Here is a simple nutritious solution to the daily lunch-box dilemma which could save you hundreds of dollars.
With kids about to return for a new school year, new research has revealed Australian parents put over $2.75 billion dollars into their kids’ school lunches every year while ignoring a simple nutritious solution to the daily lunch-box dilemma which could save the average household hundreds of dollars.
The survey, conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of Meat & Livestock Australia, found that while the average family spends up big buying food for the lunch-box, nine in ten (89%) admit to throwing out uneaten nutritious leftovers from the fridge.
Not only is this adding to landfill but kids may be missing out on nutrients too - a sandwich with leftover roast beef and salad provides double the amount of zinc, iron, vitamin B12 and protein versus a simple sandwich with spread (which is what six out of ten parents of 5-11 year olds are packing)
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and mother of two, Kate Di Prima comments: “The survey reveals that Australian parents are spending a lot of money and time packing the daily lunch-box, without considering one simple nutritious solution. Dinner is where most Australians enjoy a healthy, balanced meal.”
“Leftovers can be enjoyed cold in the school lunch box or heated and packed into an insulated thermos container; an easy way to save time and money. Packing nutritious foods for school lunch, such as red meat, wholegrain bread, vegetables, fruit and dairy foods, provide critical nutrients, such as iron, zinc, protein, carbohydrate and B vitamins; important for energy and learning at school.” adds Kate.
Kate Di Prima’s leftover lunch-box tips:
• To keep food fresh and cold, use an insulated lunch box and include a small freezer brick or freeze a bottle of water. Foods and drinks that are kept cool will be safe as well as more tasty and appealing.
• Invest in a series of containers of various sizes and pack leftovers in tightly so they can’t move around
• Consider using an insulated thermos container so you can heat and pack hot food. These special containers can keep food hot until lunch time.
• If you don’t regularly have leftovers after the nightly meal, cook an extra serve of meat and vegetables or double your recipe to ensure leftovers for lunch the next day.
Nutritious leftover lunch suggestions (which don’t need to be re-heated):
• Roast lamb can be sliced and used in a pita pocket spread with hummus, lettuce and carrot
• Leftover rissoles or meatballs can be sent as a healthy burger on a wholemeal bread roll with sliced cucumber, lettuce and tomato sauce
• Leftover vegetables can be used to make a salad, simply add fresh salad leaves and a protein-rich food such as a hard-boiled egg, tin of three bean mix or cheese cubes
• Leftover fried rice is perfect for the lunch box. Add a protein-rich food such as leftover diced meat, chicken or egg omelette
• Chop leftover roast meat and roast vegetables into bite size pieces and mix with lettuce for a nutrient-rich salad
Accredited Practising Dietitian Kate Di Prima has created a school lunch guide, filled with simple hints and tips for packing the school lunch box. The guide can be downloaded at www.themainmeal.com.au/lunchbox
Here are more healthy lunchbox recipes: