Guidelines on packing lunches

 Please only send healthy food to GAP.  We are a healthy-habits play school, and we believe that healthy habits are best learnt early in life, and this includes eating healthy food at play school and learning the difference between “everyday foods” and “sometimes foods”.

Do not send any chocolates / lollies / sweet drinks (including juice and flavoured milks). If your child does bring in any of the above, staff will likely send the food item back home with your child for him to enjoy later in the car or at home.

Always bring a water bottle to GAP.  Drinking plenty of water is a great habit to get into – the earlier, the better, and it’s the best thirst-quencher. We have spare water bottles if you forget yours – take one from the kitchen and fill it up for your child.

Please check our bulletin board in the foyer before you start to send in products containing peanuts to GAP.  Sometimes children at the GAP have known severe allergies which cause us to ban certain foods.

Please make sure fruit and veggies are peeled / cut up if this is what your child needs in order to manage on their own.  When packing fruit and veggies for your child to take to GAP, please take into account your child’s eating habits and skills.  Some children avoid fruit unless it is cut up, and some don’t have the skills yet to peel fruit by themselves.  We can certainly help them, but we know preschool-aged children love being independent, and managing their food from home without help from grown-ups — it builds their self-esteem.

Please remember to pack food in easy to open lunch boxes / containers.   Have your child practice at home with their new containers and water bottles to ensure they can manage by themselves. Of course we will help them if need be.

Please be concious of  your environmental impact.  Cling-wrap and single-use soft plastics are discouraged.  Some families opt for bees-wax cotton wraps instead of cling-wrap or plastic bags.  Certainly you will want a re-usable lunch box, and some families opt for stainless steel lunch boxes and drink bottles instead of plastic.  (As of Aug 2018, Bitten Goods on Lonsdale Street in Braddon are carrying some stainless steel lunch boxes.)  Reducing plastics and waste all ties in with what we are teaching our children about being environmentally responsible.  At the GAP, we are keen to be green!

Please think about reducing your child’s sugar intake.  Hidden sugars are everywhere – from muesli bars to yogurt – even in foods marketed for children.  If you pack a healthy sandwich and a muesli bar or other little treat, guess which your child will eat first?  And having eaten the muesli bar, the hidden sugars will make your child feel full with no room for the healthier parts of their lunch.  Your child only needs the healthy part of their lunch, so that is all you need to pack.

Please be aware that certain foods could potentially be a choking risk for a young child.  When sending food to playschool for your child, please prepare it in a way your child can handle without choking. The ACT Department of Health has provided some recommendations regarding avoiding choking risks for young children.

Please only send food that does not require reheating.  Alternatively, please use a food thermos if you wish to send in warm food during winter. Our license doesn’t allow us to heat up food for your child.

If you want to bring food to the GAP for all children to enjoy (for example, small cupcakes, muffins or a platter of sliced fruits) to celebrate your child’s birthday, that would be lovely.  On arrival, please let the teachers know about the ingredients so we can consider food allergies / intolerances / family food preferences when we help your child to share the food around.  Please keep in mind that we are a healthy-habits playschool, so the healthier the treat, the better.

Thank you very much for your co-operation in all food-related matters at GAP. If you have any further questions / concerns please talk to us. Thank you!