At the simple lunchbox, we talk a lot about our healthy lunchbox checklist. Easy to remember, and a great tool to help build healthy lunchboxes that keep kids satisfied for longer. Including sources of protein, fibre, fats and rainbows is key to growl-free tummies, balanced blood sugar levels and energy stores, brain-power and emotional resilience. Here’s why…
the simple lunchbox checklist
As we digest foods, proteins are broken down into amino acids by our stomach acid, where they are used in the body to make muscle, collagen, hormones, antibodies and enzymes for other body functions. As we eat protein, it takes longer to break it down than carbohydrates, and requires more energy to do it, so it can help to fuel the body for longer. Protein makes us feel fuller, longer.
Consuming wholegrains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables with their skin on ensures we are getting the fibre our body needs. Fibre slows down the rate in which carbohydrates are broken down and used. Fibre makes us feel fuller, sooner, so that we have a feeling of satisfaction when we eat, and helps to prevent cravings and over-eating. It also helps to keep our bowels moving well, making sure to mop up waste as it travels along our intestines.
Certain fibres are also important pre-biotics that help to feed the bacteria in our gut allowing it to flourish – and as our gut is involved in maintaining immune function, producing brain chemicals responsible for boosting mood and helping sleep, and breaking down food so that it can be used for all the work our body does, keeping it healthy is so important!
Healthy fats are essential for growth and the absorption of nutrients into our cells. Some nutrients cannot be absorbed unless there is fat in our diets, such as important vitamins as A, D, E and K. We need fat for cells to absorb and retain nutrients and water and keep them supple like grapes (as opposed to wrinkly sultanas). Healthy fats from oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, oils such as coconut, avocado, nut oils, olive oil, flaxseed oil are also essential for hormone production (essential for developing children). Adding healthy fats to lunchboxes tells hunger hormones that you’ve had enough to eat.
Balance and diversity is essential to a healthy lunchbox. A gorgeous lunchbox full of fruits and vegetables, whilst better than a lunchbox of beige or packaged foods, balance is key. A rainbow a day provides us with the benefits of hundreds of amazing plant nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and the more colour we include, the greater range of nutrients our bodies have access to.
Remember this checklist when putting together your simple lunchboxes. Pin it to the fridge, or just inside the cupboard you keep your lunchboxes. It will very quickly become a habit, and we’re sure you’ll see the difference.