"Providing you with tips and expert advice on helping your child get ready for Big School"
Are we putting the right foods in our child’s snack box?
As your child begins Big School, there is an important requirement for a substantial snack. It can be a dilemma, for as a parent you worry whether your child is getting the right nutrients for the day.
Also, as a mother, you are never satisfied until you are present to see your child consume his/her meal. With you not being able to be there with him/her at snack time, it is probable that he/she will not eat the snack that you want him/her to.
Here are some points to consider;
- Nowadays, the traditional rice and curry is not accepted by many children, but you are not satisfied until a good plate of rice has been eaten by them. You are right; as growing children, they do require the proper nutrients. Therefore, attempt the rice meal at dinner when you are also present. Choose from other options for their snack box at school.
- Children like variety. It might be easier for you in the mornings to cook much of the same things, but, no matter how nutritious and tasty the meal is, children like to be surprised and enjoy different options.
- You might be tempted to pack fast food meals, processed foods and foods high in sugar, just to ensure your children have their meals. Yes, your children might eat them but they are not highly recommended by nutritionists. They might fill your child up and but highs achieved by sugar will cause mood swings and unruly behaviour. It is also best to set healthy eating habits from a young age.
- A hospitable Asian habit is to pile a person's plate with food. When packing our child's snack box, we might be guilty of a similar behaviour; we are concerned that our children might be hungry and we tend to over pack. This can deter the child from consuming his/her food. Make sure you get the quantity right.
- Keep the meal balanced. Sometimes we might tend to overdo on the carbohydrates but forget the dairy or protein. When packing your child's snack box, make sure you include all food groups such as carbohydrates, protein, dairy and so forth.
- Children do have to be coaxed to eat their meals, for most will opt to play, forgoing their hunger; in many situations the neatly packed snack box arrives back home untouched with the sorry excuse of not having had enough time. Therefore it can be a challenge getting that snack box filled right.
Vice President of the Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka Dr. Anoma Chandrasekara offers the following innovative meal options from a nutritionist’s point of view.
Fried rice with yogurt or curd, vegetables (carrot, spinach, leaks, cabbages), boiled chick peas, roasted pea nuts, eggs, fish or chicken
- Pittu made with Semolina or rice flour with chopped vegetables, with chicken/fish curry/ and yogurt drink
- Koththu made with atta flour with chopped vegetables, boiled chick peas, egg, chicken/fish and topped with grated cheese
- Vegetable noodles with chopped vegetables, boiled chick peas, boiled chicken/fish, eggs
- Flat bread (rotti) with vegetable/chicken/fish filling
- Vegetable chickpeas with chopped vegetables (carrot, leaks, green beans, cabbages), chopped coconut, Maldive fish or boiled chicken, onions, pepper
- Vegetable cow peas with chopped vegetables (carrot, leaks, green beans, cabbages), chopped coconut, Maldive fish or boiled chicken, onions, pepper.
Expert Advice provided by
Written by Mayuri Jayasinghe based on an interview with Anoma Chandrasekara, Vice President of the Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka