The Australian Dental Association of NSW has warned that highly processed sugary foods and drinks, such as those some parents commonly put in their children’s school lunches, are causing a rising incidence of tooth decay that affects children’s eating, socialising and smiling.
In NSW about one-third of 5–10-year-old children have decay in their baby teeth, and one-fifth of 6–14-year-old children have decay in their permanent teeth. Even children who brush their teeth are still affected, owing to the breakdown in tooth enamel by acids used to digest food and drinks.
A leading cause of excess sugar is packaged and processed items such as orange juice and muesli bars in school lunches; terms such as ‘fat-free’ and ‘natural’ are often used for products that are high in sugar.
In addition to tooth decay, unhealthy lunches cause obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Last week we gave you a recipe for easy savoury muffins that could be sent along in school lunches, courtesy of the Cancer Council. Today we feature another recipe.
You can get these recipes from Cancer Council NSW’s brand-new website that can make the task of preparing a healthy school lunch for the kids a whole lot easier.
The Healthy Lunch Box website (healthylunchbox.com.au) includes simple, tasty recipes and ideas for lunches, healthy snacks and family meals – and it features an interactive lunch-box builder that enables parents and their kids to plan a healthy lunch box at home, or on the move with their smartphone or tablet.
Soy and Ginger Chicken Noodle Salad Recipe
Serves: 4. Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 200g chicken breasts, skinless
4 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
125g vermicelli rice noodles
100g snow peas, de-stemmed
1 red capsicum, deseeded & finely sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
¼ head wombok (Asian cabbage), finely sliced
½ bunch coriander, chopped
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tbsp honey
In a medium-sized saucepan place the chicken breasts side by side and just cover with water. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and half the ginger. Bring the water to a gentle simmer for 12–14 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover and set aside.
Place the noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 5–10 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.
Add all the vegetable to the noodles and toss through, then add the remaining soy sauce, ginger, coriander, lime juice, sesame oil and honey and toss together.
Place the salad on a large serving platter and top with thinly sliced chicken breast.
Variation: Replace chicken with pork fillet
2 serves of veges in each serve of this recipe.