With the start of the 2022 school year not far away, thousands of parents across Aotearoa will be stepping up once more to the daily challenge of filling the kids’ lunchboxes.
Health and wellbeing is a top priority for parents in these uncertain pandemic times and making sure tamariki get a nutritious midday meal and snacks high in immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals is important.
5+ A Day Project Manager, Carmel Ireland is encouraging Kiwi parents to make the most of locally grown fruit and vegetables to create healthy, affordable and delicious lunchbox kai.
“Eating what’s in season is an affordable and healthy way to fill a school lunchbox,” she says.
“At the start of Term One, summerfruit such as nectarines, apricots, peaches and plums are delicious and good value. They’re also conveniently packaged by Mother Nature so you can pop them straight into your child’s lunchbox without having to chop or wrap anything. Tuck them in with wraps or sandwiches so they don’t get bruised.
“Other great options are cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks with hummus, which are always favourites for little hands to snack on,” notes Ireland.
This year, 5+ A Day has created an easy downloadable card for parents looking for lunchbox inspiration. The card features a list of which seasonal produce is available each term, plus quick and easy recipes to include in kids’ lunchboxes.
“Making lunches can be a bit of a chore for us all. Download our card onto your phone or print it out to stick on the fridge so you’ve always got a bit of weekday inspiration on hand,” says Ireland. https://www.5aday.co.nz/kids-zone/for-parents/
“Keep an eye on our social media channels too; we regularly share tips and recipes to make the most of seasonal produce for the whole whānau. And each term this year, we will be sharing tasty lunchbox recipes.”
Ireland says eating at least five servings of fresh, locally-grown fruit and vegetables is the most nutritious and affordable way to support the health of your whānau.
“Ministry of Health guidelines state children should eat two servings of fruit and at least three or more servings of vegetables every day for optimal health and development. The resources we’re providing will help make filling the lunchbox with healthy kai each day a much easier task!”
Use the following seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables in lunchboxes throughout the school year:
Term One : Summerfruit (nectarines, apricots, peaches + plums), passionfruit
Term Two: Apples, pears/nashi, feijoas, satsuma mandarins, persimmons
Term Three: Kiwifruit, carrots, tamarillos, Navel oranges, broccoli, kūmara
Term Four: Avocados, tangelos, strawberries, tomatoes, berries, cherries