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Eczema: What is it? HealthMint Skin Series

By | Children's Health, Skin | No Comments

Skin Series – All About Eczema

Skin is the largest organ in the body, and it works as a barrier to keep the body safe. When that barrier is broken, eczema can occur. Let’s look at what eczema is, how it occurs and steps you can take to avoid an eczema flareup.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It’s an irritating, and sometimes painful skin condition that occurs when the skins barrier becomes compromised. The skin becomes red, dry and itchy, and over time rough patches might develop. The most common areas to have an eczema flare-up include the creases of the elbows, behind the knees, across the ankles and sometimes on the face, ears and neck. There are many triggers that might cause eczema to flare up, and with careful observation most people are able to identify them to help manage their condition.

Who is Affected by Eczema?

Eczema can occur in people of any age, but it is most common in children. Around one in five children under 2 years old will have the condition. It can also occur in older children and adults, but for most people it improves with age. Even adult eczema normally goes away by middle age, although a small number of people might need to manage the condition for the rest of their lives.

What Causes Eczema?

We don’t really know why some people get eczema. Eczema seems to go along with other issues like allergies, hayfever and asthma, which appears to show that genetics influence the risk of someone developing eczema.

When the skin barrier is damaged, it allows moisture to evaporate and lets irritants and allergens past the skin. In turn, the skin releases chemicals that make the skin itchy, and scratching makes the skin release even more. That creates an irritating and painful cycle that makes the problem worse.

Known irritants that can trigger eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Infections
  • Chlorine from swimming pools
  • Sand (especially in sandpits)
  • Scratching
  • Sitting on grass
  • Chemical irritants like soap and perfumes
  • Changes in temperature
  • Pollen sensitivity

If a person has allergies, then coming into contact with allergens can cause eczema to occur. Constant exposure to water, soap, grease, food or chemicals can also damage the protective barrier function of the skin, which often causes eczema.

Sometimes because an allergic reaction to food and an eczema flare-up can happen around the same time, people assume that the food has caused the eczema, causing them to remove the food from their diet. In some cases, removing foods can help with eczema management but it should only be attempted under the supervision of a doctor.  More often, food issues are unrelated to eczema flare-ups and don’t need to be removed from the diet.

What Treatments are Available?

Unfortunately, eczema can’t be cured. However, it can be treated and managed. Staying away from allergens can help avoid flare-ups, and keeping the skin moisturised and protected can help stop the skin barrier from breaking. People with eczema need to work together with their doctor to identify triggers for their eczema, and work on minimising flare-ups.

People can help manage their own symptoms by:

  • Keeping baths and showers lukewarm
  • Moisturising every day, preferably within a few minutes of bathing
  • Wearing soft, natural fabrics
  • Using mild cleansers, preferably non-soap
  • Gently drying skin after bathing by patting or air-drying
  • Avoiding sudden changes of temperature
  • Using a humidifier when the weather is dry

Your doctor might prescribe:

  • Corticosteroid creams and ointments
  • Systemic corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals if a skin infection has occurred
  • Barrier repair moisturisers
  • Phototherapy – UV A or B light can be used to treat moderate dermatitis.

Managing eczema is an ongoing battle. Even adults who have outgrown childhood eczema can find their skin is easily irritated. Once an area of skin has healed, it still needs ongoing care to ensure the barrier stays intact. People who struggle with eczema need to be proactive, and work with their doctor to identify their triggers, alleviate their symptoms and prevent further breakouts. A cure isn’t currently available, but good skin management can free eczema sufferers from irritation and discomfort.

 

ASCIA Guide to eczema (atopic dermatitis) management:

Click Here

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Keeping Up To Date for World Immunisation Week

By | Children's Health, Immunisation

Keeping Up To Date for World Immunisation Week

 

A baby being kissed by his mother

World Immunisation Week is here, and it’s time to focus on vaccinations.  Around the world, more than 19 million children are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. Australia has relatively high rates of vaccination, but there is still a minority of people who do not follow the recommended vaccination schedule.

In Australia, we’ve largely eliminated many once-common diseases through immunisation – but that doesn’t mean they can’t come back. Vaccines work, but we shouldn’t get complacent about illness. Let’s look at why it’s important to keep up-to-date.

Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines are extremely effective at reducing disease, and are the safest and most cost-effective way to do so. Vaccines use our own immune systems to protect us. A weakened, dead or part of a virus or bacteria is introduced to the immune system. It’s too weak to actually infect us, but enough for our immune system to “learn” to fight it with specialised antibodies. If we encounter the real disease, our bodies will quickly recognise and destroy it, resulting in a mild version of the sickness or no infection at all.

It’s easy to feel like certain vaccines are unnecessary because we are used to living in a country that has spent decades attempting to eradicate serious diseases. However, just because there are fewer visible cases in the community doesn’t mean the disease has gone.

Are all Vaccines Really Necessary?

Some people avoid certain vaccines, believing them to be unnecessary. Measles is a good example of a sickness that people underestimate, and might avoid being immunised against. While for most people measles is a relatively mild (although unpleasant) illness, around 1 in 5,000 who get the virus will die. Other complications are hepatitis, meningitis, loss of vision, and complications for unborn children if a pregnant mother gets the disease.

In 2014, the WHO announced that measles was eliminated in Australia. Surely now we can stop vaccinating against it? Unfortunately not. As the recent measles outbreaks in various parts of Australia show, just because the disease has been eliminated in the Australian population does not mean it can’t be brought in from outside the country. When it is, a vaccinated population will make it much harder for an epidemic to spread.

Could Improved Hygiene Explain Disease Reduction?

Some people believe that reduction in serious diseases is not a result of vaccinating, but rather just because we as a society have become cleaner and more aware of diseases. Chicken pox is the best example of why this is not the case.

The vaccine for varicella (which causes chicken pox) has only been available since the mid-1990s. In the early 1990s, before the vaccine became available, the U.S. had about four million cases of chicken pox per year. By 2004, cases of chicken pox had dropped by 85%. Hygiene practices had not changed significantly in that time – only immunisation could explain such a drastic improvement.

What You Can Do

The most important job is to make sure that you and your family are up-to-date on their vaccinations. The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register has information on what your child has already had, and what they might need. If you have fallen behind, you can talk to your doctor about a catch-up schedule.

Getting vaccinated is absolutely vital for the health of your family and the wider community. If you have questions, your GP can answer them and point you in the right direction for accurate, trustworthy information. Vaccines work, and it’s up to each individual to keep ourselves and vulnerable people around us protected.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss immunisation –>

Stay Safer This Flu Season

By | Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Immunisation

 Stay Safer This Flu Season

Flu season is coming! The influenza virus is always around, but the colder months of the year make us all huddle in together and makes it easier for the virus to spread. From April to October, the number of cases of influenza rise dramatically in Australia. Sometimes when people get a cold they call it “the flu”, but influenza is more than just a nasty cold – last year alone it was responsible for the deaths of 1,000 Australians.

There are a few safeguards we can put into place to help reduce the chances of getting the flu this flu season.

Basic Hygiene

Let’s start with the basics – one of the best ways of protecting yourself is the things we already know. Without becoming a “germaphobe”, it’s important to be aware of how we can pick up and transfer germs from one place to another – and how to break the cycle.

  • You’ve been washing your hands since you were little, but it might be time to revisit your technique. Make sure you’re washing each part of your hands (backs, palms, in between your fingers) with plenty of soap and hot water for at least the length of time it takes to sing “happy birthday” under your breath.
  • Use disposable tissues wherever possible and bin them straight away, and cover your whole mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze.
  • Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible – including rubbing your nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Clean surfaces regularly, especially when they’re high use such as door knobs, telephones and keyboards.
  • Lastly, flu season is not the time to share – make sure you wash cups, plates and cutlery thoroughly before using them.Stay

Get Vaccinated.

There is a whole lot of misinformation that circulates about the flu vaccine – with some people saying it can give you the flu, or that it doesn’t work. The truth is, while it’s not perfect, the flu vaccine is one of the best defences we have to protect ourselves against the flu.

The flu vaccine is less effective than other vaccines because of the nature of influenza. The virus mutates and changes regularly, and there are a number of viruses responsible. In your flu vaccine is protection against the 3 or 4 most likely strains to be around based on evidence from past seasons and from other countries. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than nothing.

Not only does your flu vaccine help protect you from getting infected with an influenza virus, if you do get the virus your symptoms are likely to be less severe and go away quicker, with less risk of extra complications. That’s well worth the small investment in getting the vaccine.

Many people confuse a bad cold with the flu, but influenza can be much more serious, causing hospitalisation and even death in sometimes otherwise healthy people. If you come down with an illness, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid spreading it and to see a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve over a few days. Through this flu season, keep yourself safe and do your part to protect others from this nasty strain of viruses.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss the flu ->

Supporting International Childhood Cancer Day

By | Cancer, Children's Health

Supporting International Childhood Cancer Day

 

 

While childhood cancer is a topic many people avoid, avoidance can mean that the people who experience it feel forgotten. Whether childhood cancer is a horrific hypothetical situation, or a diagnosis that has been experienced personally or through someone else, it’s good to take time to remember the children who are diagnosed every week. International Childhood Cancer Day raises awareness of the disease and is a call to support cancer patients, survivors and their families.

What is childhood cancer?

Any cancer diagnosed in a person aged 0-19 falls into this category. In Australia, over 950 children will be diagnosed with some form of cancer each year. 1/3 of those cancers will be found in children aged 0-4.

The most common cancers for adults, such as lung, rectal and breast cancers are very rare in children. Leukaemia, lymphoma and cancers of the central nervous system are the most common. Unlike adult cancers, childhood cancer isn’t linked to lifestyle and can’t be prevented. Other than some genetic links, there is no known cause for most childhood cancers.

Are children with cancer likely to survive?

It wasn’t so long ago that cancer in childhood was almost always fatal. These days, over 90% of Australian children survive. However, that number isn’t the same across all types of cancer. One type of cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, has a 90% survival rate, whereas the chances of surviving a brain tumour haven’t changed in decades from around 50%. Even when children’s bodies recover, cancer can take a huge toll on their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as putting a huge emotional and financial strain on families.

Circumstances can equal survival.

It’s a harsh reality, but according to the World Health Organisation up to 90% of childhood cancer deaths occur in areas that have low resources. People from low-income areas are less likely to detect cancer in time for early treatment, and they have less access to resources when parents or medical staff do suspect that something might be wrong. In Australia, there is a concerning survival gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, as well as for children who live in remote regions.

So what can be done?

Medical research into the various forms of childhood cancer is the only way to provide long-term solutions. Research breakthroughs can then be applied to the detection and treatment of cancer, which should eventually benefit children around the world. Other institutions provide support for children and their families as they undergo treatment.

If you wish to help financially, make sure you find a reputable charity where the assistance is guaranteed to go directly to the people who need it. Some other ideas might be fundraising, raising awareness, and taking the time to reach out if you know someone who has experienced a diagnosis of childhood cancer. If you are dealing with a diagnosis, make sure you have the support you need through this difficult time.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to talk about childhood cancer –>

7 Tips to Ease Your Child Into School

By | Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Lifestyle

7 Tips to Ease Your Child Into School

 

 

Starting school is a big moment for children, but also for their parents too! Your family life will experience changes, and preparing your child to start school before the big day arrives makes the transition easier on everybody. Here are some tips to help your child feel ready for this next big step.

  1. Practice basic skills.

Using the toilet independently, reading letters and numbers, recognising their name when written and being able to follow basic instructions are just some skills you might want to think about before starting school.

  1. Do a trial run.

Make arrangements to visit the school together and meet the teacher. Try to think about areas of school life that your child might find confronting – knowing where the toilets are, where they can play at lunchtime, how to get to their classroom, where they can get a drink of water and where you’ll be picking them up is a good start.

  1. Use resources.

There is a huge range of books available that deal with the topic of starting school in a positive and uplifting way. Whether you buy them or borrow from the library, reading about the subject together can make it seem less threatening. Many children’s TV shows also feature episodes where the main characters go to school for the first time.

  1. Make it fun.

Instead of seeing uniform shopping and buying school supplies as a chore, turn it into a chance to spend some one-on-one time with your child and get them involved in the process. Depending on their personality they might want to do a fashion show in their uniform, show their new purchases to other members of the family, or help decorate their new belongings.

  1. Know their level.

If they have previously been attending kindy or day-care, have a chat to the educators to see what your child has been doing. Most states make available online a list of basic skills they expect school-aged children to have mastered, although don’t panic if your child isn’t quite there yet – children learn fast! If you do have any concerns, their future teacher is a good person to speak to.

  1. Stay calm.

Children do pick up on their parents’ emotions, so try to keep your approach upbeat but calm – at least in front of them! While you definitely don’t want to focus on the negatives, for some children there is such a thing as too much enthusiasm. For most children it helps to approach the day like a fun adventure instead of a huge, life-changing event (even though you know it is!).

  1. Encourage communication.

School encourages independence – which is a good thing, but you need to know that your child will talk to you or a trusted adult if they are experiencing a problem. Start to practice communicating before they go to school. Open communication looks different for each family, but setting time aside for one-on-one chat about their day is vital.

It’s also important that you try to keep those talks as a safe space, where they don’t feel like they will get into trouble for sharing with you (within reason of course!). Setting up a habit of communicating about the small things will give them the opportunity to share any big things that might come up.

 

Gather people around you who can support you and your family during this time – join a parenting forum, speak to the teacher, try to meet other families going to the same school, or chat to people who have been through the process before. Soon the whole process will become routine, and you’ll be able to advise other parents in the same position.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your child’s health or development ->

Keeping Abreast of all Things Breastfeeding – 7 Facts You May Not Know

By | Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Nutrition, Women's Health

Keeping Abreast of all Things Breastfeeding – 7 Facts You May Not Know

 

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and the theme this year is “sustaining breastfeeding together”. Breastfeeding is actually a team effort – the research shows that mothers breastfeed more effectively and for longer when they feel supported. So, let’s get together and look at 7 interesting facts you might not know about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding benefits mothers

It’s not just baby that benefits – exclusively breastfeeding can have a natural birth control effect for the first six months – but while it’s 98% effective, it’s not 100% failsafe! Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, helps most mothers to lose baby weight, and reduces the risk of type II diabetes and postnatal depression.

Breastfeeding helps the budget

Breastfeeding can save a family hundreds of dollars a year. Even without the cost of formula, breastfeeding mothers avoid the cost of bottles, bottle warmers, sterilisers, and specialised equipment. Even mothers who pump their breast milk will not normally require as much additional cost.

Breast milk adapts to baby’s needs

Breast milk changes its nutritional profile as your baby’s needs change. Breast milk for a 1 month old is different to the milk a mother produces for a 6 month old. It can even be different from one day to the next – for example, the body will automatically add more water during hot weather to help baby stay hydrated.

Big breasts don’t mean better breastfeeding

Breast size has very little to do with how much milk is produced and stored. Breast size is usually determined by fat deposits, but it is the mammary glands in breasts that produce milk.

Breastfeeding helps with bonding

Babies are born with limited eyesight – in fact, they can only see 20 – 30 cm. That happens to be the perfect distance to see their mum’s face while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also gives skin-to-skin contact, which is perfect for bonding with a new baby.

Don’t put the brakes on breastfeeding

Mums can still breastfeed during most sicknesses – in fact, it’s often better for baby. By the time you have symptoms, you have probably already passed on the infection, so it’s best to keep breastfeeding so your baby gets the benefits of your antibodies to help fight the sickness. You also don’t need to avoid a glass or two of alcohol – just wait at least 2 hours after each drink before feeding again.

Breastfeeding knowledge is built up over time

While many people think breastfeeding comes naturally, it can actually take some women time and effort to learn. It’s normal to need help. That’s why one of the major factors that determine whether a mother sticks with breastfeeding is how much support she has.

Not everyone can breastfeed exclusively, but the vast majority of women are able to when given support.  If you have any concerns or questions about breastfeeding or your baby, your GP can help or point you towards free specialist services.

You can click here to book in with a GP –>

5 Reasons to get outside and play with your kids!

By | Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

5 Reasons to get outside and play with your kids! 

Kids love to get outside to play – and as parents know, they should get out in the fresh air as much as possible. The National Day of Real Play is a fantastic initiative to encourage parents to get their kids playing creatively. More than just play, getting out of the house has real health benefits for your children. Let’s look at some great reasons why you should take advantage of the National Day of Real Play and get your kids playing.

1. Helps to improve vision.

Studies by vision specialists have shown that when children play outside, it can help with their depth perception and distance vision. It makes sense that getting out of the four walls at home encourages their eyes to see further. You could take advantage of any scenic places in your area or hide things in your garden for them to find, to help them use their eyes at different ranges and depths.

2. Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a vitamin our body can get for itself, but we need sunlight to be able to make it. Unfortunately, as children stay indoors for longer periods, vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common. Don’t throw your sun safety teaching out, but just a few minutes of direct sunlight each day will help your child to keep their vitamin D up at the levels they need to stay healthy and strong.

3. Increased attention span.

Many parents have already discovered for themselves the benefits of getting their kids to “burn excess energy” before they settle down. It seems this instinct has scientific backing – children who play outside and are encouraged to join in creative activities have been shown to have an increased attention span when it’s time for other activities. Being able to focus on tasks is a great life skill for later, and getting active helps children to concentrate.

4. Reduced stress.

Sadly, stress levels in children are on the rise, and even young children are being brought to their doctors for consultations. While you should always seek advice if you have any concerns, encouraging your children to be outside can help to reduce their stress levels. Practising mindfulness exercises outside can also help kids to reduce stress and feel more balanced.

5. Muscle strength and coordination.

One of the easiest ways that we can get our children to improve their muscle strength is to encourage kids to use them! Getting outdoors provides lots of opportunities to run, play and get involved with sports.
Movement is the best way to see your children improve their gross and fine motor skills, and helps them to develop their muscles and improve their coordination.

There are so many more great reasons to get your kids outside and active. Have a look online for some National Day of Real Play activities that are being held in your area, and you’ll also find some great tips for easy and fun ways to get creative at home. If you do have any concerns about your children, remember to discuss them with your GP. You can click here to book if you need.

Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance

By | Children's Health, Nutrition

Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance – What’s the difference?

Food has become the center of everyone’s attention, be it about eating habits, taking pictures of daily meals or just trying to understand how what we eat affects our bodies. In the process of understanding the effects of food on our body, we can often find ourselves thinking that we have an allergy after reacting badly to something we have eaten.

Food allergies and intolerances are often confused, as their symptoms can seem very similar. Truth be told, the two are very different and it is important to be able to identify one from another.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy involves our body’s immune system reacting badly to a food protein that is otherwise harmless. When food is eaten with a particular type of protein, the immune system releases a large amount of chemical rapidly, which triggers immediate symptoms that can affect a person’s skin, gastrointestinal tract, heart and breathing in no particular order.

Some of the most common food that the causes allergies include:

  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Cow’s milk
  • Wheat
  • Tree nuts
  • Sesame
  • Fish and Shellfish

While these foods cause 90% of allergic reactions in Australian, any food can cause an allergic reaction as well as other non-foods including dust, pollen, animals and medication.

Signs and symptoms of food allergies can range from mild reactions in the skin, to moderate and severe life threatening reactions. It is important to be aware of these signs and symptoms. An allergic reaction can cause:

  • Hives or rashes (eczema)
  • Swelling of the lips, face and eyes
  • Abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing due to swelling of the throat
  • Persistent coughing and wheezing
  • Dizziness and collapse
  • Pale skin and floppiness (in children)

Allergies are very common in Australia affecting 1 in 5 people at some stage of their life. Food allergies occur in around 1 in 20 children and 2 in 100 adults. They can occur at any stage of life. Children with food allergies may outgrow them over time; conversely, adults who previously did not suffer any allergies could develop one later in life. The severity is often unpredictable, therefore taking appropriate care and caution for people with known food allergies is important.

What is food intolerance?

Food intolerance is generally a chemical reaction occurring in the body, that does not involve the immune system. This can occur in response to naturally occurring chemical in food and to common food additives such as preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings. Reactions are generally dose dependent with each individual having a different tolerance level.

The exact mechanism of how food intolerance affects our body is not fully understood and is an area of growing research. However, some common signs and symptoms include itchy rashes, gastrointestinal issues such as bowel irritability and migraines.

 

If you are experiencing a food allergy or food intolerance, it may mean that you have to eliminate certain foods from your diet. It is important to make sure that eliminated foods are replaced with other alternatives, so that you are not missing out on important nutrients.

It is essential that an allergy or food intolerance is appropriately diagnosed by your GP or allergy specialist and an Accredited Practising Dietitian is consulted to ensure nutritional adequacy, appropriate management of food allergy and growth monitoring in children.

 

If you would like to see a GP to discuss your concerns about food allergies or intolerances, you can click here to book. We also have an onsite dietitian who you can be referred to if necessary –> 

5 ideas to keep you and your children hydrated this Summer

By | Body Systems, Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Travel

5 ideas to keep you and your children hydrated this Summer

Why is it important to be hydrated?

Your body uses water for so many things, including maintaining temperature, removing waste, and lubricating joints. In fact, every single cell in your body requires water to work correctly!

What is dehydration?

Dehydration is a condition where the loss of body fluids exceeds the amount of fluid taken in. If severe, it can be quite dangerous and can even lead to death. 

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

If dehydration if mild, you may experience:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Having a dry mouth, lips and tongue
  • Having a headache
  • Having dark yellow urine, and not much of it
  • Feeling dizzy or light headed when standing up

If dehydration is severe, you may experience

  • Feeling extremely thirsty
  • Having a very dry mouth
  • Breathing fast
  • Having a fast heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Having a fever
  • Having little or no urine
  • Feeling irritable, drowsy or confused

What causes dehydration?

You lose fluid every time you sweat, go to the bathroom, or even breathe. When it’s hot, the amount of fluid you lose doing just day-to-day activities increases dramatically. Dehydration can also be caused by vomiting and diarrhea – so it’s particularly important to be mindful of your fluid intake if you experience either of these, and potentially see your doctor if your symptoms don’t alleviate.

 So what are your five tips for keeping hydrated??

Glad you asked! Here they are:

  1. Add a slice of lemon or lime to your water bottle to add some flavor.
  1. If you often forget to drink water, make it part of your schedule – such as drinking when you wake, at each meal and when you go to bed. Alternatively you could drink a small glass of water every hour, or set a ‘water alarm’ on your phone to remind you to take a sip.
  1. Use a phone app to track how many cups of water you’ve had!
  1. Keep a jug of water on the dinner table and encourage everyone to fill their glass once before and once after eating.
  1. Prepare snacks made from water rich foods, such as cucumbers, melons or celery.
  1. Bonus tip! When you’re in the car, turn drinking water into a game, and see who can be the first to take a sip at each light.

Book online to see a GP to discuss any concerns about dehydration —>

Note: if you are concerned that you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration, please call 000.

5 Top Tips for Packing Healthier Lunchboxes

By | Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition

5 Top Tips for Packing Healthier Lunchboxes

It’s that time of year again when all parents are busy settling their children back into school! First term highlights the start to another full year of growth, learning and development for your children.

To help our kids maintain concentration, keep their tummies full and have the energy to play at recess and lunch, it is extremely important we provide them with a nutritious and exciting lunchbox every day!

To help you out, we have put together some handy hints to help you plan and prepare a healthy, balanced lunchbox for your children.

 

Healthy Hint 1: We have 5 main food groups that we should eat from every single day

Try to include at least one serve of each of these foods in your child’s lunch box daily:

  • Fruit –  1 piece of fruit, puree pack/fruit snack pack, cherry tomatoes, small handful of sultanas/dried fruit etc.
  • Vegetables – Carrot and celery sticks, lettuce or cucumber in a sandwich, sweet corn in a salad etc.
  • Dairy – Tub of yoghurt, cubed cheese or sliced cheese in a sandwich, milk etc.
  • Protein – Chicken, ham, turkey, beef in a sandwich/wrap, handful of nuts, tuna etc.
  • Grains and Cereals – (Wholemeal/multigrain options recommended).
    Bread, bread roll, crackers, pasta salad, muesli bar etc.

 

Happy Hint 2: Include lots of variety

Kids love colour so try to include as many different colours as you can in their lunchbox. Try to give them different foods during the week and cut foods into different shapes to keep it interesting.

 

Hydration Hint 3: Hydration is key for concentration

Always ensure to send your child off to school with a water bottle. Try freezing it overnight and packing it in the lunchbox to keep your child’s lunch cool, or you can use it instead of a freezer block for good food safety!

 

Helpful Hint 4: Encourage kids to join in on making their own lunch

Get the kids involved in choosing/preparing/cutting/peeling the foods. Research shows this increases the likelihood of children eating healthy foods. This will also help them learn to appreciate the time it takes mum and dad to make their lunch every day!

 

Hero Hint 5: Set a good example

If kids see you setting great example and eating these healthy foods/putting them in your work lunch box too, they will be much more inclined to give it a go and enjoy the foods you provide.

 

As children spend a large portion of their day at school, their lunch box is a great opportunity to get them eating lots of healthy, nourishing foods to help them perform their best at school. If you have any questions, queries or your own wonderful lunchbox ideas please comment below!

 

For other great tips for packing healthier lunchboxes and more information check out:

 

 

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