Some healthy ideas to chew on

By Heather McCracken

This week families start preparing for children to go back to school - or to start at school - after the long summer break.

And, of course, the weather is just sorting itself out for a good, long fine spell as the holidays end.

Along with sorting out their uniforms or school clothes and easing back into that always-rushed morning routine, is the chore of filling school lunch boxes every day.

Putting the right stuff in the box is something of an artform - you want it to be enticing enough that they'll actually eat it, but healthy and filling enough that it'll keep them going throughout the day.

When I was a kid, my mother would line up everything available for our lunches - bread, sandwich fillings, fruit and yoghurt - on the bench and let us do our own thing.

There could be no complaining then that you didn't like what you were given.

Our story on page 4 today looks at some of the healthy alternatives to easy, pre-packaged and processed food - some of which sound like great ideas for my own workday lunch, like tuna pita pockets, and vege frittata.

But the thing about easy, pre-packaged food is that it's just that: Easy. And whipping up a frittata is tough to fit into many busy parents' weekend schedule.

There's a lot of advice around for parents on what they should and shouldn't give their children to eat - with some schools even going as far as to ban junkfood from lunchboxes.

But as long as your kids have some healthy options, and they're getting a good breakfast and dinner, I don't see why anyone should have to feel guilty for throwing a packet of chips in the lunchbox now and again.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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