| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Get that lunchbox licked

It’s that relentless daily chore every mother dreads

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It can be nightmarish finding foods that are both healthy and popular with the kids. Just when you’ve found a nutritious little snack they can’t get enough of, their best friend tells them it’s gross and they refuse to eat it for the next three years. But, with a little perseverance and some childlike logic, you could have the last (vitamin-fuelled) laugh, says Dubai-based dietician Peta Picton.

Peta advises that you plan what you want to give them for lunch each day before you do your weekly shop at the supermarket, and make sure that the items on your list will be enough to last the week. When thinking about what to feed them, Peta suggests you try to strike a balance between the different food groups: ‘Be sure to include breads and cereals, fruit, vegetables and moderate amounts of milk and meat or veggie alternatives,’ she says. Try to pack things that are easy to handle and quick to eat, so they don’t abandon lunch in favour of the playground.

Examples include a cream cheese or tuna wrap with salad, carrot and cucumber sticks with houmous, fresh fruit cut into bite-sized pieces (or canned fruit so long as it’s in juice not syrup) and frozen yoghurt or milk (this will help keep the other foods cool, too). Great snacks include plain popcorn, dried fruit or crackers with cheese spread. If they’re a little iffy about the taste-based merits of your nice healthy choices, get them involved in the preparation process, explaining to them why they’re having each item: milk gives you strong teeth and bones, carrot sticks help you see in the dark, and so on. Ask them what their friends had for lunch and if they seem enthusiastic about any of the items, provided they’re not fat-or sugar-laden, try buying them. In our experience, if their ‘BFF’ claims to be addicted to kiwi fruits, junior’s far more likely to decide he likes them, too

Time Out Dubai,

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