognised for its important role in normal bone growth and development; with childhood and the adolescent years particularly important for forming healthy bones. However, you may not realise that there is more to milk and dairy than calcium, with one glass of milk also providing us with protein, potassium, phosphorus, iodine, vitamin B2 and vitamin B12 - each playing a variety of important roles for our health.
Lilly’s lunchbox ideas
The National Dairy Council is now taking registrations for the School Milk Scheme for the 2018/2019 school year. Drinking a carton of School Milk each day is a convenient and
affordable way to help children meet their calcium needs. The National Dairy Council supports schools by supplying a free fridge to store School Milk, ensuring that this fresh
drink is enjoyed at its best at all times. For further information please visit moocrew.ie/schoolmilk
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