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Healthy Packed Food for School Children

Children spend a long period of time at school. Usually, one third of their daily nutrient requirements will be consumed at school. This means that meals taken in school are very important to ensure that the children’s daily requirements are met. It also affects their energy level and attention span as well as their growth and food habits. Below is a guide on how a busy mother can prepare packed foods that are nutritious as well as delicious and contains the five main food groups:

  1. Main meal (for children who have lunch at school or skip breakfast)Sandwich
    • Sandwiches are popular as they are easy to make and easy to eat.
    • Choose whole meal bread as it contains more fibre.
    • Put your child’s favourite fillings such as tuna or sardine, cheese, roasted chicken or boiled egg mashed with some mayonnaise.
    • Add some vegetables such as cucumber, salad or carrot.

    Fried rice or noodles

    • Besides sandwiches, other main dishes that can be packed to school is fried rice or mee / meehoon / pasta. They are delicious and children like them.
    • Add more vegetables, egg, chicken or meat into the rice or noodles to make it more balanced. Cut down on the use of oil when frying.
    • Warm dishes tend to spoil easily. Make sure that the dish is not cooked too early. Cool before packing. Use fresh ingredients. To make fried rice, ensure that the cooked rice has been kept in a refrigerator or freshly prepared.
  2. Fruits and vegetablesAlso pack some fresh fruits such as banana, guava, apples or oranges. Some children love vegetables such as carrot, cucumber or turnip/yam bean (sengkuang).
  3. MilkUHTD milk drinks, including flavoured milk, should always be part of the school packed meal. It contains calcium and protein that are needed by children. Ensure that the milk is handled properly. Milk that is left over should be thrown away to avoid food poisoning.
  4. Healthy snack for recess

    Light snacks are important especially during recess. Pack some biscuits, cakes, sandwiches or local kuih, such as apam kukus, pau kukusor popiah basah that are nutritious. Include some fruits as well. Cut down on snacks that are too sweet, salty or oily.

  5. Plain water
    • Plain water is the best drink for school children.
    • Cordials and carbonated drinks contain too much sugar and can reduce appetite. If taken too often, it can affect the intake of other nutritious foods.
    • Pack some cold plain water or ice in a container. This can keep the water cold and children will like it.

To ensure that your child gets a balanced meal at school, pack a variety of foods consisting of a main dish such as sandwiches, fried rice or noodles as well as fruits and milk, and light snacks for recess. For children who are picky eaters, ask them to help choose or prepare the food to take to school. This may help improve their appetite.

Last reviewed : 19 April 2012
Writer : Siti Mariam bt. Ali