You know that packing your kids a healthy lunch is the right thing to do, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with good ideas. And it can be disheartening when they come home and proudly tell you how they swapped their carefully created-with-love whole wheat sandwiches for a packet of chips and a fizzer.
Starting your kids off right with nourishing lunches will help them establish healthy eating patterns for life, so don’t give up! Even if you wake up at 5am to create something nutritious and delicious and they bring it home untouched. Persevere! They will thank you for it in the end.
When planning the week ahead implement these two steps:
Aim to include at least three of the four food groups. So pack a grain, like Provita with a protein and a fruit. Alternate each day to keep things interesting.
Think beyond the sandwich
If you start experimenting with the type of grain, for example using a pita bread, or a wrap or tortilla instead of bread, you are opening up a whole new world of lunch possibilities for your little person!
Make sure you have the right supplies. A divided lunch box with sealable lids etc. Cloth napkins are kinder on the environment and can be reused over and over.
If you have older kids, cook extra when making supper and freeze things in lunch containers. For example, whole wheat pastas, chicken noodle soups or stews. Perfect to just whip out the freezer and slip into the school bag. Alternatively, pour soups hot into a thermos.
Here are a few great ideas to keep things interesting and full of health…
Wraps filled with sliced cucumber, carrot, a slice of ham or some low fat cream cheese
Provita or rice cakes and cheese spread
Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, raisins and cereals
Baby carrots, celery sticks, sliced cucumber and broccoli heads with a small tub of hummus
Buy a fun shaped cookie cutter and cut whole wheat sandwiches in the shapes of dolphins, hearts and stars
Popcorn with a sprinkling of Parmesan
Cheese cubes and grapes
Whole wheat pita bread with sliced ham or turkey, cucumber, lettuce and a little mayo
Instead of a boring apple or banana, chop up a medley of fruit that are in season – grapes, strawberries, sweet melon.
Buy wooden skewer sticks and make fruit wands from watermelon, sweet melon or any other seasonal fruit.
Skewers can also be used to make sandwiches. Cut out shapes from whole wheat bread, put one on the skewer, then add a block of cheese, some cucumber, tomato and then another bread shape on top.
Instead of sugary fruit juice make drinks from water with sliced fruit, like strawberries, lemon, oranges or a few mint leaves.
Try to prepare and pack lunch the evening before. In all the craziness of the morning you’ll be glad you have one less thing to remember.
Other articles you may be interested in:
Cancer-fighting foods you should be eating
Lisa’s healthy smoothie recipes
Healthy party snacks
Should you be drinking non-dairy milk?
Are we eating too much salt?