Lunchbox diversity has been thrust into the spotlight.
The Cancer Council recently came out with some creative lunchbox ideas prompting parenting experts and even the Premier of NSW to come out questioning how fussy they seemed.
“Parenting experts have told Cancer Council boffins to join them in the real world after it promoted overly complicated lunch box recipes to parents which are better suited to a MasterChef finale than a school playground,” the Daily Telegraph wrote.
Leading parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson said the Cancer Council’s messaging around healthy lunch boxes was putting too much pressure on “busy parents who were just trying their best.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet also came out in the article in defence of ham sandwiches.
So what are these masterpieces in question?
Daal really copped it as an ‘intricate’ lunch box staple for requiring 15 ingredients like dried red lentils, while naan – a traditional accompaniment to the south-Asian dish – got roasted for taking 35 minutes to prepare.
Homemade sushi, meanwhile, was criticised for being too complicated to assemble.
“The well-intentioned advice from various bodies to help us be healthier is important but so too is having a healthy life balance,” Coulson said.
“Most parents don’t have the capacity to create these masterpieces for mealtimes and while it would be great if everyone could ensure their children are getting the best ingredients, it is simply not possible for those who are living in the real world.”
Call us crazy but we reckon daal is pretty real world to the approximately 700k Australian residents who were born in India (and we all know Aussies love a good naan).
And that sushi is of course pretty real world to the hundreds of thousands of Japanese immigrants who make up one of the largest migrant communities in Australia.
What you realise is that The Cancer Council is giving health advice that’s inclusive to the diversity of backgrounds that make up Australia’s multicultural society. It’s not like the Cancer Council is forcing daal, naan or sushi upon us (but we really wish they would).
A quick scan of the Cancer Council’s Healthy Lunch Box website reveals dozens of alternative healthy lunch box recipes (including some that take only 4 minutes to put together), as well as a handy interactive lunchbox builder which helps you put together yummy, nutritious lunches for your growing child or teenager using the foods you have on hand.
For the busiest of parents on a budget, here’s what the Cancer Council suggests you include:
- Some fruit (either fresh in season, dried or in tubs in natural juice)
- Vegetables like carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, or salad in their sandwich. Most kids don’t eat enough veg, so including some in a packed lunch is a great way to up their intake
- Wholegrain carbs like a sandwich, roll, wrap, naan, rice, pasta, quinoa or couscous. Wholegrain carbs are great at providing kids long-lasting energy
- Some protein such as cheese, egg, tuna, chicken or hummus to keep them fuller for longer
- A water bottle (which you can freeze to keep their lunch cold!)
Source: Cancer Council Healthy Lunchbox