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Healthy Lunchbox and After-school Snacks

Healthy Lunchbox and After-school Snacks

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Published by Christopher DeWitt

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Published by: Christopher DeWitt on Jan 17, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Healthy lunchbox and after-school snackshttp://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/back-to-school/healthy-lunchbox-and-afterschool-snacks-20110114-19qua.html[1/17/2011 12:16:24 AM]
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Monday Jan 17, 20113,635 online now See today's paperSMH Domain Drive MyCareer RSVP Newsletters  You are here:Home»Life & Style»Back to School»Article
Life & StyleLunchbox.
Photo: Marina Oliphant. Styling: Caroline Velik 
It's alarming, especially for busy parents, butmuch of what you can buy at the supermarket for lunch boxes and after-school treats should beavoided, writes Jane Southward.
The latest Australian statistics indicate 23 per cent of childrenaged two to 16 are overweight or obese. Of these, 6 per centare obese.Given that students spend almost eight hours a day at school,what they find in their lunchboxes is more important than ever.Yet Clare Collins, professor of nutrition and dietetics at theUniversity of Newcastle and a spokeswoman for the DietitiansAssociation of Australia, says it is too easy for children to eatpoorly."You can't blame people," Professor Collins says. "Most of thepre-packaged foods you find for schoolchildren at thesupermarket aren't good for them."Professor Collins says weight issues have increaseddramatically since the 1960s when just 3 to 5 per cent ofchildren were overweight or obese."Kids are meant to be skinny," she says. "The biggest skewhas been about the way we eat rather than any link to physicalactivity. Clearly it's too easy to eat wrongly."She blames the increased number of, and easier access to,
Jane Southward
January 17, 2011 - 10:40AM
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Healthy lunchbox and after-school snackshttp://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/back-to-school/healthy-lunchbox-and-afterschool-snacks-20110114-19qua.html[1/17/2011 12:16:24 AM]
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processed foods as the worrying trend."Almost 70 per cent of children adhere to the nationalguidelines on physical activity (one hour of moderate exercisea day) whereas 35 per cent to 40 per cent of people eat toomany of the wrong foods," Professor Collins says.Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton agrees and warns that obesityin children sets them up for many health problems in thefuture, such as increased rates of type 2 diabetes as well ashigher rates of cardiovascular and renal disease and morecancer, especially bowel cancer."But even during childhood, obesity causes problems with feet,knees and backs and psycho-social problems," Dr Stantonsays. "Some obese children also develop fatty liver, type 2diabetes and hypertension during childhood."Overweight and obesity were rare during the '60s. No nationalsurveys were done then and kids were usually only weighed toensure they were growing adequately."Old school photos show not more than an occasional childbeing overweight. Rates of excess weight in kids tripledbetween mid '80s and '90s. The increase came from drinkssuch as carbonated soft drinks and juices, fast foods andsnack foods. There was no increase in 'core foods' [the foodsfrom the five food groups]." The best place to start on the road back to good health is inthe lunchbox, followed by the after-school snacks. Both experts say you should avoid making sweetened drinks,packaged snack foods such as crisps and bars and anythingfried available to your children."The healthiest lunch and after-school foods are sandwiches,"Dr Stanton says. "Include several for growing, active kids andfruit."Extras such as chips, muesli bars and sweetened drinks arenot desirable. For snacks try fruit, milk or yoghurt, home-madesmoothies using low-fat milk and yoghurt and fresh fruit, breador toast including raisin toast, nuts and dried fruit."Asked if any packaged foods at the supermarket are healthy,Dr Stanton nominates just two – dried fruit and nuts.She says the key to improving what children eat at and afterschool is increasing the taxes on junk foods and drinks.The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) will launchAustralia's healthy weight week in the last week of this month.Visithealthyweightweek.com.au for information on the healthiest options for during and after school.Try this DAA recipe for an after-school pizza that is so easychildren can do it themselves:
Spread tomato paste on pizza bases of pita bread orEnglish muffinsCover paste with chopped roast meats, tuna slices cannedin spring water, onions, mushrooms, chopped capsicum,
Healthy lunchbox and after-school snackshttp://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/back-to-school/healthy-lunchbox-and-afterschool-snacks-20110114-19qua.html[1/17/2011 12:16:24 AM]
tomato, pineapple or grated cheese.Grill or bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
More than one sandwich or wrap – preferably with a proteinfilling such as chicken or tuna.Raisin toast sandwich.Fruit.Salad.Water and frozen reduced fat milk poppers.Cereal with a banana after school.Smoothies.Dried fruit, nuts and homemade popcorn without butter.Yoghurt.
The bad
Anything fried.Juice poppers.Soft drink or cordial.Pre-packaged packets of crisps, sweet or savoury biscuits.Pre-packaged cheese.Muesli bars.Fast foods.Chips.
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