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Are Our Kids Getting Enough Dairy? Check Out These Lunchbox Hacks to Include Dairy

More than 4 million Aussie kids have returned to school this month which means parents are faced with the age-old battle, packing a healthy lunchbox that will come home empty every day! 

Research from the Cambridge University Press in 2021 shows that Australian primary-aged children consume a third of their daily energy intake during school hours. However, 44% of that energy is from discretionary foods such as biscuits, chips, cakes and muesli bars, at a time where children are not meeting national recommendations for vegetables, fruit and dairy foods.

Dairy Australia dietitian Kristina Gorgievska says children need nutritious foods at school to help them concentrate in the classroom and have energy for active play. 
Are Our Kids Getting Enough Dairy? Check Out These Lunchbox Hacks to Include Dairy

"Dairy foods provide a unique package of 10 essential nutrients, including calcium and protein, so adding milk, cheese or yogurt to the lunchbox is an easy way to make sure kids get enough dairy every day for healthy growth and development,” she explains.

New research from Dairy Australia reveals 55% of Aussie parents avoid dairy foods in lunch boxes due to food safety concerns, something that can be easily fixed according to Kristina. 
"Childhood is a critical time for building strong bones for life. Depending on their age and gender, children need between one-and-a-half and three serves of dairy foods every day – and ensuring this is part of lunches at school is one of the simplest ways to meet this recommendation. 

"We understand food safety is a top priority for parents, especially this Summer, but there are easy ways to include dairy as part of your children’s lunch boxes that keeps the food fresh,” she says. 

Tick off at least one daily serve of dairy nutrition and keep your child’s lunchbox cool and safe with these dairy safety hacks to give your kids, and their lunchbox, a dairy boost:

A freezer pack and insulated lunch box:

This is a great way of keeping yoghurt and cheese nicely chilled.

Freeze tubs of yoghurt:

By lunch or recess time, they should be semi-thawed and are a delicious, cool snack this Summer. 

UHT milk:
This is a great option to include in the lunch box as they don’t need to be kept cold. 

Freeze flavoured milk:
This will keep the rest of the lunch box cool and will defrost throughout the day and be ‘cold ready’ to drink by lunch time. This is perfect for a refreshing drink at lunchtime (remind kids to shake frozen milk before drinking to ensure a smooth consistency) and pack a spoon and it can be eaten as a slushie. 

Always follow ‘use by’ and ‘best-before’ dates:
What is the difference? ‘Use by’ date is the date whether a perishable food is safe to consume. ‘Best-before’ date is when a food is no longer of its best quality. It doesn’t always mean that the food isn’t safe to eat. 
For recipe inspiration, click here.

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