Organix No Junk Lunchboxes Campaign – Join us and say ‘no’ to junk in children’s food.

Organix No Junk Lunchbox Challenge
Organix No Junk Lunchboxes Campaign – Join us and say ‘no’ to junk in children’s food.
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Children need sustenance to grow properly and excel in life and more parents are jumping on the bandwagon to ensure that children have a healthy and balanced diet from as early an age as possible. However, a survey of mums across the UK, to mark the launch of Organix’s No Junk Challenge Lunchbox Campaign, revealed that over 8 out of 10 mums believe that children’s food options marketed at parents for lunchboxes are often unhealthy, or of limited nutritional value. 87% of fed up mums think the food industry need to provide healthy nutritious food for children and a whopping 97% of parents say that they want to have more healthy options for lunchboxes for their children.

Organix launched the ‘No Junk’ challenge, a campaign to encourage parents to look into fresh natural ingredients and to challenge the food industry to remove the ‘junk’ from children’s food. The No Junk Challenge aims to offer parents advice on how to read ingredients on the back of packets and identify the dirty dozen. These are:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

(Image taken from www.greenhousepr.co.uk.)

Facts about children’s food

The ‘No Junk’ campaign responds to what is found in children’s food:

  • Official statistics show that one in five children starting school are overweight or obese.
  • Children’s food brands making health claims are found to be higher in salt, fat and sugar.
  • Artificial additives are widely used to disguise cheap ingredients.
  • Nearly half of the best-selling brands are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS).

“We know it’s not always easy to make good food choices. So, the Organix No Junk Challenge, with the help of blogger supporters and experts, like the Lunchbox Doctor, aim to help and inspire families to use real ingredients and to try to avoid foods with artificial colourings and flavourings, or foods high in added salt, fat and sugar. Statistically, one of the hardest elements of a nutritionally balanced lunchbox for parents is the veg portion…. Just 1 out of 10 lunchboxes has a vegetable portion in it.” Organix Managing Director, Anna Rosier.

It’s tough as busy parents to fit in being able to provide the best possible nutrition for your children. With tons of media from various sources advertising their brands heavily as decent children’s food, crossed with a busy parent’s daily lifestyle, finding the precious time to shop regularly to maintain children’s 5-a-day portions of fruit and veg can become a challenge. 61% of parents find it difficult to keep lunchboxes varied and interested. So, Motherhood Diaries has teamed up with Organix, the UK’s pioneering food brand, to come up with 5 days’ worth of healthy lunchboxes that are quick and easy to make, yet provide the vital building blocks for children to excel at school, as well as adopt a healthy approach and lifestyle to eating in general. As 57% of parents say that they need more advice on what should go into a child’s lunchbox, Motherhood Diaries has decided to make 5 days’ worth of ‘No Junk’ lunchboxes, using the recipes kindly provided by Organix (plus one of my own). These lunchboxes are made from one bona fide parent with little time and amateur kitchen tools and skills, but they are tasty options that any parent can make in next to no time.

Day 1, Monday

Food Benefits
Banana
  • A banana a day should keep the doctor away,” is the adage that all people should be chanting because a banana’s health benefits far outweigh those of the apple because it contains more vitamins and nutrients than their fruit counterparts.
  • 2 x as many carbohydrates as an apple
  • 5 x as much Vitamin A and iron
  • 3 x as much phosphorus
  • Bananas provide energy because of the abundance of vitamins and minerals they pack – perfect for busy bees at school!
  • Rich in potassium and natural sugars – potassium is vital for performance and helps the body’s circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain.
  • Bananas promote bowel health – Bananas contain fibre and can help stop constipation.
  • Banana is a “super food” that should form an integral part of a healthy daily regimen.
  • Bananas contain a chemical called tryptophan which contains a level of protein that helps the mind relax so you feel happier.
  • Bananas increase brain power

(Information and statistics taken from www.lifescript.com.)

Natural Greek Yoghurt
  • 2 x as much protein (13 to 20g) as regular yoghurt (5 to 10g). The extra protein leaves kids feeling full and satisfied.
  • 50% less sodium, which means much less salt added to your child’s daily food diet.
  • Easy to digest because it has less lactose (the sugar in dairy that can sometimes upset kid’s stomachs, i.e. lactose intolerance).
  • Contains probiotics, which are live bacteria that help improve digestive function and the immune system. Can help reduce side effects of antibiotic treatments.
  • Greek yoghurt is versatile and can go with many savoury and sweet ingredients. Children love sweet yoghurt and so Greek yoghurt can be complemented with sweet fruits like berries. Add a drop of Manuka Honey and you’ve created a super healthy desert as a lunchbox treat.

(Information and statistics taken from www.livestrong.com.)

Organix No Junk Pork, Leek & Feta Cheese Sausage Rolls
  • Pork contains Vitamin B12, which are key nutrients kids need for proper growth and development. Vitamin B12 supports the proper formation of red blood cells and promotes normal brain function.
  • Helps your child turn food into energy. Children aged 8 and younger require 0.9 and 1.2 micrograms (mg) of vitamin B12 per day. Older children require between 1.8 and 2.4mg a day.
  • Meat is high in iron, which means there’s less chance of children getting tired and/or feeling anaemic. Younger children need between 7 and 10mg of iron per day.
  • High in Zinc, an essential mineral that keeps kids’ immune systems working properly and aids in wound healing. Zinc also enables kids to taste and smell properly.
  • High in protein, which supports normal growth and helps kids maintain a healthy weight.
  • Leeks are about 90% water, contain dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins A (great for immune system, skin and vision), C (great for cell regeneration, organ health and would healing) and K (promotes would healing and building strong bones). Leeks also contain folate and some amounts of the vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3 and B6), which is great for overall body health.
  • Feta cheese is high in calcium and contains nearly 140mg, making it one of the best dietary sources essential for health development of bones and teeth.
  • Recipe link to make the Organix Sausage Rolls here: http://www.motherhooddiaries.com/party-sausage-rolls-recipe-part-organix-junk-lunchbox-challenge/

(Information and statistics taken from www.healthyeating.sfgate.com, www.juicing-for-health.com, www.nhs.uk and www.ehow.com.)

Carrot Sticks
  • Carrots have a sweet, crunchy taste that kids love.
  • Carrots are good sources of vitamin B1, B2, B6 and K, biotin fibre, potassium and thiamine.
  • Improves vision – Carrots contain vitamin A, which the eye needs to function properly, especially at night.
  • Strong cleansing properties, which can nourish the skin.
  • Helps to clean teeth after meals, by triggering a lot of saliva that helps to take away stains from the teeth and gums. The minerals in carrots can also help kill germs and prevent tooth damage.
  • Can be accompanied with a healthy dip like the Greek Yoghurt.

Information and statistics taken from www.healthonlinezine.info.)

Day 2, Tuesday

Food Benefits
Organix No Junk Sweet Potato, Leek & Goat’s Cheese Mini Quiches
  • Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and C, which is great for vision and the immune system.
  • Sweet potatoes also contain potassium which help the heart and muscles to work better.
  • Sweet potatoes are high in fibre,which is important for the stomach and intestines.
  • Goat’s Cheese is high in calcium, low in fat and cholesterol, low in sodium and contains a sufficient amount of protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • The Organix Mini Quiches pack all of the above goodness in one bite-sized, cupcake-sized snack and can provide an interesting alternative to the bog-standard lunch staple, the sandwich.
  • Recipe for the Organix No Junk Sweet Potato, Leek & Goat’s Cheese Mini Quiches can be found here: http://www.motherhooddiaries.com/organix-junk-sweet-potato-leek-goats-cheese-mini-quiches/

(Information and statistics taken from www.whfoods.com, fit.wemd.com and www.livestrong.com.)

Fruity Couscous
  • The Fruity Couscous recipe contains red pepper, cucumber, mango, grapes and chickpeas.
  • Kids love the taste of mango, which is great because they are healthy!
  • Mangos can clear skin, promote eye health, improve digestion and boost the immune system.
  • Chickpeas are high in fibre and protein, which helps to stave off hunger.
  • Chickpeas are versatile and can be used in salads, soups and for making houmous.
  • The Fruity Couscous offers a sweet alternative to regular rice dishes, which can entice children to try out the meal – kids love sweet-based meals.

(Information and statistics taken from www.care2.com, www.livestrong.com and www.canadianliving.com.)

Salmon, Cream Cheese, Seasonal Leaves & Chives Dip
  • The dip can be made from the remainder of sauce left from making the Organix No Junk Salmon, Cream Cheese and Seasonal Leaves recipe, but with an added pinch of chives too.
  • Salmon is nutrient dense and an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12).
  • Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to a healthy functioning of the brain, heart, joints and the general body.
  • Seasonal leaves are high in fibre which prevent constipation and lower cholesterol levels. Kids can feel fuller after lunch.
  • Frequently eating greens will result in higher blood levels and powerful antioxidants including vitamin C and E, folic acid, lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

(Information and statistics taken from www.bbcgoodfood.com, www.webmd.com,

½ Red Bell Pepper (cut up into sticks)
  • Nice and sweet and works perfectly with the Salmon, Cream Cheese, Seasonal Leaves & Chives Dip.
  • Bell Pepper contains many plant nutrients, which prevents disease and promotes health.
  • Rich source of vitamin C and A, and has disease fighting powers (i.e. anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic chemicals.)
  • Adequate levels of essential minerals, including iron and potassium.
  • Great source of the vitamin-B complex and promotes regeneration of cells.

(Information and statistics taken from www.nutrition-and-you.com.)

Day 3, Wednesday

Food Benefits
Organix No Junk Lunchboxes Mini Pepper & Sweetcorn Tarts
Pasta salad with Crème Fraiche and Mixed Vegetables
  • You can use the leftover crème fraiche from the recipe, Organix No Junk Lunchboxes Mini Pepper & Sweetcorn Tarts Recipe as a sauce for the pasta.
  • Add some mixed vegetables of your choice and your children can enjoy a healthy and tasty pasta salad packed full of nutrients.
  • Pasta provides beneficial carbohydrates, which is a primary source of fuel for a child’s body. Whole-wheat pasta also provides a considerable amount of dietary fibre.
  • Pasta also contains selenium, manganese, folate (vitamin B9) and Carotenoids, which protect cells and regulates blood sugar.
  • Pasta is versatile and can go with almost any food ingredient. A variety of pasta dishes can be offered to children as part of their healthy ‘no junk’ lunchboxes.
  • Mixing vegetable into the pasta salads provides hidden nutrients and overall general wellbeing.
Cucumber Sticks
  • Cucumbers are known to be one of the best foods for a child’s overall health and rehydrates the body, as well as replenishes daily vitamins.
  • Cucumbers are 95% water and their skin can be used on skin irritations and sunburns.
  • Cucumbers have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce puffiness and relieve bad breath.
Red Grapes
  • Grapes are sweet, which is why kids love them as a snack in their lunchbox.
  • Grapes are high in vitamin C, potassium and calcium, making them a great nutrient source, contributing to growth and repair of tissues in the body and aiding heart function and food digestion. Calcium is a critical part of a child’s daily diet, so complementing the sweet snack with some cheddar cheese could help boost their calcium intake.
Parmesan Cheese
  • Kids love finger food and providing them with grated cheese can offer them great enjoyment during meals.
  • Parmesan cheese is packed with protein, enabling the body to repair and maintain itself.
  • Rich in calcium, which is essential for proper growth and development.
  • Vitamin A rich, aiding good vision, particularly at night.
  • Grapes and cheese have been a well-known pair for a long time and offering them as a double snack for your children will enable them to open up their delicate palates and expand their knowledge on combinations of foods that go well together.

(Information and statistics taken from www.livestrong.com.)

Day 4, Thursday

Food Benefits
Fruity Couscous
  • A really tasty and sweet way of enjoying a hearty lunch.
  • Couscous is very versatile and can go with almost any sweet or savoury ingredient.
  • See above for more information on the Fruity Couscous recipe.
Banana
  • See above for more information on the benefits of the banana
Organix No Junk Pork, Leek & Feta Cheese Sausage Rolls
Sweet Potato & Leek Snack
Green Grapes
  • See above for more information on the benefits of grapes.

Day 5, Friday

Food Benefits
Organix No Junk Pork, Leek & Feta Cheese Sausage Rolls
Sweet Potato & Leek Snack
Salmon, Cream Cheese and Seasonal Leaves Sandwich
  • You can find the Organix No Junk Salmon, Cream Cheese and Seasonal Leaves recipe here.
  • Sandwiches are one of the most common items in every child’s lunchbox due to its versatility, power giving and nutritional benefits.
  • There are tons of different fillings you can add to any sandwich, but the nutrient rich Salmon Cream Cheese and Seasonal leaves sandwich, coupled with the goodness of brown bread will provide your child with a healthy lunched, packed full of vitamins and minerals for their general wellbeing.
  • Salmon can be cooked in minutes and the cream cheese adds a nice cheesy flavour, which kids love. Shred the leaves if your child is not interested in/doesn’t like salad.
Tomato
  • Tomatoes are full of vitamins, including vitamins A, C and E.
  • They also contain flavonoids, which are natural anti-inflammatories, potassium and other salts.
  • Contain a high volume of water and provides additional hydrating benefits in a child’s lunchbox.
  • The antioxidant, Lycopene, removes free radicals that can harm children’s body cells.
  • Kids also love tomatoes, and they’re a lovely juicy snack to eat during lunchtimes.

(Information and statistics taken from www.netdoctor.co.uk.)

Mango
  • Mangos are lovely and sweet and can be a great alternative to sweet desserts.
  • Protects eyesight, fights microbial infections, is easily digestible and improves brain development (highly suitable for babies too).
Cheddar Cheese Cubes
  • Cheddar cheese is cheap and widely available.
  • Rich in protein, which helps body composition.
  • Rich in calcium, which promotes strong bones and teeth.
  • Moderately rich in vitamin A, which promotes healthy eyes.
  • Kids love munching on cheese, especially cheddar cheese, because of its less harsh and overbearing taste.

(Information and statistics taken from www.livestrong.com.)

Babybel Cheese
  • Added as a special treat for a great source of calcium.

All lunchbox options are offered with water or milk. There are lots of other ways you could dress up a child’s lunchbox by chopping and changing all the healthy ingredients you have at home. If you have a little more time spare, you could use a biscuit cutter to cut the food into little shapes, like stars or fish.

Eats Amazing’s Top Tips for Making Lunchboxes fun:

Cut sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Don’t waste those crusts though – whizz them up to make bread crumbs and freeze until you need them.

  • For the fruity cousous, I packed it with some added side dishes to make a simple star-themed lunch.  I cut tiny stars from raw carrot and sprinkled them over the top of the couscous.  On the side I added half an apple with a star cut from the skin to decorate (dip any cut surfaces of apple in orange or lemon juice to prevent browning), stars cut from cheddar cheese and a few more raw carrot stars.  I used a reusable silicone cupcake case to hold the portion of cheese, which also added an extra splash of colour to the lunch box.  All of the star shapes were cut out using a mini cutter, but a small sharp knife would do the same job.
  • Use reusable silicone cupcake or muffin cases to hold smaller pieces of food. They’ll help with portion control and add a bright splash of extra colour to your lunch.
  • Food on a stick is always a kit with children! Try making sandwich ‘kebabs’ with pieces of bread, ham, cheese, cherry tomatoes and crunchy veggies like peppers or cucumber, or use brightly coloured fruit to make a rainbow.
  • Keep your lunches interesting by varying the contents as much as possible. Write a list of all the foods your children will eat (plus a few new ones for them to try!) and stick it to the fridge for inspiration when you’ve run out of ideas.
  • Try occasionally swapping sandwiches for pasta, rice or couscous salads. Add shredded meat, veggies and fruit in as many different colours as possible to make it a rainbow salad!
  • With a bit of imagination you can turn your leftovers into fun and creative lunches. Turn a jacket potato half into a fun boat with a cocktail stick and ham sail, add pairs of eyes cut from cheese to a pasta salad or cut fun shapes from crunchy veggies such as carrots and peppers and hide them in leftover rice to make an edible treasure hunt!
  • Visit http://eatsamazing.co.uk/lunches/no-junk-lunch-challenge-with-organix for more information on Eats Amazing’s fabulous lunchboxes.

Top Ten Tips for No Junk Lunchboxes by the Lunchbox Doctor

  1. Provide water rather than fruit juice or squash in your child’s lunchbox. Try adding real fruit to the water for something different e.g. lemon or strawberries. Keep cool with ice-cubes added at the start of the day or freeze the water overnight.
  2. Sweeten natural yogurt with fruit/fruit purée instead of buying already sweetened yogurt.
  3. Wholegrain crackers or oatcakes will keep your child going for longer than white bread. Try serving with cheese and grapes or tuna and cucumber.
  4. Calcium is important in kids’ lunchboxes. Include cubes of cheese or yoghurt, and seeds and green veg are also great sources of calcium. Try adding pesto to sandwiches or pasta salad for added calcium.
  5. Protein helps build and repair bodies and comes from animal sources, such as meat, fish and eggs, and plant sources such as pulses and lentils. Include a variety in lunchboxes. For example a humus dip one day, a boiled egg the next, then a tuna sandwich and a chicken drumstick the day after. You can add an icepack to keep this cool.
  6. A healthy lunchbox can include salad vegetables as they are but also baked foods with vegetables included, such as sweet potato muffins.
  7. Mini versions of vegetables are great with children – baby beetroots, mini sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes. The size difference is sometimes enough to keep children intrigued.
  8. Soup – add lentils for thickness and protein. These can be served in a mini thermos flask and eaten at school whilst still warm.
  9. Children love colour. It’s why foods for children are in colourful packaging. A bento box style lunchbox can make real food look great and appealing. A box containing fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt, in sections is likely to get eaten where copious amounts of foil or cling film wrapped components won’t.
  10. Try lunchbox bingo. The idea behind this is that your child can design their own packed lunches but they must be nutritionally balanced. Each day there must be each of the following groups represented in their lunch – protein, carbohydrate, calcium, fruit and drink. You can use the blank menu plan below to get you started. They like the simplicity, and it helps to plan and shop.

Lunchboxes are healthier than free school meals

Six out of 10 mums think a lunchbox is a healthier alternative to school food and more than half would rather their child has a packed lunch, so they know what they are eating and they can ensure quality.

“We know that parents want to give their children good, healthy and nutritious food, and we know that food marketed at parents for their children’s lunchboxes is a particular area for concern among parents across the UK. We want the food industry to take their responsibility seriously to make honest and nutritious food for children to support their health and wellbeing.” Anna Rosier, Managing Director of Organix.

If you would like to provide good food for your family and you want to help Organix and Motherhood Diaries to call on the food industry and government to do more in protecting children’s food, join Organix at www.organix.com/nojunk and join the conversation at #NoJunk.

Notes

The Lunchbox Doctor is Jenny Tschiesche (BSc (Hons) Dip (ION) FdSc BANT, a mother of 2 and one of the UK’s leading nutrition experts. Jenny is the award winning author of ‘Not Just Sandwiches – 5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Lunchbox’, and founder of www.lunchboxdoctor.com. Lunchboxdoctor.com is a free information website covering all issues related to providing healthy recipes for kids and advice for parents wanting to create healthy packed lunches. Mumpanel Survey – Conducted during July 2014. It examined the attitudes and eating habits of over 700 mums of children aged 6 months to 5 years, across the UK. *Sponsored PR Collaboration* Subscribe here to stay on top of new content added to Motherhood Diaries.  If you’d like to share your wealth of experience and knowledge with our community then you can apply to become a Motherhood Diaries’ Contributor here.

Leyla Preston (199 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 3 1/2, and Aidan, 2 . When Leyla isn’t feeding, changing nappies or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/


  • http://www.painfreelabour.blogspot.co.uk Ann Bentley

    This is a beautiful post, well done. We are what we eat. But please remember that very first lunch box that a child is faced with, a human breast. If we are to produce truely intelligent, healthy humans for our future survival then breast feeding is the first most important step. Junk food begins when you present your child with that very first bottle of cow milk. Cow milk does not develop the brain, just how clever do you need to be to stand in a field eating grass all day?
    http://www.painfreelabour.blogspot.co.uk

    • http://www.motherhooddiaries.com/ Leyla Preston

      Hi Ann, Thank you so much for reading the post and the lovely words. Of course, the importance of good health starts from day 1 and it’s good to teach children earlier rather than later how No Junk food can get be monumental to their health and well-being.

      On the note about the cow’s milk, I think there is no reason why you shouldn’t include cow’s milk as part of a child’s diet from 1 year onwards because of the calcium boost they receive from it. I breastfed my eldest for 15 months (Aron came off naturally the day before I gave birth to Aidan), but I included cow’s milk in his diet from around 12 months because he developed such a taste for it. He would, if I would let him, drink cow’s milk until the cows go home (pun not intended)! He’s definitely a milk fiend… Aidan, on the other hand, is still breastfeeding at 2 years, 4 months and he has had absolutely no interest in cow’s milk until quite recently. I’m hoping that a little bit of cow’s milk will sway him from coming off naturally, but there is no chance of that happening right now… But, both boys are big eaters, though, and enjoy cooking/baking healthy meals with me. I get them really involved in the cooking/baking process most times I cook.

      So, I would say, cow’s milk isn’t very good for a baby under 1, but not in relation to brain development, but because cow’s milk can be too strong for their little stomachs and they can become anaemic if they drink too much.

      Thank you, as ever, for your input, really appreciate it and keep it coming. :-)

      xx

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