A dietitian has revealed the best packaged supermarket snacks, ahead of children returning to school this week.
Susie Burrell, from Sydney, said while wholefoods are always the best option for your child’s lunchbox, she realises it isn’t always possible to pre-prepare something in advance.
‘School’s almost back which means that it is time for lunchbox talk and to get us started, here are a few of my favourite packaged supermarket snacks,’ Susie wrote on her Instagram page.
A dietitian has revealed the best packaged supermarket snacks, ahead of children returning to school this week (Susie Burrell pictured)
Susie Burrell said while wholefoods are always the best for your child’s lunchbox, it isn’t always possible to pre-prepare something in advance (her favourite packaged snacks pictured)
What are the best packaged snacks for school lunchboxes?
* Messy Monkey popcorn and wholegrain bites
* Carman’s Kitchen low sugar or oat bars
* Table of Plenty rice cakes dipped in dark chocolate
* Tamar Valley yoghurt with no added sugar
Source: Susie Burrell
‘Yes, of course fresh, natural wholefoods are ideal, but let’s be honest, at times kids want and busy parents need to utilise packaged snacks.’
Susie said as a rule of thumb she tries to pick packaged snacks that have between three and five grams of protein and fibre.
She also aims to put one other ‘small packaged option’ in her twins’ lunchboxes each day that contains fewer than 100 calories.
Susie explained her favourite snacks include Messy Monkey popcorn and wholegrain bites, low sugar or oat bars by Carman’s Kitchen, rice cakes dipped in dark chocolate by Table of Plenty and yoghurt with no added sugar by Tamar Valley.
The dietitian added that you always need to watch out for fruit-based yoghurts, which can be high in sugar and even contain MSG.
‘For the school lunchbox, cheese and cracker snack packs, roasted broad beans and peas, fresh fruit teamed with cheese or hummus and Greek yoghurt tubes are all good options that are child friendly,’ Susie wrote on her blog.
‘If you think of a “snack” as a mini meal, ideally it will keep you full and satisfied for at least two to three hours.
‘In good terms this means that a snack needs to contain some carbs for energy but also some protein and/or dietary fibre to slow digestion and keep your blood glucose levels controlled for an extended period of time.’
Susie shared the biggest lunchbox mistake thousands of parents make with their kids, which is including too many carb-based foods and not enough protein (lunchbox prep pictured)
Previously, Susie shared the biggest lunchbox mistake thousands of parents make with their kids.
What does the ideal school lunchbox contain?
* WHOLEGRAIN OR SOURDOUGH BREAD: Slow release carbohydrates help to stabilise blood sugar levels.
* PROTEIN: Lean meat, salmon, tuna, egg or tofu will help with alertness and endurance.
* HEALTHY FATS: Things like sunflower seeds, avocado and pumpkin seeds increase satiety, help to stabilise kids’ moods and boost their concentration.
* VEGETABLES X 2-3: Foods such as capsicum, carrot, mashed potato and cucumber contain fibre, vitamins and minerals kids need to keep their immune systems healthy.
Susie said the biggest error is including too many carbohydrate-based foods – which often leave children unsatisfied and prone to over-eating later in the day when they get home from school.
While Susie does admit that carbs such as bread, rice, cereal, pasta, fruit, jams and honey are vital for brain function – and particularly for active children – she also said that often these carbs are processed, and so not as good for their overall health.
‘A quick scan of a typical lunchbox will generally reveal some type of sandwich or wrap, a piece of fruit or two, occasionally a vegetable along with several packaged snacks,’ Susie told Essential Kids.
‘While on the surface this lunchbox mix would tick the box for carbohydrate rich foods, processed carbohydrates are completely dominating the mix at the expense of protein rich foods and good fats.’
Susie explained that the issue with processed carbs is that they are digested very quickly, which can drive up kids’ hunger levels later and make them overeat when they get back from school.
If they eat too many carbs and don’t do much in the way of activity, children could also put on weight.
The solution to the lunchbox problem is simple: include much more protein in their midday meal and encourage them to have a break food early on in the school day to manage their appetites.
The issue with processed carbs is they are digested quickly, which drives up kids’ hunger levels and makes them overeat when they get home (a healthy school lunchbox pictured)
‘A nutritionally-balanced lunchbox should contain an array of food from various food groups,’ nutritionist Lee Holmes said (a lunchbox pictured)
Nutritionist Lee Holmes previously told FEMAIL exactly what the ideal lunchbox contains.
‘A nutritionally-balanced lunchbox should contain an array of food from various food groups,’ Lee said.
What are some of the smart food swaps people should make?
* Pick real butter over margarine.
* Choose full fat dairy instead of low fat.
* Choose organic meat over regular meat.
* Pick seasonal vegetables over those that are out of season.
* Choose plain yoghurt over fruit-filled, sugar-laden options.
Lee recommends plant-based treats like fresh juices and smoothies, chopped-up vegetables and hummus and seeds, as well as blueberries and strawberries over jelly and rich jams.
‘Use different types of fruits and vegetables, seeds, coconut flakes, full fat calcium rich dairy foods, protein rich foods such as meats, eggs, seed butters, pulses and tuna and oily fish,’ the nutritionist advised.
They will need some form of carbohydrates and healthy fats to ensure they stay full through the long day.
Things like sunflower seeds, avocado and pumpkin seeds can increase satiety, help to stabilise kids’ moods and boost their concentration.
While there can be a temptation to stuff a lunchbox full of sugary treats like Tim Tams, chocolate bars and lollies, Lee said instead you need to think about the smart but simple food swaps that will ensure your kids are healthy.
‘If you’re in doubt remember to try and choose wholefoods, which are as close to their natural state as possible,’ Lee said.
Lee (pictured) recommends plant-based treats like fresh juices and smoothies, chopped-up vegetables and hummus and seeds, and blueberries and strawberries over jelly and rich jams
In order to save valuable cash, you could also opt for seasonal fruits and veggies, which are guaranteed to cost a little less.
‘Buy dried beans as they are more economical than canned,’ Lee said.
You should also pick real butter over margarine and full fat dairy instead of low fat.
Lee said the reason for this is that the low fat and sugar versions are often stuffed full of additives and so end up being worse for you.
‘You can also make your chocolate yoghurt with cacao powder and a touch of natural sweetener, or avocado and chocolate mousse using an avocado, a banana, two tablespoons of cacao powder and sweetener of your choice,’ Lee said.