From fast-food commercials between children’s TV shows, colourful packaging aimed to appeal to them, and free toys offered with fried take-away meals, the fast food market has our children cornered!


As a result of the abundance and prominent promotion fast foods, children’s lunchboxes now have to compete with the school tuck-shop.

Here are a few ideas to help ensure your children don’t swop their lunch for junk…

  • On the trail – Chop up dried fruit and add to raw nuts to make a healthy trail mix. High in protein and healthy omega fats, trail mix will complement a healthy sandwich and help keep your children fuller for longer.
  • Silly sandwiches – Make those healthy low-GI sandwiches interesting by cutting them into interesting shapes with a cookie cutter. You could also hoist little flags, made with toothpicks and coloured paper, and turn triangular cut sandwiches into little sailboats. Who says eating healthy has to be boring?!
  • Calcium kick – Ensure your kids get a good dose of calcium by decanting low-fat or fat-free yoghurt into a small container with a secure lid; there’s nothing worse than opening a school bag to find an exploded yoghurt.
  • The real deal – Sweets have mimicked fruit but now it’s time to give your kids the real deal by packing a serving of small, sweet fruits like strawberries, grapes or gooseberries. Remove stalks to give them that delicious easy-to-eat appeal much like fast-food.
  • Cool in school – Ensure your children stay well-hydrated and cool throughout the day by packing a healthy drink. ”If you children like fruit juice, dilute it with water in a reusable water bottle they can refill as required,” recommends Jordana Smith, a Cape Town based dietitian, “It’s a good idea to dilute fruit juice because although natural, pure fruit juice is high in sugar.”

Try some of these ideas and see how your kids like their revamped lunchboxes. And go on; pack yourself an healthy adult-sized version too – fancy shape sandwiches and all.

Have you got a healthy tip you’d love to share? Post a comment or share your tips on our Facebook fan page. We’d love to hear from you.