WITH only seven days left to the new school year, the Health Ministry has called on all parents to provide a balanced diet for their children's lunch.
Ministry national advisor Non-Communicable Diseases Dr Isimeli Tukana said it was important parents included a lot of vegetables in their children's lunch boxes to school.
"Children's meals should contain mostly vegetables and fruits and a little bit of meat," Dr Tukana said.
He said the ministry had noted that most children missed breakfast and were given large sums of money by parents to buy lunch in school.
"This is wrong and a negative start to a child's day. Parents should ensure that their children have breakfast and take a balanced diet meal for lunch," Dr Tukana said.
He said parents should change their mind-set of providing children with fast foods.
"A healthy lunch is the best and simple way for a child to stay healthy and focus on schoolwork," Dr Tukana said.
He advised parents to provide water to their children when they go to school.
"Water is the best option. Children should stay away from soft drinks," Dr Tukana said. He said evidence showed that unhealthy meals resulted in the build-up of various NCDs.