Healthy lunch boxes for children
SCHOOL lunchboxes need a healthy overhaul, and should not be too expensive.
According to studies by the British Heart Foundation, just one per cent of primary school children's packed lunches meet the nutritional standard set for school meals in England.
But to make an interesting lunchbox for a child surrounded by chocolate and sweets and still keep it healthy, is a tough ask.
As a guideline, the NHS is advising that a lunchbox should have starchy foods, such as bread and pasta, protein foods, such as meat, a dairy item, fruit and vegetables.
Sunday and Monday evenings £12.00 per head for an all inclusive meal with Indian and Thai cuisine (normal price £14.50).
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For Paul Lewis, 55, co-owner of Natural Grocery in Bath Road, Cheltenham, eating healthy has become a lifestyle, and something he has done since he was young.
He said: "My partner Mike Fisher was the inspiration behind it. He is always eating healthy and organic food.
"I was brought up on good, healthy food. Children need the right sort of nutrition when they are growing up."
The average cost of a healthy lunchbox including wholemeal bread, butter, eggs, cheddar, ham, apple, orange juice, oat biscuit and bottle of water, costs about £2.65 per day from Whole Food Markets.
A similar healthy lunchbox from Sainsbury's costs around £2.55 per day.
A lunchbox with similar nine items from Natural Grocery costs £2.10.
Paul, born and bred in Cheltenham, said: "The very thought of a huge amount of additives going into your food is simply very off-putting.
"Why put in artificial flavours and ingredients and colours? Food for children should already be colourful enough."
The independent retailer, which aims to have at least 70 per cent of their food organic, has had to compete with a Sainsbury's opening opposite.
"Business has been tough, but we're still here," he added.
"It will be nice to give children the opportunity to eat well and healthy.
"We had parents come in and ask what would make a healthy lunchbox, and we would love to help put them together."
Mother Keri Price, 31, from St Margaret's Cheltenham, said it was important her daughter had a healthy lunchbox.
She said: "I would definitely like her to have some yoghurt and fruit in her lunchbox.
"Those little rice crackers are also quite healthy and water and milk.
"I would have ham or low-fat jam in the sandwich."
Christine Bond, 62, from The Park, Cheltenham, said: "Wheat products, such as wholemeal bread is important, and maybe some pasta and low-fat cheese."