School holidays are quickly approaching and we’ve got some great tips on how to prepare your kids for their busy days. Packing the right food in your child’s snack box is essential to make sure they have enough energy to learn and play all day long during their school holiday programs. Our YMCA Nutritionist has recommended some healthy alternatives to help keep your children smiling all day!
The most important item in your child’s snack box is their water bottle. Water is the best way for your child to stay hydrated through the day. Staying hydrated is important so that your child’s body and brain can work at its best. They will feel tired and have trouble concentrating if they’re dehydrated. Water is free and not harmful to our teeth, unlike juice and other flavoured drinks! (YMCA’s 12 holiday programs will always have water freely available for your child if they forget their bottle.)
The perfect snack on the go! No need to prepare or package, whole fruit is easy to include – apples, pears, mandarins, and oranges are all in season now. Bananas are inexpensive and available all year round. Ideally, kids should be having two serves of fruit per day to make sure they get essential vitamins and fibre to fuel their growing bodies and brains.
Only 12% of Victorian children eat the recommended serves of vegetables - which for school age children is five portions a day. Fresh vegetables are the best way for kids to get all the vitamins needed to help them develop, boost their vitality and prevent disease. An easy way to increase your child’s intake is to include crunchy raw veggie sticks in their lunchbox – carrots, celery, cucumber, red capsicum, snow peas, green beans and cherry tomatoes. Packaged in a small plastic container they’ll stay crisp and fresh all day. Veggie sticks are perfect served with delicious dips (see below).
A small tub of yoghurt, hummus dip or some slices of cheese in your child’s snack box will provide plenty of protein, energy, and calcium too. Protein is important for little bodies to grow and repair themselves, and calcium is needed for healthy teeth and bones. You can save money by packaging these snacks yourself in small plastic containers. A reusable ice block or frozen bottle of water will help keep everything chilled.
These are the good carbs and give your kids slowly released energy to fuel them throughout the day. Try to avoid commercially made muesli bars as most of these are loaded with sugar and offer little else of nutritional value. Try a savoury option like homemade popcorn, or low/ no salt wholegrain crackers, which go perfectly with cheese slices and dips.
Most of our sites offer healthy lunches designed by our very own nutritionist. Ensuring your children have bellies filled with nutritional food is one of our top priorities and will make sure your children get the most out of our activities.
For more information about our programs and what we offer please visit YMCA School Holiday Programs.