The ALDI Lunchbox app is a phone application for iOS and Android that's designed to assist in the creation of healthy school lunches. Produced in association with the Healthy Kids Association (HKA), the app is supposed to help children achieve balance in their weekly food choices — but can an app really help kids and their parents change bad habits?
According to ALDI, 56,000 Australian families have already downloaded the app since it launched on iOS earlier this year. Today, the app has also been made available to Android users.
"A single day’s lunchbox can make up around a third of a child’s daily food intake," an ALDI spokesperson said. "Considering the majority of Australians now own a Smartphone, we hope to be able to assist even more families with the launch of our app on Android, particularly when they are on the go."
As its name implies, the Lunchbox app provides a customisable weekly menu to achieve balanced lunchboxes across five core food groups: Grains, Meat (or alternatives), Dairy, Vegetables and Fruit. Each lunchbox is further broken down into a substantial lunch item, a main snack, a drink and an additional snack on sports days.
Other chief features of the app include:
- Individual profiles with customisable colours, item preferences and snacks.
- Inbuilt refresh button.
- Individual menus for every school day of the week.
- A shopping list of ALDI products that correspond with your meal plans.
- An email button so you can send yourself a copy of the meal plans and shopping list.
The app also sports a kid-friendly interface so children can get involved in the process.
“The fact that kids can setup their own food preferences from the products in the initiative makes them feel a part of their own everyday lunchbox creations," HKA nutritionist Jennifer Madz said.
"At the same time it also helps educate them on what foods, how much and how often those foods can appear in weekly lunchboxes to better achieve an overall balanced diet.”
While we're all for anything that promotes healthy eating in children, the supermarket chain tie-in adds a commercial element that seems a teensy bit dubious. Here's what ALDI had to say about the app in a press release:
The best thing about the ALDI Lunchbox app is that families have a ready-made shopping list on-hand no matter where they are...Parents can identify ALDI Lunchbox food products in-store by the colourful “ALDI Lunchbox” logo that appears on product shelves next to products included in the initiative.
ALDI maintains that the products included in the initiative were "carefully selected by experts" — but the fact remains that the food selection at ALDI is relatively small compared to other big supermarket chains. Plus, if parents can't be arsed packing a nutritious lunch for the children, we doubt a colour-coded app is going to galvanize them.
That said, if you shop at ALDI regularly and want to streamline lunchbox planning, the app seems like a decent little solution.
You can download the Lunchbox app on Android and iOS devices from ALDI's website.