Learn Perfect Lunchbox Portions to Combat Childhood Obesity
With obesity statistics indicating that 1 in 4 of our children is overweight and the knowledge that overweight children generally become overweight adults, prevention needs to start early and one of the best places to begin is the lunchbox.
"The ideal lunchbox should contain a morning snack and full lunch, which equates to 450 or 550 calories in total," says Amanda Clark, dietitian and author of 'Portion Perfection - a visual weight control plan'. "A sandwich with some spread, protein and salad will usually contain about 350 Calories, so that leaves 100Calories (420kj) or 200 Calories (840kj) for snacks.
These days most children equate snacks with pre packaged foods, and while pre packaged food and snacks are certainly convenient and easy to pop in to the lunchbox, are we giving our children too many?
"Yes," says Amanda. "We seem to forget that the lunchbox should only contain morning tea and lunch and that's all. While children might ask for more pre packaged snacks in their lunch, it's a good idea to make sure the snacks are health.
"The following snacks are healthy100 Calorie (420kj) portions. Aim for 1-2 in the lunchbox, or guide your child towards these snacks at the school canteen, with the sandwich and a bottle of water."
If you child eats a healthy, nutritious lunch, they won't be as ravenous when they get home from school, and will able to do with a small snack to tide them over until dinner. "Often we overfeed children to the point that they may not be hungry enough for dinner," says Amanda. "Limit afternoon tea to one snack or two if your child doesn't eat supper."
The evening meal ideally contains 350 or 450 Calories (1470-1890kj) for children. This handy plate guides children to fill the right section of their plate with the ideal foods and to get the portion size right. For 350 Cals just fill the base of the plate, 2cm deep and for 450 Cals fill out to the edge.
For weight maintenance an average calorie requirement for 6-8 yr olds is 1300 Cals (5500 kj) and for 9 - 12 yr olds is 1600 Cals (6700kj).
A dietitian can assist in situations where true loss of weight is required and it's recommend you consult an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) in your area. To find a local dietitian go to www.daa.asn.au
and click on "find an APD" or talk to your doctor.Portion Perfection
is a visual weight control plan that shows you exactly the right amount to eat if you want to lose or maintain weight.. It has hundreds of pictures showing popular packaged foods, including almost every brand of yoghurt, cereal, muesli bar and crisps available in Australia, as well as common take-away foods. There's also a Portion Perfection plate and bowl to help you serve up the right amount.
All the Portion Perfection products are available at www.greatideas.net.au