With school holidays having come to an end and the new school year away, there are so many things to get ready. It’s a busy time of year and getting back into a routine can be difficult – the added pressure of packing a healthy lunch box doesn’t make it any easier!
A child’s lunchbox contains 1/3 of their daily food and provides them with the fuel and brain food needed for the day. After all, kids go to school to learn; they learn to read and write, they learn maths and geography, it’s also important they learn and develop healthy eating practices that will aid them in the future.
Below are my top tips of what to pack in the kid’s lunchbox.
- Try to include a variety of foods from the 5 food groups – fruit, vegetables, dairy, lean protein and wholegrains.
- Aim for at least one serve of fruit and one serve of vegetables
- Try to avoid processed packaged foods like chips, lollies, biscuits and shapes. Save these for special occasions
- Include a bottle of water and an ice-brick to keep foods cool and fresh
- Pack lunches the night before to save time on those busy mornings
- Focus on a main lunchbox item, ideally one that contains wholegrains and lean protein.
Some of my dietitian approved lunchbox ideas include:
- Egg and lettuce sandwich, an apple, carrot sticks and a yogurt tub
- Mini pizzas, fruit salad and a boiled egg
- Cheese and crackers, strawberries, fruit bread and vegetable sticks
- Avocado and cream cheese on rice crackers with cherry tomatoes, banana and popcorn
- Zucchini slice with salad, a mandarin and a boiled egg
- Vegemite sandwich, cheese sticks, grapes, carrot and celery sticks
- Mini quiches, an apple, yogurt tub and vegetable muffin
- Chicken/tuna wrap, snow peas, an apple and a vegetable muffin
- Leftover meatballs or tuna patties, fruit salad and a yogurt tub
- Vegetable pasta, fresh fruit, cheese sticks and popcorn
- Peanut butter sandwich, muesli cookies, cucumber and grapes
And believe me – I know kids can be fussy eaters! There are a few ways to combat this. Firstly, it’s great to get them involved in picking and packing – make it fun and colourful. You can also let them pick a cool new lunchbox, one with compartments so their food doesn’t get squashed. Use the above examples to help avoid packing the same thing every day – including as much variety as you can boosts nutritional value and keeps the kids interested in what they’re eating.