Home Healthy Eating Love In A Lunch Box shows parents it's not expensive to eat healthy at school

Love In A Lunch Box shows parents it's not expensive to eat healthy at school

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A school in outer Hobart is leading the charge on healthy eating, teaching parents that nutritious food doesn’t have to cost more.

Clarendon Vale is one of the most disadvantaged suburbs in Australia, where parents regularly struggle to make ends meet.

The local primary school has been running the Love In A Lunch Box program for three years which encourages parents to trade in packets of chips for popcorn or carrot sticks.

The program shares healthy tips and calculates the cost of a nutritious lunch box compared to one full of pre-packaged food.

“We are really trying to crack a hard wall in this, it’s a real cultural thought, but we’re trying to show parents that it’s not expensive,” organiser Kim Overgaauw said.

The school held a healthy lunch box expo this week and invited the public and other schools to come along.

“We tried to make things very obvious and visual, like the sugar content in foods and the unnecessary expense of buying lots of packaged things,” Ms Overgaauw said.

“With a little bit of time you can create healthy lunch boxes that are far, far cheaper, and yet there’s a common thought out there that to buy healthy things it’s more expensive when in fact it’s not.”

Ms Overgaauw spent two days working with local parents on how to prepare simple and nutritious recipes for school lunches.

“We’re giving them skills and ideas and we’ve had a wonderful reception from our families.”

She taught kindergarten at the school for 10 years and on a smaller scale encouraged parents to try healthier food.

It’s now taken off and is recognised by the state’s education department.

“Love In A Lunch Box is just a package we’ve put together to really help our families understand the importance of giving their children healthy lunch boxes,” Ms Overgaauw said.

A lunch box with zucchini slices, grapes, crackers with hummus and some capsicum sticks came to a total of $2.73.

The cheapest lunch box cost $1.55 and contained baked beans, a mandarin, crackers and cheese and sultanas.

It sat alongside a lunch box full of pre-packaged snacks such as chips and chocolate, which totalled $8.50.

Local parent Melissa Clark said the program had given her lots of ideas.

“I’ve found out that a lot of the recipes are actually easy and quite quick compared to what I thought they were.”

She said the temptation with packaged food was that it made filling lunch boxes quick and easy.

“When you go the healthier options, it does take a bit longer to get prepared but I’ve found the healthy alternatives are actually cheaper in the long run.

“A lot of the recipes here you can freeze, you maybe give up half a day or a full day cooking, but then you can put it in the freezer and then you’ve got a week or two of their lunches all done.”

Tracy Ford said her children could be fussy and were reluctant to try new healthy options.

The program encourages children to try new foods and they can take a list home to their parents letting them know which foods they liked.

“My son has tasted all this and brought a sheet home that says what he liked,” Ms Ford said.

“Most people opt for the packaged stuff because it’s a lot easier, but seeing it all displayed and how much cheaper it is to make stuff, I’m hoping parents will go for it.”

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