It wasn’t good.
One of my favourite people to discuss child nutrition with is dietitian and nutritionist Susie Burrell.
But she’s just given me some advice on what to pack my children for school lunches that I’ll never be able to follow.
Here’s what my kids will be eating at school this week:
Recess: Pizza Shapes and an apple.
Lunch: 2 corn thins with butter and vegemite and a juice popper.
Recess: Pretzels and a banana.
Lunch: A plain bread roll and 6 Ritz crackers.
Caterina, 5 years-old.
Recess: Rice Wheels and a nectarine.
Lunch: A ham sandwich and 6 Ritz crackers.
Pretty normal, right? Or am I the only Australian mum completely reliant on carbs to feed my kids at school?
Susie would only give me one tick for these choices. She says it’s time to break our reliance on carbs in our kid’s school lunches.
“As a nutritionist who has spent more than ten years working with overweight children and teens I have one request for all the mums out their this school year for kids lunch ideas. Please do not over-carb your kids school lunchbox,” she said.
Susie then points the finger and some of the usual suspects. Most of which are sitting in my pantry just waiting for their turn in those brown, paper bags. On the no-go list:
- Muesli bars
- Plain white bread sandwiches
- Fruit juice
- Snack bars
Now while growing, active kids do need plenty of energy, energy in the form of processed, high sugar carbs such as fruit snacks, juices, snack bars and biscuits are digested quickly, result in a high release of the hormone insulin and leave kids prone to overeating and weight gain long term. A study completed several years back with Melbourne school children found that on average the kids lunchboxes contained 3 packaged snacks – bars, bites, twists and dips which offer little nutritionally except empty calories. Based on this alone it is not surprising that so many of our children have significant weight issues.
And you know how the kids come home from school saying they are "starving" and then proceed to eat the entire contents of your fridge? This is why, according to Susie: